Protest Calls Attention to Clearing of the Briger Forest, Despite Police Interference

by Everglades Earth First!

10801517_10152816896280928_3136914036456463746_nOn Friday, December 5, over 50 activists gathered for a rally outside of the Briger Forest in Florida’s Palm Beach Gardens. The group was protesting the Scripps Phase II project, which is currently clearing the 681-acre forest for the construction of a bio-tech city, complete with animal testing labs and shopping malls.

The Briger Forest is a unique mosaic of scrub, flatwoods and wetlands. Florida has more endangered and threatened species than any other continental state, and the habitat found in the Briger Forest is increasingly rare, as so much of Florida’s southeastern corridor has been paved over for development. There are at least 13 species of plants and animals listed for protection likely present in Briger.

Altering the rush hour traffic and neighboring communities to the destruction happening right behind the treeline, Friday’s crowd sang chants, flew flags, swung banners, and displayed signs in solidarity with the wildlife inside. The two-hour protest was completely peaceful, with the exception of one element: the police. Despite the fact that this was a legal gathering of families, students, activists and children engaging in free speech activities, Palm Beach Gardens police—many undercover—surrounded the protest, blocked traffic, followed vehicles, covertly filmed protesters, prohibited participants from accessing public roads, and used loudspeakers to shout their opinions and drown out the chants of the crowd. Continue reading


BREAKING: Protesters Drop Banner Demanding Briger Forest be Saved


Banner was hung one bridge south of the start of Briger

Palm Beach Gardens, FL-Early this morning Everglades Earth First! activists hung a banner over I-95 reading “Save Briger Forest Now!” to demand that the Briger forest be saved in honor of Judi Bari Day.
Exactly 24 years Ago, Judi Bari, Earth First! Activist famous for defending the California Redwoods was bombed in her car while on tour promoting Redwood Summer, which called for people to occupy the woods to save them from being logged.

“For it is the working people who have their hands on the machinery. And only by stopping the machinery of destruction can we ever hope to stop this madness.” Judi Bari

Today, those in south Florida are faced with a similar threat, but it’s not for logging, its for the profit of development. In Florida, Pine flatwoods are practically a threatened ecosystem. The reason being it is much easier to develop than swamp, being naturally higher in elevation and dryer. Since 2009 the Briger Forest has been the top choice for Scripps Phase II Expansion. 682 acres which is predominately pine flatwoods is slated to be destroyed only to be replaced with a biotech city; where middle and upper class residents could work, live and eat all within it’s confines.


Everglades Earth First! and the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition are calling on people to attend the Palm Beach Gardens City Hall meeting 
June 5th at 7pm to voice their opposition to the destruction of the Briger Forest as they will be deciding on the first phase then.

Since Kolter bought the property under the name Cotleur & Hearing, Inc. in December the project has had a lot of traction and push back. On April 10th South Florida Water Management District released its draft permits approving the project, but Rachel Kijewski and Panagioti Tsolkas from the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition challenged the permit requesting an Administrative hearing. 4 days ago SFWMD updated their permit to reflect the need for a hazardous waste plan, but have ignored their other concerns regarding cumulative impacts, violating the Endangered Species Act regarding the Eastern Indigo snake, not providing sufficient evidence that it is in fact in compliance with the Florida Coastal Management Plan and more.
Everglades Earth First! is the same group that blockaded the construction of the West County Energy Center in 2008, now the 2nd dirtiest CO2 power plant in the state, and has done direct actions since then to highlight the major threats to the Everglades ecosystem. In 2009 EEF!ers occupied the Barley Barber Swamp to highlight the killing of an old growth Bald Cypress swamp surrounded by Martin Power Plant’s many mile cooling Pond. In 2011, many EEF! protesters lived in the Briger Forest, and some sat in trees along I-95 to gain public awareness about the destruction posed for Briger. In 2012 during the Republican National Convention, EEF!ers blockaded the entrance to the TECO coal fire power plant the dirtiest power plant in the state according to a report called America’s Dirtiest Power Plants released in September 2013 (ranking adjusted due to Crystal River plant being offline). Now two EEF!ers await trial for blockading the entrance to the headquarters of Florida Power and Light, who is poised to build one of the largest fossil fuel power plant in the country right next to the Seminole Big Cypress reservation.

“We are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of corporate greed, non-profit compromise and government misconduct. If those of us that live here don’t take eco-defense into our own hands, there won’t be anything left and when there is nothing left to defend there will be no way that people can survive here. Judi Bari knew that 30 years ago when she knew how vital the redwoods were to her survival and because of her, I know that now as well.” Rachel Kijewski

Everglades Earth First! is not the only group in opposition to the project, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition, the Loxahatchee Sierra Club, Palm Beach Green Party and South Florida Wildlands have also been working to fight it through litigation and public awareness campaigns.
Contact: for further information or to get involved.




Rally Against Deforestation and Vivisection at Scripps Biotech on FAU

When: Friday, June 22nd, from 3pm to 6pm

Where: from I-95, Exit 83 (Donald Ross Road). The address is 130th Scripps Way Jupiter, FL. , in front of the Scripps facilities, adjacent to the Florida Atlantic University campus.

The March will be 5pm-6pm, marching out 3/4 mile from the Scripps facilities and ending at the intersection of Donald Ross Road and Parkside Drive in front of Briger Forest.

(Note: parking will be limited. Try parking in visitor parking on campus.)

Why: Scripps Biotech, FAU, and the Palm Beach Gardens City Gov. are all colluding in an attempt to expand Scripps operations onto the Briger Forest, a 600+acre pine flat-woods/wetland mosaic ecosystem Continue reading