Monday, May 24, 2010

Politi-Fact Florida (Orlando Sentinel and Miami Herald)

The Truth-O-Meter Says:
John Mica's brother is an oil lobbyist and his daughter represents the natural gas industry.

Heather Beaven on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 in an e-mail to supporters.
U.S. Rep. John Mica and family have oil ties, Democrat claims

A relatively unknown Democrat looking to unseat longtime Florida U.S. Rep. John Mica is using the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico as a way to play up Mica's family ties to the oil industry.

Mica, R-Winter Park, has represented Florida's 7th Congressional District since 1993. The district, which covers the northeast coast of Florida, has been considered a safe seat for Republicans (John McCain carried the district by 7 percentage points in 2008).

Democrat Heather Beaven, a Navy veteran, said in a May 12, 2010, e-mail to supporters that Mica's brother is a lobbyist for the oil industry and that his daughter represents an interest group that supports increased offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.

"Brother of only Fla. lawmaker to support offshore drilling is an oil lobbyist," Beaven said in the e-mail, copying a headline from the Orlando Sentinel. Later, she said, "John Mica's daughter represents the Consumers Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas and the Citizens Alliance for Energy Security in support of increased access to offshore oil & natural gas."

The e-mail includes other ties between Mica and the oil industry then asks "Disgusted yet?" An accompanying link directs supporters to Beaven's online campaign contribution page.

In this item, we wanted to see if Beaven's description of Mica's family connections to the energy industry is accurate.

Mica has been a longtime supporter of offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, advocating for drilling well before gas prices neared $4 a gallon in 2008.

Mica was the lone member of the Florida Congressional delegation to not sign a letter in 2003 to stop the federal government from surveying Florida coastal waters for oil and natural gas. In 2006, the Palm Beach Post reported that Mica was only one of two Florida House members to vote to allow gas drilling within 9 miles of Florida's Gulf Coast. That measure failed.

Even now, Mica touts on his campaign website that he scored a 100 percent rating on the "Freedom From Oil Scorecard," published by the conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity.

Mica maintained his support for offshore oil drilling in a May 13 statement provided to PolitiFact Florida.

My position on drilling for gas and oil remain the same. I have always advocated drilling based on sound science, technology and employing safe measures, taking into consideration depths and currents. Unfortunately most of the past restrictions on drilling have been based on politics rather than sound science and safe procedures.

Based on what has occurred in the Gulf, I would urge Congress to make certain that proper safeguards are required including a failsafe shutoff valve, and having a standby mechanism like the dome in place with tried and proven technology available before rather than after the fact.

With 3,400 oil and 600 gas rigs already in the Gulf of Mexico, action on insuring against another disaster is important. Furthermore, even if Florida has a 100, 125, 150 or 200 mile ban and other states and countries like Mexico allow close or deepwater rigs, our state can still remain at risk without these protective measures.

Now, onto his family.

The brother Beaven is referring to in her e-mail is David Mica. He currently serves as executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council, a group that --- the name kind of gives it away --- supports increased offshore drilling.

David Mica has called on the Florida Legislature to open up state waters as close as 3 miles offshore to oil and gas drilling, and has continued to push a pro-drilling position even after the Deepwater Horizon leak.

As Beaven claimed, he also is a registered lobbyist in Florida.

"We've got to keep our commitment to explore, develop, and produce oil and gas," David Mica told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in an article published April 30, 2010. "You can't give up on technology."

And in the Florida Times-Union, he equated the leak to the airplane industry. "At the end of the day, we can't stop flying airplanes when one crashes," Mica said.

Mica's daughter, D'Anne Mica, is the founder of Mica Strategic Communications, a communications and public relations company in Winter Park. Among the clients listed on her website are Consumers Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas and Citizens Alliance for Energy Security.

Consumers Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas was formed in 2004 by a group of chemical companies to push for, among other things, increased natural gas exploration. The group, however, is dormant. It hasn't been mentioned in a newspaper article since 2007 and we couldn't find the group's website, if it ever had one.

A representive for PR firm Dutko Worldwide, which also has done work for Consumers Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas, said the group has not been operating for a few years.

"The Alliance is no longer together," said vice president Tracy Hammond. "I don't believe it's been operating for a couple of years now."

We couldn't find any reference to the other group -- Citizens Alliance for Energy Security -- outside of Beaven's e-mails, D'Anne Mica's client list and her online business profile.

We called Mica Strategic Communications to see if the two groups remain clients, but the phone number appears to have been changed or disconnected. We got this message: "TheOnStar subscriber you're trying to reach is unavailable." And we couldn't find a Mica Strategic Communications listed in the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. That leads us to believe the business may be dormant as well.

In a January 2010 interview with ABC News, D'Anne Mica suggested that her business was still active, but did not discuss her energy clients. D'Anne Mica was being interviewed after being arrested for driving under the influence. After her arrest, questions surfaced about some of her PR work and how it may have overlapped with her father's congressional priorities.

"My father has no idea what I do in my business," she told ABC News. "And I have no idea what he does in his."

In every case, the Micas have denied any connection between their relationships and their work.

That brings us back to Beaven's e-mail. In trying to use the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico as a way to play up John Mica's family ties to the oil industry, she claimed that Mica's brother is an oil lobbyist and that his daughter represents a group that promotes offshore oil and gas drilling.

Mica's brother, David Mica, is currently a lobbyist and executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council.

Mica's daughter, D'Anne Mica, once listed Consumers Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas as a PR client, a group that lobbied for increased natural gas drilling.

The only real question is if D'Anne Mica currently represents the oil and gas group as Beaven suggests in her e-mail. On that point, there's slim evidence she does. The group hasn't been mentioned in a newspaper article since 2007, doesn't have an active website we can find and a person who worked for the alliance said they've been out of operation for a couple of years.

Finding no additional supporting material, we rate Beaven's claim Half True.

[Ed's note -- this is crummy political reporting by an amateur -- why didn't he call D'ANNE LEIGH MICA and interview, instead of relying on tertiary sources. Lazy.)

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert: More Than Just an Oil Spill

"It permeates and undermines the ecosystem in much the same way that big corporations have permeated and undermined our political system, with similarly devastating results."

More Than Just an Oil Spill

New York Times, May 21, 2010

The warm, soft winds coming in off the gulf have lost their power to soothe. Anxiety is king now ­ all along the coast.

“You can’t sleep no more; that’s how bad it is,” said John Blanchard, an oyster fisherman whose life has been upended by the monstrous oil spill fouling an enormous swath of the Gulf of Mexico. He shook his head. “My wife and I have got two kids, 2 and 7. We could lose everything we’ve been working all of our lives for.”

I was standing on a gently rocking oyster boat with Mr. Blanchard and several other veteran fishermen who still seemed stunned by the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Instead of harvesting oysters, they were out on the water distributing oil retention booms and doing whatever else they could to bolster the coastline’s meager defenses against the oil making its way ominously and relentlessly, like an invading army, toward the area’s delicate and heartbreakingly vulnerable wetlands.

A fisherman named Donny Campo tried to hide his anger with wisecracks, but it didn’t work. “They put us out of work, and now we’re cleaning up their mess,” he said. “Yeah, I’m mad. Some of us have been at this for generations. I’m 46 years old and my son ­ he’s graduating from high school this week ­ he was already fishing oysters. There’s a whole way of life at risk here.”

The risks unleashed by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig are profound ­ the latest to be set in motion by the scandalous, rapacious greed of the oil industry and its powerful allies and enablers in government. America is selling its soul for oil.

The vast, sprawling coastal marshes of Louisiana, where the Mississippi River drains into the gulf, are among the finest natural resources to be found anywhere in the world. And they are a positively crucial resource for America. Think shrimp estuaries and bird rookeries and oyster fishing grounds.

These wetlands are one of the nation’s most abundant sources of seafood. And they are indispensable when it comes to the nation’s bird population. Most of the migratory ducks and geese in the United States spend time in the Louisiana wetlands as they travel to and from Latin America.

Think songbirds. Paul Harrison, a specialist on the Mississippi River and its environs at the Environmental Defense Fund, told me that the wetlands are relied on by all 110 neo-tropical migratory songbird species. The migrating season for these beautiful, delicate creatures is right now ­ as many as 25 million can pass through the area each day.

Already the oil from the nightmare brought to us by BP is making its way into these wetlands, into this natural paradise that belongs not just to the people of Louisiana but to all Americans. Oil is showing up along dozens of miles of the Louisiana coast, including the beaches of Grand Isle, which were ordered closed to the public.

The response of the Obama administration and the general public to this latest outrage at the hands of a giant, politically connected corporation has been embarrassingly tepid. We take our whippings in stride in this country. We behave as though there is nothing we can do about it.

The fact that 11 human beings were killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion (their bodies never found) has become, at best, an afterthought. BP counts its profits in the billions, and, therefore, it’s important. The 11 men working on the rig were no more important in the current American scheme of things than the oystermen losing their livelihoods along the gulf, or the wildlife doomed to die in an environment fouled by BP’s oil, or the waters that will be left unfit for ordinary families to swim and boat in.

