Ron Cunningham writes for The Gainesville Sun – “Listen, this is no place for sissies…Still, now that we’ve remade Florida in our own image…you’d think things would calm down a little bit. But it just keeps getting scarier…Something’s killing pelicans in St. Pete…Eighty one false killer whales just beached themselves off Everglades National Park…Flying, flesh-eating maggots have been consuming tiny Keys deer from the inside out. Now the screwworms have jumped to the mainland…Last year, four people died of bacterial infections just from taking a dip in Florida’s waters…5,000-plus humans slaughtered in the last decade just for walking on Florida roads does seem a steep toll for the convenience of driving to…wherever as quickly as possible…” Read Florida just keeps getting scarier
Teresa Stepzinski reports for The Florida Times Union – “The long-term survival of the iconic Florida panther might hinge on re-introducing the endangered species to North Florida’s public lands… ‘We’ve got a lot of public land and open space available that was historically used by the Florida panther in the Okefenokee and Pinhook Swamp area,’ [Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity] said of the area near the Florida-Georgia state line…[T]here needs to be a population elsewhere with the potential for genetic exchange with the South Florida population… ‘The Okefenokee area would be a great destination because…[it] has excellent prey sources like wild hogs and deer,’…[T]he people of Florida would have to tell the state and federal government they want the panther population expanded…[I]mmediate protection should include keeping public lands free of development as well as industrial activities…Private landowners who keep their property undeveloped therefore preserving wildlife habitat should be recognized…The Humane Society is calling on state officials to invest in more wildlife crossing structures and habitat conservation…The Humane Society and Center for Biological Diversity are among the groups urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep panthers and manatees listed as endangered species with the full protections that entails…Florida should…[increase] the number of marine enforcement officers as a means of bolstering manatee protection…” Read Florida’s iconic panthers, manatees fall prey to man in increasing numbers
Tony Pugh reports for McClatchy DC – “Louella Phillips…will never forget the day…when she found her 8-year-old daughter sitting in a bathtub full of orange water with tiny brown rocks at the bottom…While it’s unlikely that the contaminated, radioactive water (from the sinkhole) made its way to Phillips’ home in the days after the spill, she isn’t so sure…Sydney Bacchus, a Georgia hydroecologist…said there’s ‘virtually zero’ chance that the (contaminated) water remains on site (at Mosaic). Don Rice, a Manatee County environmental activist and retired hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, agreed. They say the Floridan aquifer is full of fractures, caverns and cracks that can quickly shunt water like ‘underground superhighways,’…If Mosaic’s water testing wells aren’t located near these fractures in the aquifer, ‘the information they’re getting from monitoring wells is basically useless to determine the flow of migration of contaminants to offsite locations,’ Bacchus said…Mosaic wants to expand its phosphate mining operations…in eastern Manatee County…[T]he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must decide whether to grant a permit allowing mining on protected wetlands. And on January 26, the Manatee County Commission must decide whether to grant a zoning change that Mosaic needs for the project. Officials in…Hardee and DeSoto counties face similar decisions…” Read ‘I don’t know and I’m scared to death’
Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today – “Three nonprofit environmental groups are calling on the federal government to toss out Florida’s new water toxins rule as too weak, enlisting a North Carolina water pollution expert (Burkholder) to help make their case…DEP says the model it used…errs on the side of conservatism, a claim Burkholder doubts… ‘The model emphasized average adult Floridians. The conservative steps that were included fall far short of the overall conservative approach needed to protect the health of average adult Floridians, or the health of sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, immunocompromised people, and subsistence fishers. DEP’s probability lacked the information for many key parameters, Burkholder added… ‘Some were estimated based on little or no data about Florida waters or Floridians, and based on sparse data even at the national level…The groups also argue that Florida’s rule doesn’t meet the legal requirement that state waters be clean enough for their designated uses, suck as drinking, swimming, fishing, boating, and other recreation.” Read Environmentalists to EPA: Reject Fla.’s water toxins rule
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Jon Steverson, who for two stormy years has led the state Department of Environmental Protection…resigned…His two-page resignation letter makes no mention of the sinkhole, nor of Steverson’s other controversies involving his call to allow hunting and other moneymaking activities at state parks, his replacement of experienced people with inexperienced ones and his push for new water quality standards that allow more cancer-causing chemicals to be dumped into the state’s waterways. The state Senate at first refused to approve him for the post in 2015, but later relented.” Read DEP secretary Jon Steverson resigns after stormy 2-year tenure
7 News Miami reports – “[A] dog was found in Homestead with screwworms.” Read Stray dog found with screwworms in Homestead
Janet Taylor writes for the Florida Courier – “This month, the Everglades Coalition met at a fancy waterfront resort in Fort Myers… ‘SEND THE WATER SOUTH,’ they will demand…Well, we here in the Glades communities ARE the ‘South.’ We bear the brunt of this mindless scheme…We are the inconvenient truth. It’s our jobs that are lost…It’s our land that is seized.” Read Glades residents won’t be convenient victims
Katie Rife writes for AV Club – “Trump administration officials ordered the Department of the Interior to shut down the National Park Service Twitter account after the agency retweeted an image and a news story critical of Donald Trump…[T]he news story [was] about the…erasure of references to climate change…from the White House website.” Read National Park Service ordered to shut down Twitter account after anti-Trump retweets
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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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We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. Our hope is that you will use this information to more effectively and frequently contact your elected representatives, and add your voice to the growing chorus of Floridians concerned about the condition of our environment and the recent direction of environmental policies.
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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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