FCC News Brief - October 26, 2017

The St. Augustine Record writes – “[I]t comes as faint surprise [Governor Scott’s] highlighting his environmental side in the upcoming budget – much to the amusement or chagrin of environmentalists who had yet to discover he possessed one. Scott’s spent much of his time in Tallahassee dismantling the Department of Environmental Protection and striking the term “climate change” from staff vernacular… So who’s this new guy…? The answer to that question is likely “Senator Rick Scott” – a title he covets and will seek in 2018. He rightly sees his environmental record is, well… vaporous. And land conservation and environmental issues are clearly important to Florida voters. They passed Amendment 1 by more than 75 percent in 2014. It set aside a set portion of real estate transaction fees for land conservation efforts in the state. That’s likely to be more than $850 million next year… Florida Forever was funded to the tune of $300 million by Gov. Jeb Bush – without the dedicated funds. In 2017 the program was completely defunded… We think it’s important for readers to know there can be a pretty wide gap between what Gov. Scott says and what Gov. Scott does when it comes to the state’s wild and endangered places. It’s something to keep in mind 13 months from now at your polling precinct.” Read Scott hops the Gravy Train for wild Florida

Stephen Hudak reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Lake County commissioners threw their support… behind efforts for another interchange on the… Wekiva Parkway despite opposition from conservationists and other Central Florida elected officials… [L]ast week the Apopka City Council members voted to oppose the idea. Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer sent Lake commissioners a letter, urging them to reject it. ‘The existing plan was reached after years of research and consideration by the Wekiva River Basin Coordinating Committee and achieves the goal of constructing the much-needed Wekiva Parkway while protecting environmentally sensitive lands by keeping development away from the Wekiva River Basin,’ he said in the letter… Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine, who led the coordinating commission that carefully crafted the legislation creating the parkway, vowed to fight any effort to amend it to allow another interchange. Charles Lee, director of Advocacy for Florida Audubon, called the idea ‘a bad one.’… Changing the Wekiva Parkway plan would require several difficult steps, including persuading lawmakers to amend the law approved more than a decade ago.” Read Lake County supports proposal for another Wekiva Parkway interchange

The News Press Editorial Board writes – “(Governor) Scott announced a major part of his final budget as governor…, including $355 million for Everglades restoration and $105 million for C-43, which once completed, is designed to capture 55 billion gallons of storm water runoff... The reservoir is important to help keep harmful water from flowing into the Caloosahatchee and creating harmful algae blooms that not only have a devastating impact on sea grass and marine life, but also the tourism industry… Although this funding is crucial, we encourage local officials to add a much needed water treatment component to the C-43 project… Storing dirty water and then releasing it back into the Caloosahatchee is still a hazard… A weak dike means Army Corps of Engineers can’t keep more water in the lake and at the same time protect the communities around the lake. A strong dike means the Army Corps can allow water levels to rise slightly, holding more water and keeping less of it from being released into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.” Read Dollars for the environment mean we all win

Jessica Lipscomb reports for Miami New Times – “[T]hough national publications such as Scientific American have taken developers to task for their reluctance to stop building along the coast, state law does little to discourage the practice. State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez wants to change that. Last week, he filed a bill that would require contractors to conduct what’s called a sea-level impact projection study on state-funded buildings near the coastline. Before the first shovel hits the ground, builders would have to publish the results – even if they show the building could be underwater in a few years… Rodriguez [said,] ‘It’s an effort to start a conversation about planning.’… The bill would require contractors to assess how flooding would affect state-funded buildings over time and make a list of design alternatives that could mitigate the risk. Construction companies would also have to gauge the impact on public safety and the environment, including the potential for electrocution or pollution in the event of flooding.” Read Florida Bill Could Require Sea-Level-Rise Studies for Publicly Funded Buildings