This is the bitter reality of the American present, a period in which big business has cemented an unholy alliance with big government against the interests of ordinary Americans, who, of course, are the great majority of Americans. The great majority of Americans no longer matter.

No one knows how much of BP’s runaway oil will contaminate the gulf coast’s marshes and lakes and bayous and canals, destroying wildlife and fauna ­ and ruining the hopes and dreams of countless human families. What is known is that whatever oil gets in will be next to impossible to get out. It gets into the soil and the water and the plant life and can’t be scraped off the way you might be able to scrape the oil off of a beach.

It permeates and undermines the ecosystem in much the same way that big corporations have permeated and undermined our political system, with similarly devastating results.

JOHN LUIGI MICA A (a/k/a "TARBALL) Is a Stench in the Nostrils of the 7th Congressional District

JOHN LUIGI MICA (a/k/a "TARBALL") is a stench in the nostrils of the Seventh Congressional District. For the latest evidence, please read below about how our reckless, feckless Congressman JOHN LUIGI MICA (longtime supporter of offshore oil drilling) is trying to blame President Obama for the Gulf coast oil spill):

Ft. Myers News-Journal: Editorial: Florida's Mica sets the wrong tone, example

U.S. Rep. JOHN LUIGI MICA head-butts ABC news cameraman outside TOM DELAY's shindig at 2008 Republican National Convention, apparently accompanied by underage youth.

Ft. Myers News-Journal: Editorial: Florida's Mica sets the wrong tone, example

We have a new poster boy for bone-headed partisanship, and he hails from right here in Florida, just across the state in Daytona Beach.

Congressman John Mica seized on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's acknowledgment Tuesday that his agency could have monitored offshore drilling more aggressively to start blaming the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on President Obama.

Salazar doesn't deserve much credit for conceding the obvious under pressure, but at least he's saying something useful.

Surely the oil spill is a classic example of national problems that should have the parties pulling together.

There will be policy disagreements. A hard look at the current administration's performance in regulation and disaster response is in order.

However, laxness in federal regulation stretches back over many years and administrations, both Democratic and Republican.

Just before the spill, both parties seemed to be converging in support of expanded offshore drilling; now they both have oil on their faces.

The "drill, baby, drill" mantra of Republicans has come back to haunt them, as has President Obama's endorsement of expanded offshore drilling, announced just three weeks before Deepwater Horizon blew.

So for Mica to try to make this an "Obama oil spill" is akin to calling the current economic malaise "the Bush recession."

What makes Mica's conduct especially repulsive is the fact that he was among the "drill, baby, drill" Republicans himself, has taken contributions from the oil industry and has a brother, David, who has been an oil industry lobbyist in Tallahassee for years.

John Mica is trying to deflect blame for Deepwater Horizon from the oil industry, which is quite a trick.

We don't need narrow-minded politics in Washington; we need wise energy policy that puts the national interest above partisan advantage and finger-pointing

Is that too much to ask, Representative Mica?

Maybe so, but we should urge our leaders in Washington to reject his example, and think sensibly and constructively on this vital issue.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Florida Times-Union on hypocrisy of Rep. JOHN LUIGI MICA (a/k/a "TARBALL") on Offshore Horizon Oil Spill off Gulf Coast

Rep. John Mica 'two-faced' in the aftermath of oil spill
By Ron Littlepage on May 20, 2010 - 10:49pm Ron Littlepage's Blog

The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has provided a new poster child for being two-faced.

Hands down, it's John Mica, the Republican congressman who, unfortunately, represents some of this area.

Mica is a big supporter of the tea partiers. In a speech on the House floor last year, he declared it was his "honor to present their grievances and declaration."

Included in those grievances, of course, are loud harangues that the federal government is out of control, sticking its nose in too many places, including private enterprise.

Now flash forward to earlier this week. Mica, taking part in a congressional hearing on the oil spill, had this to say:

"In the month of April, the nation lost 29 miners and 11 oil rig workers in two avoidable disasters. Federal agencies failed and federal actions failed to prevent these disasters."

He went on to call the Gulf accident the "Obama oil spill."

In other words, it wasn't the private companies - BP, Deepwater Horizon and the mining company - that screwed up.

The fault lies with the big, bad federal government for not being big and bad enough.

The two faces of Mica might have something to do with the cash in his campaign accounts that came from Big Oil.

I don't agree with the tea partiers on much, except that some incumbent politicians need to be voted out of office.

A good place to start would be with their champion, John Mica.

Maybe some good will come out of this oil spill.

Gov. Charlie Crist has suggested a special legislative session to consider putting a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would ban drilling in Florida's waters.

That would be a good first step, but as this spill shows, it wouldn't necessarily protect Florida's beaches and environment.

What needs to happen is to replace talk with serious, concerted action to develop alternative forms of energy.

Florida should be a leader in that because Florida has much to lose when oil drilling goes wrong, and it always will at some point.

Moving forward will take real leadership, which Crist and the Legislature have yet to provide.

Putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot is easy. The hard work is lessening the need for oil.

The effort will cost money, but so do disasters such as the Gulf oil spill.

Let's end with a note of levity amid otherwise dreary news.

The Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Palatka, which has been fouling Rice Creek and the St. Johns River for decades, is sponsoring "The Greater St. Johns River Photo Contest."

According to the company's website, it is seeking photos "that capture the essence of the river - wildlife, recreation, landscapes - pictures that are creative, unique and original."

The winning shots will be reproduced in a calendar. The grand prize winner gets a free trip to Disney World in Orlando.

Neil Armingeon, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, is considering submitting photos taken last weekend of a massive, ugly algal bloom in Rice Creek, where Georgia-Pacific dumps its effluent., (904) 359-4284

Thursday, May 20, 2010


On May 14, 2010, I filed an FOIA request with the U.S. Postal Service about the St. Augustine Post Office move proposal. Today I received an answer from the USPS regional purchasing officials in Georgia. See below. The answers and enclosed documents strongly suggest that the news story in the St. Augustine Record last week (below) was premature and jumped the gun.
It also appears that someone (perhaps Flagler College or Congressman JOHN LUIGI MICA) thinks it has a done deal.
Based on USPS’ FOIA request, such is not the case.
Here are the USPS’ responses (in bold) to five of the six items in the request:
1. Discussions about moving the St. Augustine, Florida Post Office, including communications with Rep. John Luigi Mica, Flagler College, the City of St. Augustine and the owners of the Ponce de Leon Mall in St. Augustine. USPS response: “Attached is a copy of all correspondence on the relocation of the St. Augustine Postal facility. As you will note, all correspondence has been in email form.”
2. Negotiations on sales and purchase prices of the current Post office and proposed new Post Office location. USPS response: “No negotiations have been held.”
3. Cost-benefit analysis and Evaluation of alternatives, including leaving Post Office boxes and a Revenue Unit at the current location and moving the sorting and delivery function to another location. USPS response: “The only cost analysis that has been conducted is in the correspondence included in #1”. Ed's note: Review of those E-mails shows no such consideration – the E-mails are between Hull Storey Gibson (Augusta, GA shopping center owner of the Ponce de Leon Mall and USPS officials in Duluth, Georgia).
4. Environmental Impact Statements on the carbon footprint of forcing people to travel miles away when our Post Office is now centrally located. USPS response: This does not exist.
5. Discussions regarding compliance USPS competitive bidding requirements for the purchase of new land and sale of the Post Office. USPS response: “This does not exist.”

City looks to relocate main post office Possible new site is Ponce de Leon Mall


City leaders are hoping to find a way to move the main branch of the St. Augustine Post Office, 99 King St., out of downtown.

They say the relocation would ease traffic congestion along King Street, which is expected to worsen beginning in three years as the city begins its celebrations of the 500th anniversary celebration of Juan Ponce de Leon's landing.

"We're trying to be forward thinking," St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles said. The building "has outgrown the city's ability to suffer its existence."

"Having something that serves all of St. Johns County located downtown just isn't a good idea," he said.

Boles and several other officials -- including U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park -- met in the Ponce de Leon Mall on Tuesday to discuss relocating the post office there.

Boles emphasized that the city would still have postal service available downtown, probably in the form of a satellite office or postal contractor.

"For this to work, we're going to need a postal facility downtown," he said.

Officials are proposing that the U.S. Postal Service sell its 17,297-square-foot building to Flagler College and move to the Ponce de Leon Mall.

John Gibson, of mall owners Hull Storey Gibson Companies, said that a move would help the mall by bringing in more traffic and benefit the post office by offering more parking.

"This would be an ideal location ...," he said. "It would encourage new businesses to locate here."

W. Jerry Goddard, manger of the U.S.P.S. Southeast facilities service office, said it would consider a move, but that the move would have either to cost the same as current operations, or cost less.

"The post office lost $1.9 billion for the first half of the year," he said of the U.S. Postal Service. "We lost about $4 billion last year. We can't afford to suffer a loss."

He said the Postal Service probably wouldn't move into space it has to lease, but would consider a newly constructed building on mall grounds.

"If anybody can be creative, we can," Gibson replied.

Mica said that a similar relocation in Deland years ago was "a winner all around."

Using the old building

Flagler College used to own the building but sold it to the postal service.

