Larry Buhl reports for Desmog – “As opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline swells at home and abroad, another pipeline project at the other end of the U.S. is quietly being installed as fast as possible, critics say, displacing residents, threatening water supplies, and racking up alleged construction violations…Sabal Trail is using $3 billion of Florida Power and Light ratepayer money to build a 515-mile pipeline to transport natural gas obtained via fracking from eastern Alabama to central Florida…Critics of Sabal Trail…[are] angry that a private company is using eminent domain…Opponents of Sabal Trail say that pipeline construction alone poses a threat to local water resources by releasing hazardous materials and drilling mud into waterways, and they say that several incidents of negligence have intensified those concerns.” Read Critics Call $3 Billion Sabal Trail Pipeline Florida’s Dakota Access Pipeline
Tia Mitchell reports for The Florida Times Union – “A petition was filed…in hopes that the U.S. Forest Service will order the (Rodman) dam to be torn down according to terms outlined in a now-expired agreement between the federal government and the state of Florida. If the dam is removed, the large reservoir resulting from the stoppage of flow would drain and flow would return to the Ocklawaha River, one of the main tributaries to the St. Johns River…Environmental groups like Audubon Florida and the St Johns Riverkeeeper…say the backstop caused by the reservoir negatively affects at least 20 springs and destroyed 9,200 acres of floodplains and forests, while costing the state roughly $1 million each year to maintain.” Read Environmentalists try new administrative angle to force removal of Rodman dam
The Daytona Beach News-Journal writes – “More people mean more houses, schools, shopping centers. And that means more of Florida covered with asphalt, and less land open for rainwater to seep back into the ground and replenish the vast underground caverns that hold the state’s main freshwater supply…Florida’s economic engine runs on growth, but unchecked, thoughtless sprawl is a direct threat to the state’s two largest industries, tourism and agriculture, both uniquely tied to the health of the state’s water supply…Establishing strong protections for natural areas, preserving space for agriculture and encouraging development in more compact, well-planned municipal areas could help Florida build a more sustainable future…Blue Spring, a favored manatee winter spot and the centerpiece of a beloved state park has been showing decreased spring flow and increased bacteria count for years, both directly tied to development in its watershed.” Read Saving Florida’s water
Steve Patterson reports for The Florida Times Union – “[T]he St. Johns Riverkeeper…is planning events…to…[screen] a documentary it financed called “Troubled Waters: Connections and Consequences.” The 50-minute report describes strains on the river ranging from increasing salinity to higher water use as well as pressure for regulators at the St. Johns River Water Management District and Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to be lenient… ‘DEP seems to think that their job is to promote industry. I think their job should be to protect the public,’ said Quinton White, executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute… ‘The current governor came into office and slashed and burned the budget on environmental issues. Now we’re seeing the consequences of that.’…The documentary also quotes former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham…saying that ‘many of the best scientists in…water management districts have been fired’ in recent years. ‘Therefore, bad decisions are made or bad decisions go unchallenged…’” Read Riverkeeper promoting film that warns of political power
Jim Rosica reports for Florida Politics – “An array of environmental advocacy groups had filed suit over the Water and Land Legacy Amendment…One suit targeted the Legislature; another went after the agencies…The Legislature moved to consolidate the cases…(Circuit Judge) Dodson said he’d pass on formally ruling on the consolidation motion if the various plaintiffs instead merged their complaints into one suit. They agreed to do so by Jan. 6.” Read Plaintiffs will combine forces in Amendment 1 lawsuit
Lazaro Aleman reports for Greene Publishing, Inc. – “Keep Florida Beautiful (KFB) and Florida Affiliates recently honored District 7 Rep. Halsey Beshears…Beshears has been KFB’s budget sponsor in the Florida House for the last two years…Beshears responded by saying that it was the duty of all citizens to be the best stewards of the land possible…According to KFB, the average American generates more than four pounds of trash daily. KFB and its affiliates holds as its mission to inspire and educate and empower people to improve their communities through the organization of cleanups and litter prevention education programs.” Read Florida groups honor Rep. Beshears
Jerry Iannelli reports for the Miami New Times – “The U.S. Southern District of Florida announced that Princess Cruises, an L.A.-based company owned by Carnival, has pleaded guilty to seven felony charges stemming from the fact it was caught dumping ‘oil-contaminated waste’ into water off the coast of England using a ‘magic pipe.’…Carnival admitted to covering up illegal discharges from 2005 to 2013 and using the scheme on at least five ships…Princess will pay the government $40 million…$3 million will go toward helping the South Florida environment.” Read Carnival Cruise Subsidiary Caught Blatantly Dumping Oil Into Ocean for Ten Years
Stephen Hudak reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “The state Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission released a pair of educational videos…to help people in Florida’s bear corridors co-exist with the animals…Most calls to the state’s nuisance bear hotline involve the animals scavenging trash for a high-calorie meal…Because both black bear and human populations in Florida keep growing, dangerous interactions between the two species are likely to rise, too…The videos can be seen here and here.” Read State’s educational videos to help Floridians co-exist with bears
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
December 7, 12:00 pm – ReThink Energy Florida will host a Stop Sabal Trail Lunch & Learn in Tallahassee to discuss the issues surrounding the pipeline and its construction, why it is a danger for all affected communities, and to talk about actionable plans to fight the construction of this pipeline. For more information, click here.
December 8, 11:00 AM – Participate in a Rally to Support Senator Negron’s EAA Land Purchase Plan & Save the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge outside SFWMD Headquarters (3301 Gun Club Road) in West Palm Beach! For more information, contact Cris Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 11, 12:00 pm – Attend the Green Shopping Holiday Extravaganza! This Tallahassee Midtown crawl will feature two stops selling vintage collectibles, handmade upcycled crafts, recycled art, and eco-friendly gifts. Live music, an alternative gift wrapping workshop, and an organic wine tasting will also be part of the festivities! Proceeds from this event will benefit youth programming for ReThink Energy Florida and The Sharing Tree. For more information, 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 email@example.com.
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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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 70 conservation organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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