Michael Biesecker and Seth Borenstein report for the Associated Press – “The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. The communications director for President Donald Trump’s transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said…the review also extends to content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame…Asked specifically about scientific data collected by agency scientists, such as routine monitoring of air and water pollution, Ericksen responded, ‘Everything is subject to review.’…The agency also took a potential first step…toward killing environmental rules completed as President…Obama’s term wound down. At least 30 were targeted in the Federal Register for delayed implementation, including updated pollution rulings for several states, renewable fuel standards and limits on the amount of formaldehyde that can leach from wood products.” Read EPA Science Under Scrutiny by Trump Political Staff
Kate Payne reports for WFSU – “The 2011 growth management law shuttered the…Department of Community Affairs, and put the task in the hands of local governments. Measures to curb urban sprawl are gone, as are some requirements that new infrastructure, like schools and parks, go along with new development. And under the current system, the state isn’t checking to see if local government plans obey the law. Thomas Hawkins with the advocacy group 1000 Friends of Florida says the lack of oversight is endangering natural resources…In the upcoming legislative session, lawmakers will consider whether local control of development is undercutting statewide needs, like drinking water and the interstate system. Hawkins is also encouraging them to make it easier for community groups to challenge development plans.” Read Six Years After Sweeping Changes, Lawmakers Re-evaluating Growth Management
The News Service of Florida reports – “Pointing in part to water-quality problems in the Indian River Lagoon, a Brevard County House member…proposed (HB 285) requiring septic-tank inspections as part of the sales of homes and other types of real estate.” Read Septic Tank Inspections Sought as Part of Home Sale
Jim Turner reports for The News Service of Florida – “State Rep. Brad Drake…and Rep. Jay Fant…said Negron’s…proposal further floats most of the trust fund dollars to the south. ‘My great concern is that North Florida and North Central Florida are already derelict in receiving funds that is shared by the state for the environment,’ Fant said… ‘I just want us to be mindful of all of our Amendment 1 dollars, that they’re not all spent in one place…,’ Drake said…Negron has acknowledged that the money for his proposal…would have to come from other parts of the state budget. (Stand Up North Florida) Coalition members said in the current fiscal year, South Florida has received 75 percent of the trust-fund dollars, while 1.6 percent was directed toward the Suwannee River region, 4 percent to Northwest Florida, 4.4 percent to Southwest Florida and 14.4 percent to the St. Johns River region. Southerland said…‘South Florida receives the majority of these funds and that is not the way Amendment 1 was sold to Florida voters,’…” Read Lawmakers seek money for North Florida waterways
WCTV reports – “Governor Rick Scott has appointed Ryan Matthews as the Interim Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)…Ryan Matthews has been at DEP since 2015 serving as Director of the Office of Water Policy and Deputy Secretary of Regulatory Programs. Prior to joining DEP, Matthews served as the Associate Legislative Affairs Director for the Florida League of Cities.” Read Gov. Scott appoints Interim Secretary of DEP
Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Florida’s oil and gas industry swiftly let their opposition be known to a bill filed Tuesday by Sen. Dana Young…and Rep. Mike Miller that would ban oil and gas fracking in Florida.” Read Oil industry says it will oppose fracking ban
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Secretary Jon Steverson will leave his post after two stormy years in charge (of DEP), to take a new job with the law firm of Foley & Lardner…Foley & Lardner will take over representing Florida in handling the billions of dollars awarded to the state as a result of the…Deepwater Horizon disaster…The employee at Foley & Lardner who will handle those duties: Steverson’s predecessor…, former secretary Herschel Vinyard Jr…Until now, Florida’s representative on the council has been Mimi Drew, who served as DEP secretary for a year…Foley & Lardner…is also one of the firms the state is paying to handle its lawsuit against Georgia over water rights.” Read Florida DEP secretary Jon Steverson going to work for firm that just got new DEP contract
Philip Bump reports for The Washington Post – “There are few issues on which there’s a broader partisan split than the issue of climate change…In fact, there is no policy issue in Pew’s research where there’s a wider priority gulf between the two parties.” Read As Trump moves to revive pipelines, a reminder that climate change is the most partisan policy issue
Katie Reilly reports for TIME – “Badlands National Park posted several facts about climate change on its official Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, sharing statistics that might contradict the beliefs of President Donald Trump’s new administration…The tweets didn’t last long, and had been deleted by early Tuesday evening. The…tweets come after Trump’s administration enforced a social media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency…” Read A Rogue National Park is Tweeting Out Climate Change Facts in Defiance of Donald Trump
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.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 13, 6:00 pm – Attend Sun Power: What’s Next for Solar in Florida at the Kapnick Center Auditorium (4820 Bayshore Dr.) in Naples. This will be a panel presentation featuring Mary Dipboye, founder of Florida’s first solar co-op and a FLSUN advisory board member; Jim Henderson, president of a solar-powered business; and Chad Washburn, Deputy Director at Naples Botanical Garden, a LEED Gold Standard institution. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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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