Now, Flagler College President William Abare Jr. said the college would like to have the property back, so it could raze the building and erect a new academic building for the Communications Department.

Abare said the college had already planned to tear down the "woefully inadequate" building on Cordova Street and rebuild it on the same site, but that it would prefer the King Street property.

The location is convenient to campus and the dorms so students could walk to class, causing zero impact on traffic, he said.

And its architecture "Would be in keeping with what the City would like to see," he said.

The property appraiser's office has assessed the building's market value at about $1.4 million, down from a peak appraisal of $1.8 million, but Abare said the college may be willing to pay the previously assessed value.

"It depends," he said.

Goddard said his office would run some numbers through a cost-benefit analysis program and get back to city officials in about a month.

"We'll be able to tell pretty quick if the numbers will work for you and make us happy, too," he said.

Even if officials can reach a satisfactory deal, the public would have say through six months of public meetings, Goddard said.

About 99 King St.:

* Built in 1966

* 17,297 square feet

* The County Property Appraiser set its market value at $1.4 million, but actual market value could vary.

* Located across from a leased space it also uses for operations. That space used to be an IGA grocery store and would likely not be resold.

Source: St. Johns County Property Appraiser, city officials

Did you know?

Relocating the main branch of the post office isn't a new idea.

Wiley Deck, representative for U.S. Rep. John Mica, said the congressman has been in talks to move it since 2003.

"There wasn't a lot of incentive before" the economic melt down, he said.

"But this economy is encouraging creative solutions," Deck said.


My friend, James Nelson Ramsey, long the District Attorney General for the 7th Judicial Circuit in Anderson County, Tennessee, had a great way of inventing nicknames for perseverating prevaricating politicians. I am inspired

Today's nickname goes to JOHN LUIGI MICA: in tribute for his support for offshore oil drilling, which is about to hit Florida.

His nickname is "tarball."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

JOURNALISTIC MALPRACTICE (Or What the Record Won't Print Would Fill a REAL Newspaper)

The St. Augustine WRecKord refused to print a story when BERNARD KERIK was sentenced to prison. Now the St. Augustine WRecKord refuses to print a story when BERNARD KERIT starts his four year prison term. These Republican MORRIS PUBLISHING people don't know what news is, and they have precious little clue or concept of informing the people. Color them colorless.

New York Times:From Police Chief to Prison: Kerik Starts Sentence

May 17, 2010
From Police Chief to Prison: Kerik Starts Sentence

In the coming days, Bernard B. Kerik will begin work as a groundskeeper, or maybe a housing orderly, at a starting salary of 12 cents an hour. His blog, where he defended his blemished record and discussed finding strength in Rocky movies, will go dark. His exercise regimen, which helped shape his fireplug physique, will be limited to the hours between dinner and bedtime.

Mr. Kerik, 54, the former police commissioner of New York, surrendered at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md., at 1:45 p.m. on Monday, said Felicia Ponce, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons.

Now registered as Inmate 84888-054, Mr. Kerik will serve his four-year prison term in the facility’s minimum-security wing, which houses more than 450 other inmates, Ms. Ponce said. He pleaded guilty last year to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials.

Mr. Kerik’s days will most likely look much like those of most federal inmates, she said. He will rise around 6 a.m. and eat breakfast at 6:30. After a medical and psychological evaluation, he will begin work at a job prison officials will assign him — salaries start at 12 cents an hour and rise to 40 cents. The money will be deposited in his commissary account to be spent on snacks, stamps or hygiene items.

Lunch will be served around 11 a.m. The work day ends at 3:30 p.m. He will have free time from 5 to 9 p.m., when he will have access to the library, leisure rooms and computer rooms. He will sleep in “a cubicle” with bunk beds, sharing the room with three to five other men, Ms. Ponce said. He will be allowed to e-mail family and friends, but his correspondence will be monitored, and he will not be allowed to update his blog or his Twitter account, Ms. Ponce said.

Mr. Kerik posted his final message on Sunday, in which he defended his public service record, quoted from “Rocky Balboa” (the 2006 installment in the series) and criticized Judge Stephen C. Robinson of United States District Court, calling his prison sentence “a gross injustice.”

“Words cannot express my disappointment in the prosecutors and the judge’s behavior, and his sentence that followed,” he wrote.

Judge Robinson had no qualms making clear his displeasure with Mr. Kerik during the long pretrial process last year. He went beyond the federal sentencing guidelines by 15 months when he issued the 48-month sentence in February.

Mr. Kerik was a close ally of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whom he served as a bodyguard and driver. Mr. Giuliani then tapped him for a senior position in the Correction Department, and he went on to become the agency’s commissioner. (At one point, Mr. Kerik had a jail named after him in downtown Manhattan. The name has since been changed.)

He later became the police commissioner, serving a little more than two years, and he led the department during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. That caught the attention of President George W. Bush, who nominated him to lead the Department of Homeland Security. The bid quickly collapsed in scandal, marking the beginning of the end of Mr. Kerik’s career.

The case against Mr. Kerik centered on charges that a New Jersey construction company, the Interstate Industrial Corporation, had paid for renovations at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Prosecutors said company officials had hoped Mr. Kerik would help them obtain a city license.

The company was barred from doing city work in 2004 because city investigators concluded it had ties to organized crime, an accusation its owners have vehemently and repeatedly denied.

Last November, Mr. Kerik pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and five counts of making false statements to the federal government while being vetted for senior posts.

Mr. Kerik’s lawyer, Michael F. Bachner, said he spoke with Mr. Kerik on Monday morning before he surrendered.

“He’s ready to do this and ready to start the process,” Mr. Bachner said. “He’s looking forward to the beginning of the trip so he’s closer to the end of the trip.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Robert F. Kennedy speaks against hatred and division on evening of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. murder in Memphis, Tennessee

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

(Interrupted by applause)

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love - a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

(Interrupted by applause)

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Robert F. Kennedy - April 4, 1968

In 1914, progressive corporate lawyer Louis Dembitz Brandeis (later one of our finest Supreme Court Justices) wrote a book about investment banking, entitled Other Peoples' Money. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I reckon.

Today, from St. Augustine to Wall Street, con artists take other peoples' money and blow it, ripping off investors. Since 1981, Reaganomics' deregulatory mania has allowed conmen to pollute, monopolize, discriminate and exploit us all, whether workers or investors. Enough.

See the list (below) of local residents and others owed money by LYDIA CLADEK, INC., which is reportedly under FBI investigation.

The next time some uninformed Republican or Libertarian tells you that government regulation is bad, remind them about the LYDIA CLADEK, INC. victims, or the Deepwater Horizon spill, or the dead coal miners in West Virginia.

Desuetude (nonenforcement) of environmental laws and of worker, consumer and investor protection laws is wrong.

If we had functioning federal government enforcers at SEC, the LYDIA CLADEK, INC. investors would not be crying bitter tears, worried about the retirements they thought they'd secured.

Social Darwinists, you are wrong. As the late Robert F. Kennedy said, "Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary or there are people in distress who cannot help themselves."

What do you reckon?

BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE: Millions owed local St. Augustine, Florida residents by bankrupt LYDIA CLADEK, INC.

More than $22,000,000 is owed to the top twenty unsecured creditors (investors) of LYDIA CLADEK, Inc., half of whom are local residents here in Northeast Florida. Source: May 17, 2010 filing by Chapter 11 Trustee Michael Phelan.

Here are the names (home addresses redacted):

Rudolph Danowski, Oxford, Ct., more than $2.068 million
Donald Radbill, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $1.773 million
Edward Cladek, Hinsdale, Illinois, more than $1.720 million
Richard Rakus, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $1.311 million
C.L. Anderson, Jacksonville, Florida more than $1.242 million
Charles Mandeville, Deland, Florida more than $1.185 million
Dennis Markiewicz, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $1.170 million
Sharrell Halverson, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $1.107 million
David Rees, Quincy, Illinois, more than $1.052 million
Terry and Hollice Lichty, Waterloo, Iowa, more than $964,000
Andrea Levinson, St. Augustine Florida, more than $951,000
Benett Yell, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $934,000
Gamache/Koger, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $913,000
Robert Helferrich, Bristol, Wisconsin, more than $902,000
Lorie Zemlo, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $798,000
Gary Alligood, St. Augustine, Florida, more than $725,000
Steve and Brigitte Neiswander, Taylors, South Carolina, more than $707,000
Conrad Hidalgo, Bordentown Township, N.J., more than $703,000

Hatred on the St. Augustine WRecKord Website from Advocates of Wasting Money at Anastasia Mosquito Control of St. Johns County

