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Tom Palmer writes for The Ledger – “It’s a new year and time to set some priorities for the environment. At the top of the list is to become more involved and become informed about local environmental work in any way that fits your talents or interests…[E]veryone should resolve to get outdoors more often to better appreciate what’s at stake…Environmental land preservation as Florida voters approved in the 2014 election continues to be a priority. Critics of environmental land protection often ask how much preservation is enough. The answer, according to eminent biologist E.O. Wilson, is half of the total area…We’re not there yet. In this part of Florida the top priority is to complete the connections between existing conservation lands and to fill missing pieces within other conservation lands to allow them to be managed better to protect globally endangered species that are part of our local heritage.” Read Getting officials to act on the environment means getting involved
Ron Littlepage writes for The Florida Times Union – “[I]s there a shortage of beef?...[W]hat’s missing from the Silver River and Silver Springs?…[T]he answer is…water…What in the name of good sense is the St. Johns River Water Management District thinking?..[T]he members of the district’s governing board are getting ready to allow a Canadian billionaire to pump an average of 2.68 million gallons of water a day out of the aquifer that supplies the river and springs…He and his Sleepy Creek Lands outfit want to raise…grass-fed cows…The water management district board will meet Tuesday at its Palatka headquarters to take up the Sleepy Creek permit. Before that, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Florida Springs Institute, the Sierra Club Suwannee-St. Johns Group, the Putnam County Environmental Council and the Florida Defenders of the Environment will demonstrate and urge the governing board to say no…[T]he board will…come down in favor of the billionaire. That’s not going to change until there is a new governor in Florida who appoints people to the water management districts who are serious about protecting the state’s natural resources.” Read More water for cows – and more bull from our officials
Mary Ellen Klas reports for The Tampa Bay Times – “Negron…is amassing Senate support for budgeting $800 million for land and construction costs. The Senate is drafting a bill and will conduct a wide-ranging hearing Jan. 11 on his key issue. The proposal would fast-track a project proposed in 2000 under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)…Rep. Carlos Trujillo…who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, asks whether simply buying land is the best approach but said ‘everything’s a negotiation.’ If the Senate gives the House what it wants, such as ‘full-blown pension reform and (education) vouchers, then 50,000 acres in the Everglades is a no-brainer,’ he said. ‘But we’ll see where we end up.’…Negron is willing to be flexible on which parcels of land to buy and is not prepared to tap the state’s eminent domain powers…One proposal being considered is for the state to set up a bid process to find willing sellers…Conservationists, politicians and scientists are meeting…for the annual Everglades Coalition conference to focus support on the lad-buying plan. The goal is to mobilize constituents in key legislative districts to pressure lawmakers to support the Negron plan…Sen. Rob Bradley…who chairs the Senate subcommittee developing the bill, also supports the governor’s proposal to turn septic systems into sewer systems and the water management district’s call for storage north of the lake.” Read Everglades restoration: Debate rages over plan to spend $800 million to build a massive water cleaning reservoir
The Ledger’s Editorial Board writes – “After Canter’s ruling, the governor’s spokesman told The News Service of Florida that Scott was prepared to fight for legal changes that will ensure the 24-hour deadline remains in place. We recommend that he do so…The groups that sought to overturn this requirement, meanwhile, would be wise to work with the governor and reform-minded lawmakers to create a notification mechanism that aligns with Scott’s goal, without being overly onerous to companies. Their failure to do so would signal to the public that transparency and the well-being of Florida’s residents and environment take a back seat to profits and secrecy.” Read Despite ruling, pollution reporting policy is worthy and must be maintained
The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “Making sure the public is alerted promptly to pollution belongs among legislators’ priorities when they convene for their annual 60-day session…At least three legislators, including freshman Sen. Linda Stewart, have announced plans to introduce bills…Stewart, an Orlando Democrat who campaigned as an environmental advocate, hasn’t wasted any time. That’s commendable, and a good example for other officeholders to follow through on their platforms, too…Sen. Bill Galvano…and Rep. Kathleen Peters…have said they’ll work together on a pollution-notification requirement. Because [they] are Republicans…their efforts are likely to gain more traction than Stewart’s…A new law also needs teeth – significant penalties for violators – to ensure it isn’t ignored.” Read Pollution alerts ASAP: There ought to be a Florida law
Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today – “Federal regulators denied six pending permits for using high-powered airguns to scan the ocean floor for signs of oil and gas deposits from Florida to Delaware. The permits were no longer needed because the federal government removed those waters from the list of areas available to be leased for oil and gas exploration between 2017 and 2022…Conservation groups worry the airguns could harm whales, dolphins and other marine life.” Read Feds deny seismic airgun testing for oil and gas
Daniel Peterson writes for Florida Today – “One solution to halt the effect of devastating releases is to build large reservoirs to store and purify…waters before they can pollute the estuaries or the Everglades…Experts…agree one million acre-feet of water storage is needed and requires several large reservoirs. They agree these reservoirs are needed all around Lake Okeechobee…[T]he most effective reservoirs would be north of the Lake. After all, if you enter your kitchen and see your sink about to overflow, the first step is to turn off the faucet, not figure out how to catch overflowing water. Future decisions regarding Everglades restoration should be based on...cost-benefit…[T]he South Florida Water Management District considered the utilization of a…parcel south of Lake Okeechobee as a site for a reservoir and determined it was not a fiscally responsible solution.” Read Plan to divert Lake Okeechobee water simplistic, too limited
Katrina Elsken writes for Okeechobee News – “Has South Florida’s bovine population been cast as the scapegoats, unfairly blamed for the excess phosphorus in runoff that enters Lake Okeechobee?” Read Are cattle just a scapegoat for water quality problems?
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.
Upcoming Environmental Events
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 11, 6:00 PM – Attend Ales and Wild Tails with Shark Expert Eric Hovland in Sait Petersburg. For more information, click here.
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 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 email@example.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 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.
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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