FCC News Brief - October 17, 2017

Ali Schmitz reports for the TC Palm – “Up to $50 million in Amendment 1 money would be dedicated to Indian River Lagoon restoration under a bill [Rep. Gayle Harrell] filed Monday. HB 339… would require the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to use the money to create grants for projects in the so-called Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. Here are the types of projects that could be funded: - Ecosystem monitoring – Habitat restoration – Connecting septic systems to central sewer systems – Managing stormwater, freshwater and agricultural discharges. The two latter items would require local governments to match at least half the project cost… Negron supports plans to ‘fully implement’ Amendment 1, as long as lands purchased are accessible to the public…” Read Amendment 1 money for Indian River Lagoon would be dedicated under Gayle Harrell bill

The Ocala Star Banner Editorial Board writes – “When state environmental officials unveiled plans to significantly reduce the nitrogen levels in Silver and Rainbow springs five years ago, they immediately were greeted with skepticism because of the ambitious goals they set and the seemingly tepid methods they proposed for achieving those objectives… The goal for Silver Springs was to reduce nitrate levels in the springs to .35 mg per liter within 15 years, an eye-popping 72 percent reduction. The goal for Rainbow Springs was even more ambitious – reduce nitrates by 80 percent in the same 15 years to reach the same .35 mg/l… DEP officials are now conceding the plans for both Silver and Rainbow springs are inadequate and unlikely to get them to where they want to be in terms of nitrate levels in the springs and the rivers they feed within 15 years… DEP itself says that of the nitrates that foul our springs and rivers, about one-fourth comes from septic tanks and about 70 percent comes from agriculture and home fertilizer uses. In short, upgrading water treatment plants is well and good, but unless DEP aggressively moves to limit, if not ban, phosphate-based fertilizer use and develops a real and broad-scale farm waste management programs, achieving the BMAP goals will be impossible.” Read Clean-up plans for springs insufficient

Trimmel Gomes reports for the Public News Service – “Florida is starting to experience its own solar boom, and it’s the result of a growing grassroots movement teaching people how to make money off their roofs. A new report by the solar industry publication PV Magazine showed the Sunshine State leading the nation in solar growth, with a 110 percent increase in new residential solar permits granted last year over the previous year. Deirdre Macnab, solar chair at the League of Women Voters of Florida, said she credits the growth to the League’s statewide partnerships with co-ops… Macnab said cities across the state are now funding and hiring Solar United Neighbors of Florida coordinators to help organize community cooperatives to further lower the cost of solar installations for residents.” Read Report: Solar Permits Surge in Florida

Pierre Tristam reports for Flagler Live – “Rep. Paul Renner, who represents all of Flagler County in the state House and is in line to be the Speaker of the House in 2022, took criticism earlier this year for pushing bills that diminish or eliminate home rule – the political principle that local matters are best left for city and county governments to decide… [S]peaking on WNZF Radio’s Free for All Fridays…, Renner… [put] his philosophy in a larger context: state pre-emption will happen more and more in coming years because it reflects an ideological battle developing between a conservative state Legislature and more liberal urban centers such as Miami, St. Petersburg, Orlando and Jacksonville. All those cities have passed or tried to pass more progressive ordinances, whether to… require new homes to add solar panels, [or] forbid the sale of puppies from puppy mills… To Renner and the conservative Florida Legislature, the cities are going ‘rogue’ the moment they give room to liberal policies, whatever their constituency… [W]hen asked why not let local governments reflect what local constituents want, [Renner]… said… that voters don’t always understand issues or have time to get ordinances changed at the local level, implying that it then becomes a state responsibility to do so… Renner then mentioned several other instances of what he considers to be home-rule overreach that could invite state pre-emption… ‘[one] that banned the use of all plastics,’ in Renner’s words, though he was not entirely accurate: Coral Gables approved a ban on plastic bags only, and only single-use bags used at retailers… The bans are designed to address a growing crisis of plastics clogging and in some cases decimating ocean fisheries…” Read In Startling Avowal, Rep. Renner says State Will Attack Home Rule to Discipline “Rogue,” Leftist Cities