Over on the WRecKord’s website, there’s some nasty jabs intended to chill, coerce and discourage First Amendment protected activity about mosquito control.
What do you reckon?
Sounds like some of the AMCD staff who were at the meeting Thursday are angry. So angry they can only lie, with trite tropes and illiteracy.
Why do the heathen rage?
Why do the heathen lie?
Why do the heathen rage and lie hiding behind the cloak of anonymity?
AMCD staff – and those are the only people besides Peter Guinta and I who viewed the photos – are angry.
So angry that they’re lying
They’re angry that their plans to waste taxpayers’ money on a brand-new building are dashed.
They’re angry that the public, once again, has been heard loud and clear.
First they wanted a no-bid $1.8 million Textron Bell Jet helicopter that was unadorned by tanks or a single gadget that could kill a single skeeter. We beat ‘em 5-0 in AMCD in August 2007, refuting all of their logic-chopping, which was not based on good science, but on emotions.
Then they wanted to construct a new building, costing Lord knows how many millions of dollars. Their arguments were based upon fear of hurricanes and the AMCD HQ supposedly falling apart. We beat them n May 13, 2010, refuting all of their logic-chopping, which was not based on science, math or accounting, but on emtions.
The Assistant Director’s position was eliminated by a vote 4-1 as a result of her lack of candor with the Board, including signing contracts wrote a $76,000 check without board approval for seeking permits (SJRWMD, DEP and St. Johns County) for a building that the Board has not approved.
The West Point graduate treated Board members like Colonel Oliver L. North treated Congres during the Iran-Contra scandal – like bothersome pests to be ignored and disobeyed. This was wrong.
The Anonymice (above) tend to be nasty, brutish, bullying, uncouth, unkind and untruthful.
They’re hostile to members of the public who come to speak to AMCD and other local government agencies.
They have hidden behind anonymity, spreading falsehoods.
We’ve lived in St. Augustine since 1999.
We’re not going away.
We’re not afraid of hierarchical, authoritarian political machines and the kind of rabid Republican political hacks who commit government waste, fraud, abuse, misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance here in Florida’s most corrupt county.
We’re unafraid of uninformed dogmatists and their snippy, snipping comments.
We have a right to expect our governments to obey the law.
“Anonymice” references to manifest injustice in the State of Tennessee are unpersuasive, as are the lies and the lying liars who tell them.
As EPA Inspector General Senior Special Agent Robert E. Tyndall (Retired) wrote about me in the St. Augustine Record in December 2007:
Letter: Slavin's work "saved" life of U.S. special agent

Published Sunday, December 10, 2006
Editor: I applaud your newspaper for defending Ed Slavin and the First Amendment. I could have told you that Ed is "brilliant." I am a retired former FBI Special Agent, and former senior Special Agent for both the HUD and EPA Inspectors General. One Sherman Antitrust case I supervised had 36 "defense" attorneys as my adversaries so I've known a lot of attorneys.
Late in my career, I would not and could not sign my name to a report that resulted in a cover-up of major criminal wrongdoing by highly placed EPA officials. I was left with no choice but to file an environmental whistleblower case. Other than Ed Slavin, I was encouraged to persist only by my wife, Lynda, Congressman John Dingell's office (whose investigator referred me to Ed Slavin), and then-journalist Tony Snow. Ed completely documented EPA's attempted cover-up of $100 million in acid rain research fraud, conflicts of interest, waste and abuse.
Ed represented me in my U.S. DOL environmental whistleblower case against EPA and its inspector general, winning a precedent-setting case that protected future environmental investigators' rights, reversing two DOL judges.
Ed has always been a fighter, especially against an unresponsive judiciary who cares little about ruined careers.
The unrelenting stress the EPA subjected me to nearly took my life. Thus, Ed's work was truly a life-saver. As a result of Ed's so-called "overzealous" work, the EPA IG abruptly resigned in December 1996, following a history of harassing whistleblowers.
Public officials, who retaliate against citizens for questioning their actions demand to be investigated. Public jobs belong to the "people" -- the occupant of such office is a trustee; a custodian -- always. We have forfeited our "rights" when we refer to the government as "them." No, never. It is "We" the people. Trust me, Ed Slavin is not for sale. The First Amendment is not dead, yet.
Robert E. Tyndall
Senior Special Agent (Retired)
Williamsburg, Va.

Happy anniversary, world!

Happy anniversary, world!
Another beautiful day in a beautiful place here in St. Augustine, Florida (notwithstanding torrential thunderstorms)
On May 17, 1983 – 27 years ago today – the U.S. Department of Energy declassified the world’s largest mercury pollution event, in response to the November 11, 1982 FOIA request that Appalachian Observer publisher Ernest F. Phillips and I filed with DOE.
The rest, as they say, is history. Oak Ridge and other “dark satanic mills” of the nuclear weapons industry are being cleaned up and will one day be historic places with national parks.
Even the angry authoritarian bombbuilding soreheads in Oak Ridge are secretly glad that we uncovered their environmental crimes – there have been thousands of good jobs at good wages in the cleanup.
It takes a village to expose and to clean up pollution, whether in Oak Ridge, Tennessee or St. Augustine, Florida.
Environmental racism must be reported and prosecuted.
Every day, wake up knowing that you can make a difference in people’s lives, and strive to make our town and our planet better places.

See my May 2000 Oak Ridger column, below.

Oak Ridger Guest Column: Persistence may pay off for sick workers

Story last updated at 3:34 p.m. on Monday, May 29, 2000

Guest Column: Persistence may pay off for sick workers

On this day in American history (May 17): In 1946, President Harry Truman seized control of America's railroads.

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court ordered American schools desegregated, in Brown v. Board of Education.

In 1973, the U.S. Senate began its Watergate investigation.

In 1983, in response to a November 1982 Appalachian Observer newspaper declassification request, the DOE Oak Ridge Operations office admitted it "lost," emitted and dumped 2.4 million pounds of mercury in Oak Ridge.

The DOE ORO telephone call came at about noon on our weekly deadline day, requesting I send someone to DOE HQ in Oak Ridge to pick up a FOIA response.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Some said that I was "crazy" and "out to destroy Oak Ridge" for seeking this information, and that no one would care. They were wrong. Others in Oak Ridge shared information confidentially, and encouraged me to seek the truth.

DOE now admits that there were 4.2 million pounds of mercury "lost."

Since 1983, DOE has spent some $4.5 billion on "cleanup" in Oak Ridge, with no end in sight. DOE and its allies euchred ATSDR into changing the cleanup standard for mercury, and serious problems remain as a result.

On May 17, 1983, few of us envisioned just how widespread DOE and contractor misconduct had been, or the vast numbers of people affected by it. While I predicted "a potential environmental health disaster" in AO editorials, and was churlishly chided by DOE for "alarmist language," the simple truth is that I did not then imagine just how big that DOE "environmental health disaster" might become.

Seventeen years later, our leaders need the steely determination of Harry Truman, Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall and Sam Ervin.

Seventeen years later, that 26-year-old Appalachian Observer newspaper editor is a public interest lawyer representing whistleblowers and other DOE victims. He is still hated by DOE Oak Ridge managers. He is still seeking the truth. I am now honored to have my views shared by DOE's victims -- workers and residents from across the country, with an apology by the Secretary of Energy and bipartisan compensation legislation supported by editorial writers and Congressmen. This is a very special day, with meaningful legislation possible, if not this year, then next year.

The lesson of history: Never give up. Individual efforts can change history.

See, e.g., Jimmy Breslin's book on Watergate, "How the Good Guys Finally Won."

In tribute to all of the DOE/AEC victims whose sacrifice made victory in the Cold War possible, Congress should pass full and fair compensation legislation for all of DOE's Cold War radiation and toxicant victims, whether babies with genetic damage, Downwinders/residents, plant workers, Atomic Veterans or Gulf War veterans.

Our struggle is righteous and it can and should be won. The bill should not be limited only to plant workers, but should include family members and residents poisoned by DOE or suffering genetic abnormalities.

Rep. Zach Wamp pressed the need for compensating residents at the April 12 press conference held by Secretary Richardson, televised by C-SPAN: Secretary Richardson only frowned at these words.

In my humble opinion, if Congress has to kill a bad bill now to pass a good bill later, then so be it. DOE should not control compensation of its own victims, or pick and choose which victims it will compensate. This is a blatant conflict of interest.

Longtime Oak Ridge lawyer Gene Joyce made excellent suggestions on enacting compensation legislation in his column, and I salute him.

If hindsight is 20/20, it is only reasonable that DOE should not be allowed to rush things so as to make the nuclear weapons compensation bill a joke, covering only a few people, holding out cash over their heads and then dashing peoples' hopes and prayers in the details. What do you think?

For more information online, visit

Edward A. Slavin Jr. [was] an attorney who represents Oak Ridge whistle-blowers and sick workers. He lives in St. Augustine, Fla., and can be reached by writing him at P.O. Box 3084, St. Augustine, FL 32085-3084 or via e-mail at

All Contents ©CopyrightThe Oak Ridger

Friday, May 14, 2010

Downwinders (April 6, 2000): Why Not the Best Compensation System For All Nuclear Weapons Victims?

In the immortal words of my first boss, Senator Ted Kennedy, "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Working for Senator Kennedy and his top-notch staff taught me that politics is not only fun and full of laughter, but that politics is “the art of the possible” and that, in playwright Tony Kushner’s words, in "Angels in America," “only in politics does the miraculous occur.” The legacy of Ted Kennedy, the best Senator ever, was best expressed by JFK, who said, “here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”
Read more:

Here's an article I published in 2000 about nuclear weapons plant workers' CONpensation programs.

