Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “Upset that the [ERC] voted 3-2 this year to increase levels of water contaminants when it was short two members, state Sen. Linda Stewart filed a bill seeking to avoid such short-handed votes in the future...[The bill] would require the governor to fill vacancies on the [ERC] within 90 days. The bill would also require a supermajority of five votes to alter certain areas of the Florida Administrative Code that deal with things like air pollution, water quality standards, hazardous substance release notification, and drinking water.” Read Linda Stewart files bill to stop short-handed contamination votes
Fred Hiers reports for the Daily Commercial – “Two years after St. Johns River Water Management District staffers warned Sleepy Creek Lands LLC that they would recommend that the district board deny the cattle operation’s request for more water, those staffers have now made an about-face and recommended approval – and then some…They said the change would have minimal impact on Silver Springs and the Silver River. Environmentalists say the staff change of heart is a result of pressure from the wealthy applicant and political urging from higher ups. ‘The spring can’t take this,’ said Robert Knight, director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute…and president of the Silver Springs Alliance…” Read St. Johns staff now recommends approval of water request
Bob Knight writes for the Ocala Star Banner – “District staff, several of whom were promptly fired after the release of the negative technical staff report, concluded that significant harm would occur to the natural environment at Silver Springs if the district gave away more groundwater…Grass in Marion County…grows just fine with rainfall and without irrigation. The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board should side with the original recommendations of its technical staff, with the public will, and with iconic Silver Springs, and not issue another groundwater extraction permit…Consider attending the district’s Governing Board meeting in Palatka on Jan. 10…Be sure to bring your children and grandchildren.” Read Stronach’s 14-billion-gallon water grab
Jim Saunders reports for The News Service of Florida – “In a victory for business groups, an administrative law judge…ruled that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection overstepped its authority in proposing new requirements for notifying the public when pollution occurs…While Canter sided with the business groups, the issue of public notification of pollution incidents could re-emerge during the 2017 legislative session…Sen. Bill Galvano…and Rep. Kathleen Peters…indicated in September that they would propose legislation to address the issue.” Read Judge Tosses Pollution Notification Rule
Sean Kinane reports for WMNF – “WMNF News interviewed Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity… ‘…[W]e had that New Wales sinkhole…and that was actually the 4th sinkhole…in that one phosphogypsum stack and we have 24 other phosphogypsum stacks…containing 1-billlion tons of radioactive phosphogypsum. Now, with this additional 50,000 acres of expansion…that has the potential to add almost an additional half-billion tons of phosphogypsum…On January 26, the Manatee Board of Commissioners is going to consider a rezone request, by Mosaic…for…3,500 acres…to be rezoned from agriculture to extraction…[P]ortions of the mine are going to be in sensitive areas, including…the Peace River Watershed Overlay District…[Mosaic has] promised that the (polluted) water is contained, on site, but, the reality is there’s really no way to know that, because that area hasn’t been mapped.” Read Environmentalists will sue if Corps permits Florida phosphate mining
The Naples Herald reports – “[The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee]…will receive a series of presentations (on January 11) about polluted water discharges from Lake Okeechobee and efforts to restore the Everglades.” Read Senators Ready to Wade Into Lake Okeechobee Issues
Greg Stanley reports for the Naples Daily News – “Everglades City has hired an engineering firm to restore and reconstruct its failing wastewater treatment plant’s collection system and, eventually, replace the plant itself…City and Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials met early this month in mediation over a lawsuit regarding the plant.” Read Everglades City makes plans to fix wastewater treatment plant, end dispute with state
Katrina Elsken reports for Okeechobee News – “[W]aterways were…dug, straightened or deepened for navigation, transportation and most critically, for flood control…The interior waterway proved valuable during World War II, when German submarines sunk countless merchant ships along the Atlantic coast… ‘The C&SF Project had three main components. First, it established a perimeter levee through the eastern portion of the Everglades…Second, the…Project designed a large area of northern Everglades, south of Lake Okeechobee, to be managed for agriculture…Third, water conservation became the primary designated use for most of the remaining Everglades between the EAA and Everglades National Park…” Read Drainage system may have been a good idea at the time, but was it?
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
January 3, 12:00 pm – Join the Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center (99 NW 1st Avenue) in High Springs. January’s lecture is on Springs Biology. For more information, click here.
January 11, 12:45 – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library Community Room. John Wilchyski will talk about the Butterfly Works farm and Maia McGuire, from the University of Florida, will discuss micro-plastics. Maia will bring microscopes so the audience can see what is in their drinking water. For more information, and to RSVP, contact 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 14, 3:30 PM – Attend Earth2Trump Roadshow of Resistance in St. Petersburg. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
January 15, 1:00 PM – Attend Earth2Trump Roadshow of Resistance in Saint Augustine. For more information and to RSVP, 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 7, 12:00 pm – Join the Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center (99 NW 1st Avenue) in High Springs. February’s lecture is on Springs Stresses: Groundwater Pumping, Fertilizers, Wastewater Disposal, & Recreation. For more information, click here.
February 9-11 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference: Land Conservation: The Worth of the Earth at the University of Florida. 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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