Jim Gross writes for The Gainesville Sun – “I’m tired of government agencies talking about our water resources crisis as a future problem…The crisis is now. But the fix isn’t near if we continue talking about the problem as a future crisis…The Suwannee and St. Johns River water management districts recently unveiled their draft North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan…We must put a ceiling on overall pumping form the aquifer if we intend to protect our freshwater resources. If we are committed to protecting the minimum flows and levels that have already been established, the ceiling must be lower than what we are pumping today…[M]anagement strategies are meaningless in the absence of a ceiling. The draft…Plan does not identify a ceiling…now or in the future, much less recommend one…Water is a finite resource. We must quit pretending otherwise. This draft plan does little to dispel the myth that Florida has unlimited freshwater at hand.” Read Regional plan doesn’t hold water
Ron Littlepage writes for the Florida Times Union – “[The Ocklawaha River], which is the largest tributary of the St. Johns River, hasn’t been free flowing for a half century because of a monumental environmental mistake and the stubbornness of bass anglers who have had the ear of weak-kneed politicians for years…Because of that dam…more than 20 springs are covered by the pool’s often stagnant water and the St. Johns is losing an estimated 185 million gallons of freshwater a day that it desperately needs to become a healthy river. Every governor since Reuben Askew, with the exception of the current governor, has wanted the dam removed. Federal officials have said the same thing…The Rodman dam extends for 7,200 feet with about 2,800 feet of that sitting on land that is part of the Ocala National Forest. The permit the state received from the U.S. Forest Service for the dam expired in 1998, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has not had it renewed. The litigation seeks to have the dam removed from the Forest Service property…[F]ormer Gov. Buddy MacKay and Estus Whitfield, who has served as an environmental adviser to [five] Florida governors were at the news conference to lend their support as were representatives of Audubon Florida and the Save the Manatee Club.” Read It’s time to stop the Rodman dam nonsense
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “[A] driver ran over a Florida panther, breaking the all-time record for how many of the endangered cats have been killed by vehicles. The new record is now 31…Biologists found the…carcass of a 2-year-old female panther on State Road 29 in Collier County… ‘She was breeding age,’ state panther team leader Darrell Land said…Tuesday’s fatality…brings the total number of panther deaths for the year to 39. The others were killed by other panthers or died of other causes – for instance, being orphaned before being old enough…[Panthers] have lost habitat not just to suburban sprawl, but also to the creation of Florida Gulf Coast University and the town of Ava Maria.” Read Florida Panther killed on highway sets grisly new record
Skyler Swisher reports for the Sun Sentinel – “The proposed sale of taxpayer-owned farmland west of Delray Beach has been put on hold amid concerns from environmentalists. Palm Beach County commissioners…delayed action on the deal involving 571 acres jointly owned by the county and the South Florida Water Management District. The land is in the Agricultural Reserve, a…farming region where taxpayers have spent $100 million to save open space…[C]ounty commissioners…wanted to meet with the district’s board to discuss placing further conservation restrictions on the land…Environmentalists argue that by selling the land to a private buyer, conservation restrictions could be voided in the future…The water management district could sue to force a sale…Environmentalists said the county should consider purchasing the property outright.” Read Palm Beach County puts hold on sale of preserved farmland west of Delray Beach
Heather Smith reports for Grist – “[T]he GOP [is] financially dominated by fossil fuel oligarchs…but it’s also filled with people who think that renewable energy is about as conservative as you can get. And that suggests there are ripe opportunities for bipartisan cooperation on clean power – especially in states where it can provide a big boost to the economy…Lesson 2: Sometimes it’s not helpful to mention climate change…” Read Florida protects solar: 5 lessons to learn from a major green energy win
Bob Palmer writes for the Gainesville Sun – “In a recent column, Michael Dukes rejects John Moran’s call for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to advocate for irrigation-free, fertilizer-free urban landscape. ‘UF/IFAS dos not make public policy,’ wrote Dukes, the implication being that IFAS is a purely scientific entity fulfilling the needs of the public and the policies set by the state’s political leaders…IFAS had no problem advising the Alachua County Commission to change its laws and regulations to satisfy Plum Creek, a deal which might have profited IFAS.” Read Advocacy for Profit
Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton report for The New York Times – “President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency…Mr. Pruitt…has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies…Mr. Trump cannot unilaterally cancel [The Clean Power Plan], which were released under the 1970 Clean Air Act. But a legally experienced E.P.A. chief could substantially weaken, delay or slowly take them apart…As attorney general, Mr. Pruitt created a “federalism” unit in his office, explicitly designed to fight President Obama’s health care law and environmental regulations. ‘You could see from him an increasing effort to delegate environmental regulations away from the federal government and towards the states,’ said Ronald Keith Gaddie, a professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma…As attorney general, Mr. Pruitt took the unusual step of jointly filing an antiregulatory lawsuit with industry players…Behind the scenes, he was taking campaign contributions from many of the industry players on his team… ‘At a time when climate change is the great environmental threat to the entire planet, it is sad and dangerous that Mr. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt to lead the E.P.A.,’ said Senator Bernie Sanders…, who sits on the committee that must confirm him. ‘…I will vigorously oppose this nomination.’” Read Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A.
Tom Philpott writes for Mother Jones – “Ebell directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The group runs a website…that exists to downplay the health and ecological impacts of chemicals…The EPA has been in the middle of a long, slow review of [neonicotinoids]...[and] is committed to…intervening to restrict their use if they harm honeybees. If the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s view of things holds sway, expect very little, if any, action to come from the effort.” Read Trump’s Top Environmental Adviser Says Pesticides Aren’t Bad for You
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
December 15, 12:00 pm – Participate in 1000 Friends of Florida’s FREE webinar: Lake Pickett North: A Citizen Advocacy Success Story. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners’ vote on November 15 to deny a massive proposed development outside of the Urban Services Area provided a major victory both for the environment and for the citizen advocates who led the charge. For more information and to register, click here.
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.
January 29, 10:00 AM – Attend Southwest Florida Veg Fest in Fort Myers. For more information, click here.
February 15, 12:00 pm – Participate in 1000 Friends of Florida’s FREE webinar: Implementing Water 2070: Water Conservation Planning for Florida Communities. Dr. Pierce Jones, Director of the University of Florida’s Program for Resource Efficient Communities, will discuss water conservation planning for Florida’s communities based on a series of studies he’s conducted on behalf of the Toho Water Authority, Envision Alachua (Plum Creek), and other local governments, developers, and water authorities. For more information and to register, click here.
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