Timothy O’Hara reports for Keys News – “In the wake of Hurricane Irma, U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge managers… are reminding locals and tourists not to feed the Key deer… Several studies have shown that supplemental feeding is extremely unhealthy, especially for Key deer… The sudden and increased intake of grain and/or carbohydrates results in acidic conditions in a deer’s rumen or stomach. Known as “ruminal acidosis,” it kills the bacteria necessary for digestion and causes bloating, diarrhea, enteritis and even death… The Fish and Wildlife Service is… finding sufficient forage throughout the Key deer’s range… [F]orage is increasing as plants recover… The service encourages people to explain the health risks of feeding Key deer to people spotted doing it… Of the population of roughly 800 to 1,000 Key deer in the Lower Keys, 21 died as a result of Hurricane Irma, and five others died but it is undetermined if it was because of the storm… The Key deer have had a rough year. An infestation of New World screwworm last October led to the death of 135 Key deer, roughly 15 percent of the herd.” Read Don’t feed the deer

Jeff Clark reports for the Sun Herald – “The Coast Guard is responding to the report of a crude oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico… [T]he volume of oil released is estimated to be between 333,900 and 392,700 gallons.” Read Almost 400,000 gallons of oil spilled into Gulf of Mexico

John Henderson reports for the Panama City News Herald – “Seven years after the BP oil spill, Bay County – along with others on the Gulf Coast – has yet to receive millions of dollars promised to the Panhandle for projects to restore the region’s economy and environment.” Read 2010 oil spill funds remain elusive for coastal counties

Juliet Eilperin reports for The Washington Post – “The Interior Department is preparing to set aside a decades-old ban on development in federally protected wilderness areas by pursuing a controversial proposal to build a nearly 12- mile road through a wildlife refuge in Alaska. The project in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge has long been a priority for Alaska officials, who say it is a ‘lifesaving’ link needed to connect a remote Aleutian Islands town of 925 people with the rest of the state… Yet environmentalists, several native Alaskan tribes and other critics warn that the road could disrupt the habitats of a variety of animals… ‘If they can pull this off in Alaska, the entire Lower 48 is at risk,’ said Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark, whose group obtained documents detailing Interior’s efforts under the Freedom of Information Act. Those documents, primarily internal agency emails, reveal how much discussion is intentionally taking place out of public view… The one-lane stretch of gravel would bisect an expanse of tundra, lagoons and other waterways that provide a vital feeding ground for migrating birds as well as bears, caribou and other species… Multiple federal analyses have suggested alternatives to a new road – such as a marine ferry to replace the hovercraft residents go rid of several years go – as the preferred policy option… Congress directed Interior in 2009 to study whether it served the public interest to construct a road through the refuge. Four years later, the department produced an environmental-impact statement that concluded that the project should not be pursued because many species would be harmed...” Read Interior looks at behind-the-scenes land swap to allow road through wildlife refuge

 

 

 

From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Florida Digital Marketing Specialist for The Nature Conservancy

Staff Attorney in St. Petersburg for the Center for Biological Diversity

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

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Petitions

Save Endangered Sea Turtles from Drowning in Shrimp Trawls

Defend Attacks on the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

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

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Paynes Prairie in danger

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state

 

 

