FCC News Brief - January 18, 2017

Jerry Iannelli reports for Miami New Times – “Over the weekend, hundreds of peaceful protesters picketed and chanted in Suwannee County. They demanded that…energy companies building the $3 billion (Sabal Trail) pipeline…reconsider their actions. But today…police arrested demonstrators after a small group handcuffed itself at the pipeline’s current construction site…[Before this,] a group of protesters sat cross-legged while reading excerpts from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech…On November 12, more than a dozen anti-pipeline activists wound up in police custody after one protester locked himself inside a tanker truck outside Gainesville…Spectra…has a long documented history of environmental accidents in Florida.” Read Video: Cops Arrest Sabal Trail protesters Handcuffed to Pipeline

Susan Washington reports for the Saint Peters Blog – “The first-ever long-range plan for water use in a vast, North Florida region – home to around 1.5 million people in 14 counties…was approved…in a joint meeting of the governing boards of two water management districts…Some…criticized the water plan during the public comment portion of the meeting, prior to the boards’ unanimous approval of the plan. Dr. Robert Knight, the founder and director of the Florida Springs Institute, cited a reduction of as much of 40 percent in water flow for some rivers in the region – including Silver Springs and the Suwannee River – and urged a halt to all new permitting for water use. ‘We are not protecting the natural environment as we are required to do by law,’ said Knight, a wetlands ecologist who was previously employed by each of the two districts.” Read North Florida water managers OK first-ever longterm usage, supply plan

Jerry Iannelli reports for the Miami New Times – “[E]nvironmentalists are concerned that Florida Power & Light…wants to dump full-on radioactive waste into…the Boulder Zone…Citizens Allied for Safe Energy (CASE) tried to stop FPL’s plan, but their legal petition was shot down…According to NRC documents, CASE’s petition was dismissed for being filed ‘inexcusably late’ in FPL’s application process. ‘This was thrown out on procedural grounds,’ says CASE’s president… ‘The science is still there.’” Read FPL Wins Battle to Store Radioactive Waste Under Miami’s Drinking Water Aquifer

Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “The Sierra Club asked the Florida Supreme Court…to block a…rate hike by Florida Power & Light…arguing that regulators violated state law when they failed to determine if a billion-dollar expansion of gas-powered power plants is needed…The Florida chapter of the Sierra Club and AARP…[argued] that if the utility giant stopped fighting the expansion of rooftop solar and other alternative forms of energy, its customers would save money and FPL could wean 70 percent of its fleet from its dependence on climate-change-inducing fossil fuels…FPL relies on gas for 70 percent of its electricity generation and Sierra Club and other environmental groups argue that the company has tried to suppress conservation and competition from rooftop solar because it makes a profit off of building new plants, but can’t profit off conservation or competition.” Read Rate hike on FPL bills? Sierra Club says not so fast, files suit to block it

Scott Maxwell writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “Graham seems more committed to public service while out of office than many politicians seem while in it…Graham…is one of the most popular elected officials in Florida history. As governor, his approval rankings never dropped below 74 percent – something unheard of in modern times. He left office at 83 percent. Sunshine, puppy dogs and hugs from grandma would have trouble combining to fetch 83 percent. Barack Obama never got close…Rick Scott has struggled to get out of the 40s…Graham…believes the environment may be Florida’s next great rallying point. I believe he’s right.” Read 30 years later, Bob Graham keeps crusading

Matthew Brown and Matthew Daly report for the Associated Press – “In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government’s most powerful conservation tools…Over the past eight years, GOP lawmakers sponsored dozens of measures aimed at curtailing the landmark law or putting species such as gray wolves and sage grouse out of its reach…Bishop (House Natural Resource Committee Chairman) said he ‘would love to invalidate’ the law…[There are] two critics of the law holding key Senate leadership positions – Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso as the incoming chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski as chairwoman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources…Simply by striking a few key words from the law, it could be transformed from a tool to protect huge areas of habitat for imperiled species into little more than limits on hunting for protected animals, said J.B. Ruhl, a Vanderbuilt University law professor considered a leading expert on the act. Trump’s position is unclear.” Read Republicans Plan to Roll Back Parts of the Landmark Endangered Species Act

Public News Service reports – “A new report from the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments looks at the role nurses can play in combatting the impacts of climate change, which in Florida include sea-level rise, increased floods and hurricanes, and problems with mosquito populations…The report urges nurses to reduce their own carbon footprint, help their communities prepare for climate change-related emergencies, and campaign to include education about climate change and its health effects in the university curricula for nursing degrees.” Read Nurses Commit to Protecting Climate, Environment

Kevin Robinson reports for the Pensacola News Journal – “A new task force tasked with studying local climate change issues will hold its first meeting this month…[T]he task force will spend the next year researching the possible impacts of climate change, talking to citizens and experts and planning steps for the future. Similar committees have been created in South Florida cities and counties, across the U.S. and in other nations. Members of the local task force will include a diverse group of members from organizations like Gulf Power, the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, the University of West Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation and environmental group Emerald Coastkeeper.” Read City of Pensacola task force tackling climate change





From Our Readers

The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.



Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Prevent the Loss of One of Florida’s Most Popular National Wildlife Refuges

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Stop the Division of Herky Huffman/Bull Creek WMA 2016

Now or Neverglades Declaration

Ask the SFWMD to deny the permit for the Crosstown Parkway that cuts through TWO State Preserves

Save the Econlockhatchee River!

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Ask the USACE to reject Harbor Sound application to fill wetlands

Paynes Prairie in danger

Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U . S . A . from Development

Deny Beruff’s Mitigation Bank Permit

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state



Upcoming Environmental Events

January 18, 12:00 PM – Participate in 1000 Friends of Florida’s Free Webinar: 2017 Florida Legislative Preview. Learn about key community planning and conservation bills to be considered during the 2017 legislative session and how they could impact state and local governance in Florida. For more information and to register, click here.

January 18, 12:00 pm Attend ReThink Energy Florida’s monthly Lunch-and-Learn at the Leon County Library, Dr. BL Perry Branch (2817 S Adams St) in Tallahassee. This month’s discussion will focus on “Good News!” and cover the wins and advances made on behalf of Florida’s environment which came out of the successes of recent elections across the state.

January 18, 1:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the Sarasota Solar Co-op at Venice Community Center in Venice. To register, click here.

January 19, 5:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the Sarasota Solar Co-op at Selby Library in Sarasota. To register, click here.

January 19, 7:00 PM – Attend Audubon Society Meeting and talk on “Florida’s Grandest State Parks: Values and Threats” at the FSU King Life Science Building (319 Stadium Drive) in Tallahassee.

January 20, 8:00 AM – Attend the State of Biscayne Bay Restoration Workshop in Miami. For more information and to register, click here.

January 21, 10:30 AM – Attend Solar: Unlimited Energy for the Sunshine State at the Homosassa Library (4100 S. Grandmarch Ave) in Homosassa. For more information, contact Nancy Kost at (352) 628- 0698 or nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

January 22, 11:00 AM – Attend the Red Hills Fire Festival in Tallahassee. The festival will include wagon rides, wildlife, live prescribed fire, equipment demonstrations, fire talks with experts, kids activities, food trucks, and live music. For more information, contact Brian Wiebler at (850) 363 – 1079 or click here.

January 23, 12:00 pm – Rally to protest the Sabal Trail Pipeline and the regulatory agencies who have approved the flawed Environmental Impact Statement relating to the pipeline. The rally will be at the Florida State Capitol (400 South Monroe St) in Tallahassee. For more information, click here.

January 25, 5:30 pm – Join ReThink Energy Florida at a party to celebrate the shared victory of defeating November’s anti-solar Amendment One. The party will be held at the Clean Energy Technology Center (3954 W Pensacola St) in Tallahassee. Say you’ll attend here.

January 26, 6:00 PM – Attend the Public Hearing on the Gulf Power Rate Increase at Pensacola State College Hagler Auditorium in Pensacola. For more information, reach out to 350 Pensacola at (850) 687 – 9968, 350pensacola@gmail.com, or 350 Pensacola’s Facebook page.

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 28, 10:00 AM – Attend a free Solar Information Meeting of the Space Coast Solar Co-op in Palm Bay. For more information and to register, click here.

January 29, 10:00 AM – Attend Southwest Florida Veg Fest in Fort Myers. For more information, click here.

January 29, 6:00 PM – Attend The Nile Project at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. The show takes the audience on a journey up and down the Nile River basin through vibrant, joyful and original music that combines the traditions of 11 countries along the river. The Nile Project’s mission is to, ‘…empower the citizens of the Nile basin to foster the sustainability of the Nile River’s ecosystem. For more information, click here. To buy tickets, click here. Limited Supply Offer for FCC News Brief Readers: Use Promo Code “Water” for 25% off tickets!

February 4, 9:00 AM – Attend and/or volunteer at Energy Whiz in Tallahassee. This is an annual competition for elementary and middle school students to demonstrate their S.T.E.M. knowledge and skills as they relate to energy topics such as solar thermal, photovoltaics, and hydrogen technology. For more information, click here.

February 6, 7:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the East Broward County Solar Co-op at Art Serve in Fort Lauderdale. To register, 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 7, 7:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the West Broward County Solar Co-op at Broward County Government Center West in Plantation. To register, click here.

February 8, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. The guest speaker is Margaret Stewart, Esq., Associate Director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence. Margaret will discuss Florida’s current water laws, how they’re enforced, and why they are insufficient. RSVP to resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

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.

February 15, 6:30 pm – Attend Troubled Waters: Tallahassee Screening and Panel Discussion at the Challenger Learning Center IMAX (200 South Duval St, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Florida’s waterways are suffering from significant pollution problems. Combined with the impacts from a rapidly growing population, we have a potential recipe for disaster. The documentary will be shown (48) minutes and followed by a panel discussion featuring Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper; Sarah Owen Gledhill, Florida Wildlife Federation; and Ryan Smart, 1000 Friends of Florida. For more information and your FREE tickets, 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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