Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “An appeals court ruled…the South Florida Water Management District doesn’t need a federal permit to “back pump” water into Lake Okeechobee. The 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York counters a May 2014 ruling by a district court judge that moving water from one body of water to another, which includes back pumping, without a federal permit violates the federal Clean Water Act…Tania Galloni (managing attorney for the Florida office of Earthjustice) [said,] ‘This ruling allows polluted water to flow, unregulated, into Lake Okeechobee, where it contributes to toxic algae outbreaks…The lawsuit originally was filed by fishing clubs in New York. Earthjustice ‘bundled’ the lawsuit with cases from Florida, California, New Hampshire and Colorado.” Read Court panel Oks back pumping into Lake Okeechobee without federal permit
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “The ruling stems from a decades-long battle by the Miccosukee Tribe and environmentalists to stop water managers from moving water from one body of water to another – for supplies, flood control or other purposes – without first obtaining a federal pollution permit… ‘They are using the public works that taxpayers pay for to spread pollution around, and that’s not right,’ Tania Galloni…said…The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…issued a memo in 2005 saying Congress never intended for water moved from place to place to be subject to pollution permitting…Over the years, the district has argued that getting permits for [its] massive grid, with hundreds of pumps and floodgates would be a bureaucratic nightmare. It also argued that some pumps were installed before the Clean Water Act and should therefore be grandfathered in.” Read Court reinstates EPA rule to allow pumping dirty water unchecked
Jim Rosica reports for Florida Politics – “Jon Steverson, the Secretary of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Rick Scott, has resigned.” Read Jon Steverson resigns as DEP secretary
Jack Payne writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “Your parents were wrong: Money does grow on trees. Tampa Bay rakes up tens of millions of dollars from its urban forest annually. Leafy canopies lower summer air conditioning bills…and trees contribute to lower asthma rates and birth defects by removing air pollutants.” Read On Florida Arbor Day, money does grow on trees
Dale White reports for the Herald Tribune – “If Florida’s population continues to grow, the state’s drinking water supplies could be 1 billion gallons a day short of meeting the demand by 2030, a [Sen. Latvala] warned…Floridians should not ‘wake up one day in 2030’ and realize the opportunity to ‘build significant water infrastructure’ has passed, State Rep. Ben Albritton…said…Latvala, Albritton and other speakers agreed that the Peace River Manasota authority sets an example that other regions in the state need to follow…Today, the regional authority has become instrumental in connecting public utilities so water can be shared through the four-county region – especially in times of emergencies…[T]he Southwest Florida district has the lowest per-capita consumption of water in the state. About 42 percent of potable water in the district gets reused…Recycling has also come with the benefit of reducing ground water withdrawals to counter salt water intrusion in the aquifer…” Read Collaboration needed to counter looming water shortage
The Associated Press reports – “Monroe County commissioners…approved interim elevation standards for future county road projects to account for rising sea levels. Commissioners also ordered an analysis of all 300 miles of county roads in the Keys to identify those at the greatest risk for tidal flooding. The county estimates almost half its roads could be affected by flooding by 2030 if sea levels rise up to 7 inches.” Read Keys officials make plans to adapt roads to rising seas
CBS/AP reports – “Donald Trump’s choice to head the Interior Department…rejected the president-elect’s past claim that climate change is a hoax…Zinke…sketched out a variety of purposes for the nation’s vast federal lands, from hiking, hunting, fishing and camping to harvesting timber and mining for coal and other energy sources…Zinke also pledged to tackle an estimated $12 billion backlog in maintenance and repair at national parks, saying parks and other public lands should be a key part of Trump’s infrastructure improvement plan…Zinke has said he would never sell, give away or transfer public lands…Even so, [Zinke]…voted in favor of a measure from House Republicans that would allow federal land transfers to be considered cost-free and budget-neutral, making it easier for drilling and development…[Utah’s] Republican delegation fiercely opposes the (Bears Ears) monument… ‘I think a monument, when it falls in a state, I think the state should have a say on it,’ Zinke said.” Read Interior nominee Ryan Zinke doesn’t believe climate change is hoax
Alan Rappeport, Coral Davenport, and John Schwartz report for The New York Times – “-Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, nominated to be Energy Secretary, said he no longer wants to eliminate the department. -Mr. Perry also reversed an early position and said he now believed that humans had contributed to climate change…For those who remember the Nixon years, this might be called a ‘nondenial denial:’ It moves the nominees from Mr. Trump’s much-criticized statement that climate change was a Chinese-created hoax…Peter C. Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientsits, said the cabinet selections were engaged in ‘mischaracterization of scientific uncertainty to avoid accepting the urgency of reducing emissions…’” Read 8 Highlights from the Confirmation Hearings
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
January 22, 11:00 AM – Attend the Red Hills Fire Festival in Tallahassee. For more information, contact Brian Wiebler at (850) 363 – 1079 or click here. – This event has been CANCELLED.
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, email@example.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: For a limited time, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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