The Florida Panther is one of the most beautiful and rare animals on this planet. Sadly, their population has almost disappeared because of habitat loss and vehicle related deaths.
Edward Garcia is planning to build a massive power plant in a patch of Florida panther habitat south of Lake Okeechobee. There are only about 130 panthers left in the wild and this power plant would take up 3,127 acres of land vital to the Florida panther existence. I strongly believe that if this power plant is built, it will lead to their extinction.
The Palm Beach Post News writes: Eddie Garcia, a Palm Beach Gardens developer who has built shopping centers, residential communities and other projects in Florida and Virginia, has obtained preliminary approval to rezone 3,127 acres for a combined solar and natural gas plant in southeastern Hendry County. He is in discussions with Florida Power & Light Co. to build and operate the plant.
The proposed Hendry Next Generation Clean Energy Center would consist of three natural gas units, with a total of nine smokestacks, as well as a field of solar panels covering up to 2,000 acres, according to the rezoning application from Garcia's company, McDaniel Reserve Realty Holdings. The plant would be capable of generating more than 3,750 megawatts of electricity, about three times the capacity of FPL's plant at Port Everglades.
We cannot allow this to happen. The Florida panthers need us more than ever right now. We cannot destroy their home and let another species become extinct at the hand of human greed. Please help!
Dear Mr. Garcia,
We the undersigned are asking you not to build your power plant in South Florida. The land where the power plant would be built is already the home to a several different animals. Four of these animals are federally protected endangered species. They are the Audubon's crested caracara, Eastern indigo snake, Wood Stork, and most importantly the Florida panther. Did you know there are only about 130 wild Florida panthers left? That is it. When a species population gets that low, it becomes now or never. We either do everything in our power to help protect this species and help it grow, or let them whither away to only be viewed in history books.
Your power plant would take up 3,127 acres of Florida panther habitat. This land truly is vital to their existence. I know that you own the land and that you offered to purchase even more land that is home to the Florida panther to compensate. I am sorry but that just does not make sense. Yes, you would be replacing the land you are building on by purchasing an equal amount elsewhere, but without the power plant at all, the panthers would have twice as much land to live on! With that much space (which still isn't that much) their population has twice the chance of growing. This would help decrease inbreeding in panthers which can cause horrible results. Also, the land that you own keeps the Florida panthers safe from crossing dangerous roads that result in their death. In 2010 alone, 23 panthers were killed. 16 of those panthers were killed by being hit with a vehicle. About 2 months ago, officials discovered the body of a Florida panther that had died from the result of foul play. They are offering $5000 to anyone with any information for who poached the creature. Then, a month ago a vast wildfire wiped across Florida destroying everything in its path, including four baby Florida panthers. Do you see how critical it is for us to protect these beautiful and majestic animals? Do you see how hard it already is for them to survive without your huge power plant?
Please, from the bottom of our hearts help save the Florida panthers buy not building the power plant on that land. You can build it anywhere you want, just not somewhere that provides shelter to four endangered animals. Especially an animal that is only years away from total extinction. You can always be remembered as the hero who didn't do something because it would help the environment and the wild animals that inhabit it. Not the villain who ruined over 3,000 acres of vital habitat which could lead to the end of the Florida panthers forever.
Sincerely,Lindsey Grace Williams