By Ed Slavin
April 6, 2000

Consider the following thirteen cases, twelve of them wrought by the Greatest Democracy on Earth as sequelae of the Cold War, the U.S. Foreign Policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), and massive nuclear weapons production, testing and transportation:

1. A Y-12 worker develops beryllium disease and dies, leaving a wife and family in danger of losing their home due to medical and funeral expenses.

2. A Vermont Gulf War soldier decorated for bravery is dosed with “depleted” uranium and radioactive fallout as he stands amidst the radioactive DU-contaminated battlefield that he has been assigned to, just short of defeating Sadaam Hussein in 1990.

3. A Utah shepherd guards his flock and finds himself dying of cancer, learning too late that the Government nuclear weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) have contaminated him with radiation and caused inoperable cancer.

4. A Hanford baby grows up in a government-built house, crawling on a carpet full of radionuclides and toxics, breathing toxic fumes. The baby dies of childhood leukemia.

5. An Oak Ridge child grows up playing in East Fork Poplar Creek and dies of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 38, just as his legal career is taking off.

6. An temporary clerical worker at a DOE site receives no nuclear safety training. Then she finds herself working atop a former nuclear reactor that has never been decontaminated, decommissioned or deactivated, containing large quantities of uranium and hydrogen fluoride, causing her to miscarry twins and develop bipolar disorder.

7. A nuclear weapons courier transporting and protecting nuclear weapons on our highways develops thyroid disease, chronic sleep disorder, and is permanently disabled as a result of DOE’s management bumbling insensitivity in failing to provide radiation detection equipment or proper scheduling or training.

8. An eleven year old girl breathes the radioactively polluted air on her family’s farm, at school and at play, developing thyroid disease, requiring surgery, synthetic thyroid hormone, and a life of fearing cancer.

9. An auto wreck victim thought to be dying is injected with plutonium, and is never asked and never gives consent.

10. A pregnant low-income mother in the ghetto is given a vitamin supplement, in reality an experiment in which she is given radionuclides.

11. A Native American Uranium miner is exposed to cancer-causing radionuclides without warning or fair compensation when he dies of cancer: federal law protects the Government from liability.

12. A South Pacific family is dosed with radiation as a result of a secret U.S. nuclear weapons test, is contaminated, develops cancer, and is offered a minimal amount of money as “compensation,” with no medical benefits.

13. A Tennessee coal miner gets pneumoconiosis. The coal company is taxed on each ton of coal production, paying with its profits for compensation for industrial diseases that are predictable, preventable and all too common among working people in coal mines. Workers have a right to hearings before independent Administrative Law Judges, lifetime compensation, medical expenses, and compensation for widows and orphans. The Supreme Court has upheld the right of the Government to tax coal companies to pay for workers compensation for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

The first 12 cases involve vastly different legal rights, if any. In each case, the Government generally tries to deny liability based on “sovereign immunity” or “discretionary function.” Nuclear Weapons industry managers are not prosecuted. They are not found liable. Often, the affected persons do not even sue. They cannot find lawyers.

Under current law, each of these cases is treated differently. Why? DOE and the Justice Department, aided and abetted by an unwitting Congress, have rigged the law to disfavor the victims and to coddle the Government and contractor managers who are responsible for these crimes and torts. They deal with victims one at a time, dismissively, with the New York Times Magazine reporting that they were long called “the crazies” at DOE Headquarters, as if they weren’t real victims. Such ugly pejoratives are still slung today at sick workers and residents and whistleblowers.

There is no principled reason why cases 1-12 should not be treated like case 13, and provided with a Due Process hearing where evidence can be developed before an independent Administrative Law Judge and independent appeals are assured, to the DOL Benefits Review Board and to a Circuit Court of Appeals, with the right to petition the Supreme Court for certiorari. Why should coal miners have greater rights than uranium miners or other DOE victims? Why should veterans get VA compensation but nuclear weapons workers get nothing? Why should dead babies’ deaths not be compensated? Why has the Government never apologized?

There is no principled reason why Native American uranium miners, St. George, Utah shepherds, Oak Ridge K-25, Y-12 and X-10 workers, Hanford area residents, Marshall Islands residents -- all victims of DOE, every single one, whether workers or residents -- should not be compensated.

Current law is splattered all over the map. After lawsuits are lost due to the Federal Tort Claims Act “discretionary function” exemption, workers get Congressman to introduce a bill, providing for lump sum monetary payments. Only one small group gets benefits. Others are left out in the Cold, permanent victims of the Cold War.

President Clinton has defined insanity as “doing the same old things and expecting different results.” Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. wrote in Earth in the Balance that the Exxon Valdez oil spill was “an indictment of our civilization.” What then does he call the Government’s victimization of all of the victims of nuclear weapons, our own Cheylabinsk? When are the polluters going to pay?

DOE’s bill is a proverbial dog with fleas:

* DOE’s bill would only cover a handful of workers. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not cover non-workers, like babies and other Downwinders.
* DOE’s bill would deny victims their day in Court. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would deny victims any right to appeals. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would reduce benefits by other benefits received. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would have DOE adjudicate claims, instead of the Labor Department. DOE has a conflict of interest. DOE has no Administrative Law Judges. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would pay a handful of victims a $100,000 bribe, in return for which they would give up their right to sue, and have to give some of the money back to DOE contractors or health care providers. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not provide for independent health insurance, provided by doctors of the workers’ choice. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not cover deceased victims. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not apologize. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not make any of the air, land and water polluters pay, as they do under Black Lung, where there is a 50 cent per ton tax on coal operators to pay pneumoconiosis benefits. This is unacceptable.

The Clinton Administration’s first proposal on nuclear workers compensation is inadequate. The victims selected for the $100,000 bribe have rejected it. So should Congress and the Administration. The offer is unacceptable.

In contrast to the DOE proposal, coal miners receive benefits which over the life of the miner, widow and orphan, amount to some $500,000, including medical benefits. Black Lung attorney fees are paid based on a reasonable hourly rate and a reasonable number of hours. Black Lung attorneys don’t get a percentage of the recovery -- they get paid based on how much they worked. DOE’s bill would give attorneys 10% of the amount recovered, taking the amount of recovery from the victim, while discouraging attorneys from taking complex occupational disease cases. This is unacceptable.

Jimmy Carter wrote in his autobiography, Why not the best? about how Admiral Hyman Rickover asked him if he had always done his best at the Naval Academy. Carter candidly said no. The Administration’s proposal is not even a good first try.

It was 23 years ago tonight that President Carter gave his speech on the energy crisis, calling it the “moral equivalent of war.” I was a 20 year old staffer for Senator Jim Sasser, assigned to cover the Department of Energy. I had no idea at that time what DOE had done to Tennesseans and other Americans. No one but DOE knew that.

Six years later, the mercury losses in Oak Ridge were declassified on May 17, 1983, at my request. Other disclosures around the country, sought by activists from all walks of life, have shown the Nation a picture of sublime ugliness: the Cold War took tens of thousands of Americans as unwilling victims, without informed consent. Now we know all too well that our Nation faces a moral crisis involving DOE, truly the “moral equivalent of war,” one that will test who we are as a people. The DOE Nuclear Weapons complex, to paraphrase Lincoln, is guilty of “idolatry that practices human sacrifices.” DOE’s American victims must be compensated fully, fairly and swiftly.

John Wayne and other actors, extras, producers, directors and film crews on location in Utah were contaminated with radiation. Many paid the price in shortened life spans. The NTS victim, the Gulf War veteran, the uranium miner, the baby, and their grieving families -- why should any of them be treated less favorably by our Government than it treats coal miners under the 1969 Black Lung Benefits Act? Why should they be denied hearings to prove what happened to them? Why should they be denied appeals? Why not the best compensation system, for everyone affected, instead of the worst insult that DOE and Justice Department lawyers can think up?

All Nuclear Weapons victims everywhere in the United States must be covered and be eligible for compensation, without requiring proof of causation, based upon an “interim presumption” of entitlement to benefits based upon exposure and disease, just like under Black Lung. That is the least we can expect. Some skeptics dismiss the Black Lung analogy and say that only miners get Black Lung disease, and that the only diseases that Nuclear Weapons victims get that are limited to workplace exposure are berylliosis, asbestosis and mesothelioma. This misses the point.

Children don’t normally die of leukemia without a toxic exposure. Workers don’t get cyanide exposure at home -- they get it in “dark satanic mills” like the Gaseous Diffusion Plants. Plutonium does not have a naturally occurring background level.

The complex of diseases and deaths in nuclear weapons and testing plant sites must be studied, using real people and not just cold statistics on corpses piled high over the years. People must be given treatment, tests must be done, results must be analyzed.

The point of Black Lung as a model is that Congress saw suffering, and decided to help. It adopted policies, practices and procedures well-developed since 1928. DOE rejected those policies in favor of a closed, secretive model used for federal employees’ workers’ compensation. This is a perverse model of failure, whose failings have been document in House of Representatives oversight hearings.

DOE tries to lead victims down the wrong road again. This is unacceptable.

"Just like the tobacco industry, DOE's minions are adept at portraying uncertainty and ambiguity, when they well know in their hearts what makes workers sick. Unlike the tobacco companies, the DOE weapons complex is owned by all Americans."