Upcoming Environmental Events    

October 18, 9:00 am – Attend the Broward County Delegation meeting at the Sunrise Civic Center (10610 West Oakland Park, Blvd) in Sunrise. You are encouraged to sign up to speak by October 15th by clicking here. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 12:00 pm – Attend 1000 Friends of Florida’s webinar: Implementing Florida 2070: Successful Local Conservation Ballot Measures in Florida. The Trust for Public Land’s Will Abberger and Pegeen Hanrahan will share proven strategies to assist Florida communities with the design and passage of local ballot measures to generate new public funds for parks and land conservation. For more information and to register, click here. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 1:00 pm – Attend the Sumter County Delegation meeting in the conference room of The Villages Sumter County Service Center (7375 Powell Rd) in Wildwood. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 4:00 pm – Attend the Clay County Delegation meeting on the 4th Floor of the Administration Building at 477 Houston Street in Green Cover Springs. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 6:30 pm – The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and the League of Women Voters of Orange County, Florida invite you to join us for an informational program on restoring the Wekiva River and Springs. Speakers include Dr. Robert Knight of FSI, Margaret Stewart of CEJ, and a panel discussion featuring local and state leaders on water initiatives for the upcoming 2018 legislative session. This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 with light refreshments served. For more information, and to register, click here.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Martin County Delegation meeting at Indian River State College Wolf High – Technology Center (2400 E. Salerno Road) in Stuart. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Collier County Delegation meeting at North Collier Regional Park (15000 Livingston Rd.) in Naples. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Charlotte County Delegation meeting at the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association (2001 Shreve St.) in Punta Gorda. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Manatee County Delegation meeting at the Manatee County Board of County Commission Chambers (1112 Manatee Ave W) in Bradenton. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 1:00 pm – Attend the Marion County Delegation meeting in the Klein Center at the College of Central Florida Auditorium (3001 SW College Rd) in Ocala. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 2:00 pm – Attend the St. Lucie County Delegation meeting at Indian River State College Kight Center for Emerging Technologies (3209 Virginia Avenue) in Fort Pierce. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 6:30 pm – Attend “Natural Treasures of the Florida Panhandle,” a presentation by Bruce Means, Coastal Plains Institute, at The King Life Sciences Building, FSU, in Tallahassee.

October 20, 9:00 am – Attend the St. Johns County Delegation meeting at the St. Johns County Auditorium in the County Administration Building (500 San Sebastian View) in St. Augustine. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 20, 10:00 am – Attend the Hendry County Delegation meeting at LaBelle City Hall (481 W. Hickpochee Ave.) in LaBelle. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 20, 4:00 pm – Attend the Flagler County Delegation meeting at the City of Palm Coast Council Chamber (160 Lake Ave) in Palm Coast. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 21, 1:00 pm – Attend a Legislative Training Workshop hosted by the Sierra Club-Suwannee-St. John’s Group, the League of Women Voters of Citrus County, and the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee at the Dunnellon Public Library (20351 Robinson Road) in Dunnellon. Attendance is free, limited to the first 50 people to register. Panelists for Q&A include: Florida Senator Charlie Dean, Bob Palmer, PhD, former Staff Director of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives; Brain Coleman, Citrus County Board of County Commissioners; Dave Cullen, Sierra Club lobbyist; Walter Green, Dunnellon Mayor; Whitey Markle, Chair of Sierra Club Suwannee St-Johns group; and Nathan Whitt, former Dunnellon Mayor. For more information, contact Kathryn Taubert at kataubert@gmail.com.

October 28, 11:30 am – Join the Silver Springs Alliance for a scavenger hunt as you paddle this iconic waterway in Silver Springs.  Channel the spirits of Florida's river past by dressing up in a costume that reflects Florida's cultural heritage: Spanish conquistadors, pioneers, steamboat travelers, or movie characters from the Spring's film legacy!  Be creative and win a prize in our costume contest! All ages are welcome! Proceeds from this event will support the Silver Springs Alliance’s efforts to protect Silver Springs and River. For more information and to register, click here.

October 30, 4:00 pm – Attend the Nassau County Delegation meeting at the Nassau County Commission Chamber (96135 Nassau Place, Suite 1) in Yulee. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 30, 5:30 pm – Attend the Leon County Delegation meeting at the Leon County Board of County Commission Chambers (5th Floor of the Leon County Courthouse at 301 S Monroe St) in Tallahassee. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 31, 2:30 pm – Attend the Polk County Delegation meeting at the Florida Department of Citrus (605 E Main St) in Bartow. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

 

Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.

 

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.

Please encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to join the FCC and subscribe to the Daily News Brief (both free). Also, check out our FCC Facebook page.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

 

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 80 conservation-minded organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.  

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