Thursday, July 17, 2014

WalMart to Be Built on Florida Rain Forest Land

The Miami Herald reports that the University of Miami has come to an agreement with Ram to develop 40 acres of a rain forest preserve. The land will be used for a Walmart, LA Fitness center, Chik-fil-A, Chili’s restaurants and other box retail stores. Needless to say, environmentalists are not happy.

“You wonder how things end up being endangered? This is how. This is bad policy and bad enforcement. And shame on UM,” said attorney Dennis Olle, a board member of Tropical Audubon and the North American Butterfly Association, who wrote to Florida’s lead federal wildlife agent Friday demanding an investigation.

The proposed land for development contains many endangered plants and species. Conservationists were sent in last month to rescue plants and other rare life. They found more than what they bargained for.

To their surprise, rescuers picking their way through the forest in June and earlier this month found a trove of rare plants outside land staked off for preservation, including the tiny, endangered polygala smallii, a small flowering herb. They also spotted rare butterflies, including the Bartram’s hairstreak, one of the butterflies expected to be named to the endangered species list this summer, and the Atala hairstreak, which almost went extinct in the middle of the 20th century.

Environmental protection is next to nonexistent under the Rick Scott administration. The oil industry wants to drill in the Everglades. Even the environmentally unfriendly Jeb Bush was never that bold.

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