Walter Mencken 5:01 p.m., Nov. 25
Justice at last? Scripps snakebit in Florida
Eastern Indigo Snake could thwart its expansion plans
As reported here since 2004, Scripps Institute in North Palm Beach has been setting records for corporate welfare. Beginning in 2003, La Jolla's Scripps Research Institute wangled a $600 million subsidy from the State of Florida to set up a branch there. By 2011, it had 400 jobs -- costing the state well over $1 million per job. Last year, it had 545 jobs -- still more than $1 million per job.
Now, Scripps wants to expand in Florida into the Briger Forest, land that is prized by South Florida environmentalists. Those environmentalists have filed a notice of violation with federal agencies, claiming that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers overlooked legalities in giving the nod to Scripps. The forest is home to storks, egrets and, most importantly, six threatened Eastern Indigo snakes. The environmentalists, including the Sierra Club, say Scripps is violating the Endangered Species Act.