Robert Knight writes for The Gainesville Sun – “Not only is water clarity in Kings Bay almost entirely gone, so are the eelgrass and other native plants that historically covered the bottom of the bay…The latest insult to those who treasure Crystal River’s springs is the district’s draft plan to establish minimum flows…After 44 years of injurious delay and inaction, the water management district has somehow concluded that an additional 12 percent decline in flows at Kings Bay/Crystal River will not cause ‘significant harm.’…The U.S. Geological Survey, the most respected hydrological agency in the world, reported that [there has been]…a greater than 58 percent decline (in average spring flow from historical averages)…The only way to reverse the algae problems and restore water clarity in Kings Bay is to dial back groundwater pumping and fertilizer use throughout the Southwest Florida Water Management District…Let the district’s Governing Board know that you do not support the proposed minimum flow for Kings Bay/Crystal River and that you adamantly oppose their decision to further reduce spring flows.” Read Make Crystal River clear again
The Associated Press reports – “The largest U.S. solar panel installer is moving into Florida’s residential market after the state’s voters last month rejected a utility-backed ballot measure that critics said would make going solar more expensive…In Florida,…the law allows only utility companies to sell power directly to consumers, so SolarCity has been slow to enter the state’s market even with its abundant sunshine.” Read Nation’s largest solar installer to open Florida facility
C.T. Bowen reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Pasco is projected to get $12.7 million as a member of the 23-county Gulf Coast Consortium that is devising a state spending plan for the…federal trust fund to distribute the fines from BP stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon…Pasco was required to send its recommended projects…and the contents and ranking of that list sparked substantial debate among county commissioners…Commissioner Mike Wells Jr. wanted a greater emphasis on stormwater drainage and lamented that two of the three highest-ranked projects by the county's advisory committee were artificial reefs… ‘This is not flood remediation money,' [County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder] told the commission…Commissioner Kathryn Starkey questioned the Ranch Road park… ‘I don’t see how putting in basketball courts is helping our environment,’ she said.” Read Pasco commission debates how to spend Restore Act dollars
Jeff Biggers writes for the New York Times – “Doomsday scenarios about the climate have abounded in the aftermath of the November election. But responsibility for effectively reining in carbon emissions also rests with business, and with the nation’s cities and states. Those are the battlegrounds. Worldwide, cities produce as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions…With or without significant federal support, reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require major private investment…and ambitious private-public initiatives from mayors and governors…California’s recent move to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 is a hopeful shift that other cities and states should emulate. This would involve setting high benchmarks for developing green enterprise zones, renewable energy, cultivating food locally, restoring biodiversity, planting more trees and emphasizing walkability, low-carbon transportation and zero waste.” Read Cities and states lead on climate change
Selima Hussain reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Jennifer Veilleux has…worked as a water security analyst for the U.S government…and she’s currently a geographer at Florida International University’s Institute of Water and Environment… She’s…building an international team of people -- consisting of scientists, lawyers, historians, Ph.D students and photographers -- to conduct a complete environmental assessment on the (Dakota Access) pipeline’s impact on the Missouri River water system…Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, was permitted to build the pipeline under state utility permits and the Nation Wide Permit 12, according to Veilleux. ‘This allows megaprojects to be dissected into bite sized chunks…so that the impact is minimized and not assessed as a collective impact," Veilleux said…Davidd Frankel, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer…has been traveling to and from Standing Rock to offer legal assistance to the “water protectors.”” Read How a South Florida scientist and lawyer are standing with Standing Rock
Anna Hirtenstein reports for Bloomberg – “A subsidiary of Bouygues SA has designed rugged solar panels, capable of withstanding the weight of an 18-wheeler truck, that they’re now building into road surfaces... ‘We wanted to find a second life for a road,’ said Philippe Harelle, the chief technology officer at Colas SA’s Wattway unit, owned by…Bouygues. ‘Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.’” Read Solar-Panel roads to be built on four continents next year
A.G. Gancarski reports for Florida Politics – “Northeast Florida Senators Aaron Bean, Rob Bradley, Audrey Gibson, and Travis Hutson all have new committee assignments. Happily, for Northeast Florida, the first three listed will be in a position to have say over the upper house’s purse strings in the coming Session. Bean…will also sit on the Community Affairs…[committee]. Bradley likewise retains a presence on the Appropriations Committee, chairing the Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources. He will be the vice-chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection and Conservation, befitting the mostly rural nature of his district…He will have input into water management districts, which could have a salutary impact on the interests of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida in the perpetual water wars over the St. Johns River.” Read Northeast Florida Senators to feature heavily on Appropriations Committee
Keith Bradsher reports for the New York Times – “China…has called on the United States to recognize established science and to work with other countries to reduce dependence on dirty fuels like coal and oil…Even as it does so, China is scrambling to mine and burn more coal.” Read Despite climate change vow, China pushes to dig more coal
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
December 1-2 – Attend the rescheduled Florida Remediation Conference in Orlando. FRC includes 2 days of technical presentations on soil and groundwater cleanup, along with more than 80 industry product and services exhibitors. For more information, click here.
December 6, 12:00 pm – Join the Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Avenue, High Springs, FL 32643. December’s lecture is on Springs Chemistry. For more information, click here.
December 9, 2:30 PM – City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg will make important announcements around clean energy and sustainability on the steps of St. Petersburg City Hall.
December 9, 7:00 PM – Join Suncoast Sierra Club for refreshments, live music, and art in celebration of St. Petersburg sustainability. For more information and to register click here.
December 14, 12:45 pm – Come learn about irrigation improvements for homeowners in The Villages. The meeting will take place in the Belvedere Library. For more information and to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 13 – Attend the 26th Annual Southwest Florida Water Resources Conference in Fort Myers. For more information and to register, click here.
January 28, 9:30 AM - Attend the 1st Nature's Spirit Conference hosted by the Pagan Environmental Alliance and the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches to discuss how science, belief in nature, and activism can tap into greater community involvement. For more information, click here.
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