Oak Ridge lawyer Gene Joyce, a lifelong family friend of Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., made a wise contribution to the vigorous debate on Oak Ridge illnesses (February 25, 1998 column) by suggesting the adoption of a federal compensation remedy.

Mr. Joyce's apt analogy to Black Lung Benefits Act legislation is well taken. I applaud Mr. Joyce's humanitarian insights. Let’s pass such a law and make it a living memorial to all in Oak Ridge and around the country who have served and sacrificed for their country in the Nuclear Weapons business for 57 years.

Successful DOL workers compensation case claimants get their medical expenses paid. During a single Black Lung case, the total compensation payout, including medical benefits and survivor benefits for widows and orphans, can run as high as $500,000.

Federal workers compensation for nuclear workers was first proposed in Congress in 1958 by then Senator Albert Gore, Sr. It was proposed over again in the 1980s by Rep. David Skaggs of Colorado. Without strong support from unions and DOE, the proposals went nowhere. With unified support from Downwinders, workers, unions, environmentalists, civil libertarians (and as Senator John McCain would say vegetarians) in Hanford, Oak Ridge and other DOE "Company Towns" and Downwinder locations around the country, the proposals for federal workers' compensation for nuclear workers and residents might finally pass. Federal compensation for nuclear victims makes good sense.

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has adjudicated many special types of workers' compensation cases since the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act of 1928. "Extensions" of the Longshore act cover workers at federal military bases, offshore oil platforms, and coal mines. During the Vietnam war, there were contractor employees injured in Vietnam who were covered by "Longshore extensions." The basis of these federal workers' compensation programs is a strong federal interest in protecting workers in the selected occupations and industries. Nuclear weapons plant workers have worked on federal property, with federal tax dollars: they deserve a federal remedy that is free from the vagaries of state courts, where benefit amounts can be small, attorney fees may be taken from workers' awards, and justice can be uncertain. Likewise, downwinders and uranium miners deserve equal dignity and equal benefits because their ailments were caused by federal polices -- nuclear proliferation with atmospheric testing and releases of contaminants into the atmosphere. The Nation benefitted from winning the Cold War. It can well afford to compensate the Cold War’s victims, by placing a tax on Nuclear Weapons industry polluters.

DOL Administrative Law Judges -- who also hear whistleblower cases -- learn an awful lot about disability, as some 75% of their caseload is in Black Lung and Longshore Act cases. State court judges have differing levels of interest and expertise in workers' compensation cases, with cases on their dockets ranging from divorce to estates to criminal justice to auto wrecks to medical malpractice. Busy State court judges' patience with workers varies, as does their interest. State judges may be simply afraid of DOE contractors' political clout, or else snowed by scientific "evidence" bought and paid for by DOE and its contractors, with DOE contractors' litigation budgets at high levels to discourage workers from seeking justice.

Mr. Joyce's creative solution, patterned after Black Lung benefits, is for an "interim presumption" based upon the presence of certain disease patterns and the number of years of employment in the nuclear weapons complex. As in early Black Lung filings, the "interim presumption" could greatly simplify workers' compensation litigation that can take on a life of its own, with costs that are disproportionate to the benefits sought. Today, DOE and its contractors fight every radiation and toxic injury claim tooth and toenail, subject to DOE's longstanding policy of avoiding responsibility, which dates back to General Leslie Groves. DOE spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting one Ohio workers' compensation case where the potential payout was a mere widow's mite of some $ 15,000. That is a national disgrace. That is how DOE operates.

No campaign contributions or election campaigns decide who becomes a DOL ALJ. DOL judges are selected as a result of scores on an eight hour written examination, with litigation experience and ratings by judges and lawyers determining who will become a DOL judge.

Nuclear workers could have greater confidence that their case would be decided based solely on the evidence and the law, without fear, favor or prejudice, in a manner that develops one national body of evidentiary case law to apply to all workers and residents hurt by DOE and its facilities.

Rather than letting at least eleven overworked state court systems reach different results on rules of proving causation in complex radiation and toxic injury cases, workers and residents alike would be better served with decisions by independent federal administrative law judges appointed with lifetime tenure subject to good behavior, with review by the Benefits Review

Board. Those decisions could then be appealed to federal appellate courts.

Federal workers compensation for sick workers and residents could be supported by a tax not unlike that assessed on every ton of coal, which goes to pay for Black Lung benefits. What better way to pay for such just compensation than a tax on pollution assessed against corporate polluters?

(An alternative might be an excess profits tax on defense contractors, or a tax on present and former contractors based on the number of weapons grade materials they produced.)

Workers' and residents' fundamental rights to bring other types of civil lawsuits and criminal charges should be preserved inviolate. Full disclosure of all toxic pollution must at last become a reality.

Coal mine dust was known for years to cause disease, but doctors in coal company towns lied to miners and pretended there was no problem. Meanwhile, workers died horrible painful deaths at rates far higher than in Europe. Today history repeats itself in Oak Ridge, with Mr. Joyce noting that there are only ambiguous studies -- studies with conclusions that are ambiguous by DOE's direction, design and control.

Just like the tobacco industry, DOE's minions are adept at portraying uncertainty and ambiguity, when they well know in their hearts what makes workers sick. Unlike the tobacco companies, the DOE weapons complex is owned by all Americans.

The nuclear weapons complex won World War II and the Cold War, and now treats its atomic "veterans" shabbily and disgracefully. Consider the difference between the way we treat combat veterans, compared to veterans of industrial production that supported our war efforts. In World War II, my father jumped out of airplanes and machine-gunned Nazis in Europe as an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper. He was a war hero, and both America and France gave him medals. At age 86, he still receives VA compensation. He received three Bronze Stars. He is honored in parades. People thanked him for his sacrifice. He speaks to schoolchildren. They named the South Jersey Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association after him (the CPL Edward A. Slavin Chapter).

Hundreds of thousands of men like my dad might have died in hand-to-hand combat in Japan if it were not for the amazing wartime work of Oak Ridge and other sites.

Nuclear weapons plant workers and residents sacrificed their health so that America could win the Cold War and World War II.

Unlike my father, Nuclear Weapons plant workers and Downwinders received no medals, no honors, no thank yous, no compensation -- only layoff slips and concealment (and a double dose of discrimination for those who have the courage to raise environmental, health and safety concerns). Workers and residents who sacrificed their health for the Cold War should be treated as national heroes, to whom our country owes justice (not JUST US), a fair day in a fair court, full appeal rights, just compensation for illness, injury and death, and competent state-of-the-art health care from independent medical professionals of their choice -- not DOE’s choice of doctors.

The President and Vice President have not shown leadership. DOE and DOJ have not shown leadership. They have not shown statesmanship. Instead, they seek to divide and conquer, one group at a time, preventing a global solution, playing favorites, attempting to drive a wedge between its victims, creating separate classes and treating the victims like unruly school children, insulting them, condescending to them, and refusing to talk sense. They should be ashamed of themselves.

DOE’s proposal of a $100,000 bribe payment adds insult to injury: DOE has decided to add payoffs to layoffs. DOE has shown contempt for human rights. Just say no.

DOE and its contractors spent indecent amounts of tax money fighting their just compensation for injuries and discrimination. This is a national disgrace. Nuclear weapons plant victims deserve laws and rules that allow independent and experienced judges, full discovery, and open public trials at reasonable costs, including low-cost access to trial transcripts under the Freedom of Information Act.

With sick, disabled and dead people from Hanford to Utah to New Mexico to Oak Ridge to Portsmouth, Paducah and Mound, afflicted by illnesses reasonably believed to have been caused by toxins flowing from the Nuclear Weapons business, it makes a great deal of sense to let both workers and residents who are injured have a fair remedy, with fair rules, in a neutral DOL forum that adjudicates workers' cases full-time, with greater independence and expertise. Prompt decisions and payments must be assured.

The victims of DOE must unite -- every single one of them. The people are ready now.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “you can take what you want if you are organized.”

Ed Slavin [was] a lawyer who represents DOE site workers and whistleblowers in occupations ranging from technicians to investigators to engineers to judges He was Legal Counsel for Constitutional Rights with the Government Accountability Project, 1989-1993, and clerked for the Hon. Nahum Litt, who was Chief Administrative Law Judge of the U.S. Department of Labor. He was Editor of the Appalachian Observer, a Clinton, Tennessee weekly where he wrote extensively on Oak Ridge pollution, winning declassification of the Oak Ridge mercury losses on May 17, 1983, with the local District Attorney recommending him for a Pulitzer Prize. Ed testified on July 11, 1983 before then-Rep. Albert Gore Jr., endorsing criminal prosecution of Oak Ridge polluters. He has published seven articles in American Bar Association publications on human rights issues and is author of a book on Jimmy Carter for high school students. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Memphis State University Law School. His mother was in 1930 a victim of an early x-ray radiation experiment at age 11 for putative “cosmetic” purposes: it took her twelve years to bear her only child. (DOE responded to her letter to Secretary O’Leary by stating her exposures were beyond the scope of DOE’s human experimentation disclosures).


St. Petersburg TImes: JOHN LUIGI MICA Defends Support for Offshore Oil Drilling Off Florida's Coasts

May 13, 2010
Rep. John Mica isn't shifting on offshore drilling

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, affirms his position on offshore oil drilling. He's still for it. From a release today:

My position on drilling for gas and oil remain the same. I have always advocated drilling based on sound science, technology and employing safe measures, taking into consideration depths and currents. Unfortunately most of the past restrictions on drilling have been based on politics rather than sound science and safe procedures.

Based on what has occurred in the gulf, I would urge Congress to make certain that proper safeguards are required including a failsafe shutoff valve, and having a standby mechanism like the dome in place with tried and proven technology available before rather than after the fact.

With 3,400 oil and 600 gas rigs already in the Gulf of Mexico, action on insuring against another disaster is important. Furthermore, even if Florida has a 100, 125, 150 or 200 mile ban and other states and countries like Mexico allow close or deepwater rigs, our state can still remain at risk without these protective measures.

Posted by Aaron Sharockm

St, Petersburg Times: Senator Nelson urges $10 b damages cap on oil spill, Murkowski objects

Bill Nelson urges $10 billion damage cap for oil spill; GOP senator objects

Sen. Bill Nelson is on the Senate floor arguing for a bill that would increase the cap for oil spill damages to $10 billion from $75 million.

"I'm not sure $10 billion is going to be enough," the Florida Democrat said. "But it was a target. Let's hope it never gets to that. But thus far, nothing has worked."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is speaking now, objecting to the bill. She said $10 billion in liability would hurt smaller independent companies. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., scoffed at the "mom and pop" allusion.

UPDATE: Murkowski's objection dashes hope for a quick vote, as unanimous consent would be needed. "I’m really disappointed some of my colleagues decided to block the legislation to hold BP accountable for this environmental disaster," Nelson said in a statement afterward.

In a Tweet he added, "Senator from Alaska just sandbagged my bill."

Kudos to Chairwoman Moeller and Commissioners Sundeman, Bequette and Radford

Kudos to AMCD Chairwoman Jeanne Moeller and Commissioners John Sundeman, Janice Bequette and Ronald Radford for voting for accountability, transparency and integrity.
In 2010, thanks to their leadership, AMCD rightly rejected the multi-milllion dollar building that its managers had pushed it to build for years.
In 2007, after eight months of discussion, AMCD rightly killed a $1.8 million no-bid Textron Bell Long Ranger Jet Helicopter purchase rubberstamped by the ancien regime under the Chairmanship of Barbara Bosanko and then-AMCD lawyer Geoffrey Dobson under the pretext of it was "sole source." The new board got an $81,000 refund of our deposit.
We don't need a helicopter.
We don't need a new building.
We don't need managers who spend money without authorization.
Applying for SJRWMD and DEP permits without permission was wrong.
Signing contracts without AMCD board approval was wrong.
Using propaganda photos of deferred maintenance items to sway the board was wrong.
Record reporter Peter Guinta's walking up to Chairwoman Moeller and saying she wasn't doing an adequate job of controlling Commissioner John Sundeman was wrong.
I reckon that Record Senior Reporter Peter Guinta needs to write a column again where he can express his opinions freely, without pretending to be "objective."
His former column was brilliant.
However, his opinionated remarks about the board having "wasted" money are merely opinions. The board learned how much a new building would costs and has the plans should it ever need one.
There is enough corruption and waste in St. Johns County to go around. It's great to see AMCD once again stand up against waste.

St. Augustine Record; Mosquito board kills move

Created 2010-05-14 00:10

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH -- The chairwoman of Anastasia Mosquito Control District's board of directors said Thursday night that the district's plan to move its headquarters inland is "dead."

Chairwoman Jeanne Moeller said, "I am the swing vote on this project, and I will not vote to move it forward,"

So years of planning and hundreds of thousands of tax dollars that were spent to move its vulnerable base station at 500 Old Beach Road to 18.5 inland acres off State Road 16 are apparently wasted.

Board members Col. Ron Radford and Vivian Browning had supported the move out of the hurricane zone. John Sundeman and Janice Bequette didn't.

Moeller waffled.

But last month, she took a decided turn against and voted to put the project on hold.

Part of the reason she declared it dead on Thursday was her receipt of documents from an unnamed source Saturday that initiated a lack of trust in district staff, especially for Assistant Director Priscilla Greene.

Greene, a West Point graduate, was hired in March 2008 to help Director Rui-de Xue run the district.

Under Moeller's urging, the board voted 4-1 Thursday night to fire Greene and eliminate her position.

She accused Greene of signing a contract with a telephone company without telling the board and signing and mailing a $76,970 check to an engineering consultant to pay for Department of Environmental Protection and St. Johns River Water Management District permits for the new headquarters.

"She is not to sign contracts," Moeller said. "Only the board may sign contracts. I have concerns about staff transparency, integrity and honesty."

The district needs those permits to build its headquarters.

Greene stayed calm and silent before her accuser, but finally said, "I don't know about any motion last month about stopping the project. That money had been approved by the board."

On Thursday, Moeller cleared up any doubt about where she stood about the move and about Greene.

"I want (Greene) reprimanded or terminated. This is absolutely appalling," she said.

Just moments before, Green had given the board a report illustrating the deficiencies of its current base station.

Her report included photos of deteriorating sections of the headquarters building, roof leaks, rusting beams, a settling foundation, a 1960 backup generator, structural cracks in buildings, leaking skylights and a deteriorating beam in the chemical tank area.

Julieann Klein, a certified public accountant for Lombardo, Spradley & Klein, Daytona Beach, told the board that upgrading the current compound would cost $1.3 million. To rebuild the current base station would cost $2 million and to build near State Road 16 would cost $2.7 million.

Board member Vivian Browning, the lone vote for Greene, said board inaction has wasted years.

"We're fiddling while Rome burns," she said. To Sundeman, she said, "You're basically picking apart reports and asking for more information. We need a secure storage area for information. Right now our personnel and accounting records are in a shed outside. And have we determined if we have an extended ability to operate off site? I don't think we do."

Sundeman called the report "a propaganda slide show. We're not getting a true picture here."

He made the motion to terminate Greene, saying, "We have a right to terminate her at any time." That motion was seconded by Moeller, who said, "We can't have people who handle our money keep things from this board."

Upon advice of board attorney Douglas Wyckoff, the board will issue Greene a letter saying that she has the chance to have a hearing before her termination.

But the board learned that even if Greene convinces them not to terminate, her job has already been eliminated.

Browning criticized the board's internal backbiting.

"The 'gotcha' factor around her is ridiculous," she said. "Nobody should be treated as (Greene) was treated here tonight."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bankruptcy Judge Orders Rule 2004 Examination of LYDIA CLADEK's Attorney, Francis Lilly

On May 12, 2010, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge Paul M. Glenn of the Middle District of Florida granted Trustee Michael Phelan's motion to examine LYDIA CLADEK's attorney, Francis G. Lilly. The testimony of attorney Lilly will be taken on June 8, 2010 at the offices of Akerman Senterfitt in Jacksonville, Florida.

USDOJ: Man indicted for civil rights conspiracy over cross-burning in Louisiana

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Man Indicted for Civil Rights Conspiracy in Connection with Cross-Burning in Athens, Louisiana

WASHINGTON – Joshua James Moro, 23, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for participating in a civil rights conspiracy in connection with an October 2008 cross-burning in Athens, La., near the home of an interracial couple. Moro was arrested today following the return of the indictment on April 28, 2010.

Moro was charged with one count of conspiring to interfere with another person’s civil rights. If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

Moro’s co-conspirator and cousin, Daniel Earl Danforth, was convicted this past January for conspiring to burn a cross, using fire to commit a federal felony and obstruction of justice charges stemming from this same cross-burning. According to the evidence at Danforth’s trial, on or about Oct. 23, 2008, Moro agreed to help Danforth build, erect and burn a cross near the homes of their cousin, who lived with an African-American man and an 11-year-old son, and other relatives who were believed to approve of the interracial relationship. Specifically, Moro agreed to get diesel fuel for Danforth to use to burn the cross. The evidence at Danforth’s trial established that as part of the conspiracy, Danforth and others built a cross out of small pine trees and transported the cross to an area adjacent to the victims’ homes, where they set it on fire in order to intimidate the interracial couple.

This case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary J. Mudrick for the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Erin Aslan from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

McClatchy News Service: Republicans Oppose Governor Crist's Call for Special Legislative Session on Offshore Oil Drilling Constitutional Amendment

GOP leaders blast Crist's call for special legislative session

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Charlie Crist's announcement Tuesday that he would call a special legislative session this month to ask voters to ban oil drilling off Florida's coast and revive renewable energy legislation immediately sparked an angry clash between the independent Crist and his former Republican colleagues.

Crist said that because of the Gulf oil disaster, "it's appropriate for the people of Florida'' to have a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment to ban oil drilling in Florida waters -- between the beach and 10.6 miles offshore. He also wants to use the session to revive incentives for renewable-energy legislation.

"I want to talk about wind, nuclear, solar, natural gas and other alternative means to provide energy to our people,'' Crist said. He added that he was not sure whether he or legislative leaders would formally call the session.

But the governor's suggestion of bringing lawmakers back to Tallahassee the week of May 24 without a consensus on the energy issues sparked harsh rebukes from House and Senate leaders.

House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, blasted Crist's call for a special session as "a political ploy to promote the future of politicians.'' In a statement, Cretul said state leaders and resources should focus on "solving the real problem at hand, not fighting political campaigns at taxpayers' expense.''

Incoming Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, who had been the Legislature's strongest advocate for opening Florida waters to oil drilling, agreed that a special session was unnecessary because of a federal ban that now prohibits oil drilling 125 miles off state beaches.

"State and federal law already prohibits oil drilling off of Florida's shores, and lifting the ban will be off the table while I am speaker, so a special session to address it is unwarranted,'' Cannon said in a statement.

Clean-energy advocates say the Gulf oil spill has increased the need for the state to promote alternatives to fossil fuels and challenge the critics who claim it will cost more than traditional fuels.

"It is critical we take an honest look at the power of energy generation in Florida,'' said Susan Glickman of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "In many cases, clean, renewable energy is comparable in cost to traditional fossil fuels but, if you added the costs of the oil spill, respiratory diseases caused by pollution, the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and the sea level rise, the real costs are countless.''

Whether Crist can build consensus on any of these issues amid the new political dynamics in Florida's capital is unknown. Since he first angered lawmakers by vetoing a teacher merit-pay bill supported by most GOP lawmakers, and then severed ties with the Republican Party and announced he would seek election to the U.S. Senate without party affiliation, the relationship between the governor and Republican legislative leaders has turned bitter.

Crist can issue a proclamation calling the Legislature into special session but, once convened, lawmakers do not have to pass anything.

The politics of offshore drilling were on full display at Tuesday's Florida Cabinet meeting. The two Cabinet members who hope to succeed Crist in the governor's mansion echoed Crist's call for a special session.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, thanked him ``for wanting to let the voters of Florida have their say.''

McCollum, a Republican, noted he has been "opposed to it [drilling] all along'' but said the proposed amendment needed to be "very carefully worded'' so it did not restrict "new scientific options that may come along.''


Republican Former St. Johns County Commission Chair THOMAS G. MANUEL is now federal prisoner number #32566-018, incarcerated at the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.

MANUEL was not the first public official in St. Johns County to take a bribe.

We need an anti-bribery campaign in St. Johns County and St. Augustine and the other government agencies here. A St. Augustine Record editorial didn't quite call for that, as I have for months. Instead, it acts like bribery was a one-time event instead of commonplace.

How revealing -- the Record ignores the evidence of its own senses, refuses to print the news and praises GEORGE McCLURE (of all people), a seedy lobbyist for environmental devastators, who gets off on his representing speculators like ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD.

Of course, people who are offered bribes should turn in the bribepayer.

Of course, people who are asked to give bribes should turn in the public official.

A culture of corruption can be changed one day at a time, just as courageous citizens have done in Sicily.

Stand up to bribepayers and bribetakers, who destroy our democracy.

Interesting that there's still never been one editorial in local newspapers against bribery and calling for an anti-bribery campaign, even though our former Republican County Commission Chair THOMAS MANUEL is pleading guilty tomorrow, after ndictment for bribery,for accepting $60,000.

In fact, when MANUEL pled guilty, the WRecKord omitted the fact that MANUEL was a REPUBLICAN.

One-party rule wasn't even relevant to the two reporters who covered the MANUEL plea. (A chronology did say "GOP", but neither article said "REPUBLICAN.")

In fact, when former NYC Police Commissioner (and George W. Bush Homeland Security nominee) BERNARD KERIK was sentenced to four years in prison, the WrecKord omitted that fact too.

Oleaginous St. Augustine corporate lawyer GEORGE McCLURE, longtime developer lawyer who shows his open contempt for public particpation in government, was scheduled to be a witness against MANUEL. Did McCLURE get a deal from federal prosecutors? If not, why would be McCLURE testifying? Is this a sudden pang of conscience after inflicting so many ugly, tree-killing, wetland-destroying projects on our community?

What do you reckon?

Will St. Johns County and St. Augustine return to business as usual?

What's next?

Thomas G. Manuel #32566-018 reported to federal prison on March 12, 2010

We are advised this morning by the Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice, that "Thomas G. Manuel" [prisoner number] #32566-018 reported on March 12, 2010" to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Butner, N.C.

THOMAS G. MANUEL pled guilty to bribery.

MANUEL was Chairman of the St. Johns County Commission at the time of his arrest.

MANUEL was part of the Republican machine that has subjected St. Johns County to misrule for decades.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sir Winston Spencer Churchill: "We shall fight them on the beaches"

Monday night, the City of St. Augustine passed a resolution 4-1 opposing oil drilling in Florida's waters to protect beaches and tourism. It joins the City of St. Augustine Beach, which passed an identical resolution one week before. See below.

Florida does not want offshore oil drilling, which could kill our beaches, marches and economy. In the immortal words of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, "we shall fight them on the beaches."

On November 2, St. Augustine and St. Johns County voters must reject oleaginous oil lobbyists like our sorry Seventh District U.S. Rep. JOHN LUIGI MICA (R-Winter Park) and his brother DAVID MICA, Executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Council (part of the American Petroleum Institute) and his daughter D'ANNE (an oil PR person) and his son J. CLARK MICA (Fertilizer Institute lobbyist).

There are no oil refineries in Florida. There's a reason for that -- we want clean beaches, clean marshes, and a green economy based on environmental and historic tourism. Thanks to City of St. Augustine Beach Mayor Brud Helhoski, Vice Mayor Andrea Samuels and Commissioners Edward George and Richard O'Brien for supporting the resolution. Thanks to City of St. Augustine Mayor Joseph Boles, Vice Mayor Errol Jones, Commissioners Leeana Freeman and Nancy Sikes-Kline for supporting the resolution.

St. Augustine is hereby officially declared to be a no-bullying zone -- rabid hate sites, we are watching you! Racist, sexist, homophobes repent.

As Thomas Jefferson said, we "have sworn upon the altar of Almighty God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind" of humankind.

To those "Anonymice" who post hate speech anonymously, chilling First Amendment free speech rights, remember, "you can run but you can't hide," in Joe Louis' immortal words.

IN HAEC VERBA: St. Augustine Beach Resolution 10-6, opposing further offshore oil drilling off Florida's coasts



WHEREAS, Florida’s economy depends on its multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which resulted in more than 82 million visitors coming to Florida in 2008, during which period tourism generated over $4.0 billion in taxable sales; and

WHEREAS, tourism accounts for one-third of Florida’s budget revenue, and 96% of those visitors cite the beaches as an influential factor in their decision to visit Florida; and

WHEREAS, tax revenues generated from Florida’s growing tourism industry are critical to continued funding of essential governmental services, including transportation, schools, and public safety; and

WHEREAS, oil rigs and the pipelines that support them, including their required setback areas, severely limit access to the scarce sand sources that are vital for Florida’s beach renourishment program; and

WHEREAS, a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that opening the Florida coast to drilling as close as three miles would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil prices before 2010, if ever; that it is not economically feasible to drill for oil in certain offshore areas; and even if all available areas were opened, at the peak of production, it would have little, if any, effect on price; and

WHEREAS, nearly 80 per cent of estimated U.S. oil reserves are already currently available to exploration and more than 68 million acres are available to drill, and the U.S. is the third largest oil producer at over 7 million barrels of oil per day; and

WHEREAS, the area with the potential for the greatest risk of environmental damage is the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, three miles off the western coast of Florida; and

WHEREAS, environmental specialist contend the major risk from drilling platforms is the wastewater they routinely discharge, which contains drilling fluids and heavy metals including mercury; and

WHEREAS, according to oil industry data, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico can dump up to 90,000 tons of drilling fluid and metal cuttings over its lifetime. These contaminants accumulate in the marine food web and may contaminate local beaches and have a negative effect on the environment and the tourism industry; and

WHEREAS, near shore drilling creates an environmental threat to marine mammals whereby mechanical sounds carry through the water for hundreds of miles and have been known to cause permanent hearing loss and also disrupts their feeding, migration, social bonding, and have been associated with stranded whales; and

WHEREAS, it is our belief that despite technological advances in oil drilling technology, there is no positive assurance that catastrophic damage to our coastline, beaches, plant and fish life could be avoided during normal operating conditions or during storm situations; and

WHEREAS, there is no assurance that oil companies will not become more interested in developing the near shore Atlantic coast; and

WHEREAS, lifting the moratorium on mineral leasing in the Gulf of Mexico poses an intolerable threat to the beaches, waterways, and economy of Florida;

WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of St Augustine Beach supports further development of non-fossil fuel energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, etc.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County, Florida, that we strongly encourage all elected officials at the County, State and Federal levels to oppose legislative attempts to allow near shore oil drilling expansion past the areas already approved for pre-leasing, leasing, and oil production activities and to take immediate steps to encourage and assist in the development of alternative sources of energy.

RESOLVED AND DONE, this 3rd day of May, 2010, by the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County, Florida.

Mayor – Commissioner


City Manager