Heather Beaven reports for the Pensacola News Journal – “Drilling for oil and gas along Florida’s Gulf Coast would be a direct threat to our national security operations and our coastal economies. The Department of Defense (DOD), the Florida Defense Support Task Force and Florida lawmakers have all expressed concerns that offshore drilling could threaten the military’s ability to perform critical activities in the eastern Gulf. The Joint Gulf Range Complex is… larger than all the other training ranges inside the continental U.S. combined. The DOD has kept this area free from obstruction for well over a decade and through both Republican and Democratic administrations, relying on the space to conduct activities vital to military readiness, like air combat training and hypersonic weapons testing. In June, the U.S. Air Force sent a letter to Florida Sen. Bill Nelson in support of an extended moratorium on oil and gas activities in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The letter states that such activities could interfere with critical opportunities for advanced weapons testing and joint training exercises… [D]olphins have been deployed to Vietnam, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf to sweep for mines. In Florida, they sweep the coastlines from Kings Bay to Key West and from Key West to Pensacola. They are powerful weapons of national security and drilling is dangerous to them… The military is… Florida’s fourth largest industry, accounting for more than 775,000 jobs and $80 billion in economic impact, including 65 percent of the regional economy of northwest Florida… This administration and this Congress must reject calls to lease new areas for oil drilling.” Read Don’t open eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling: Guestview

Teresa Stepzinski reports for the Florida Times Union – “Bald eagles soaring across the sky are a more common sight in… Florida counties than 45 years ago when there were less than 100 nests documented statewide… Florida currently has about 1,500 nesting pairs of bald eagles, which is more than any other state except Alaska and Minnesota… Effective this month, people and businesses no longer must obtain both a state and federal permit for activities with the potential to displace or disturb bald eagles or their nests. Only a federal permit is required… Bald eagles remain protected by state and federal law. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service took it off the federal list of endangered and threatened species in August 2007 – deeming the population met or exceeded recovery goals at the time… After the 1972 ban of the pesticide,… DDT, Florida’s eagle population increased more than 300 percent over 24 years, which equates to three generations of bald eagles. The commission currently is developing a new Species Action Plan for the bald eagle. It’s intended to replace the 2008 Bald Eagle Management Plan. A non-regulatory conservation plan, it will outline actions necessary to continue to maintain a stable or increasing bald eagle population in Florida, in perpetuity.” Read FWC: Bald eagle population soaring statewide

Nadja Popovich and Livia Albeck-Ripka report for The New York Times – “Since taking office in January, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration… has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. To date, the trump administration has sought to reverse more than 50 environmental rules…” Read 52 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump

Adam Smith reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “State Rep. Joe Geller… has filed a bill to mandate that Florida’s electoral votes be awarded to the candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote. Even if it has a snowball’s chance in Miami to pass a GOP-controlled legislature…, it’s at least an interesting idea for discussion and probably less of a lift than amending the U.S. Constitution. ‘The results of the 2016 Presidential Election demonstrated once again that the Electoral College is an obsolete, archaic, and anti-democratic system,’ Geller said. ‘For the second time in sixteen years, the winner of the popular vote – or as it is called everywhere else in the world, the vote – has lost the presidential election. This is in complete contradiction to our principle of one person, one vote.’ The legislation would make Florida join something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact – states banding together to ensure presidents win a majority of the popular vote. It would go into effect once enough states joined that they account for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency… ‘Passage of this act by the Florida Legislature would ensure that Floridians’ votes for President count as much as residents in all other states, which is not the case today,’ said Pamela Goodman, president of the Florida League (of Women Voters). ‘Floridians’ votes are worth only a third of residents of less populous states because of the Electoral College formula.’” Read How Florida could help ensure the popular vote picks presidents

 

 

 

 

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.


Job Openings

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

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

 

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 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, 5:00 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.

November 1, 1:00 pm – Attend the Duval County Delegation meeting on the 1st Floor of Jacksonville City Hall (117 W Duval St.) in Jacksonville. 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.

November 1, 1:30 pm – Attend the Pinellas County Delegation meeting at the Tarpon Springs Campus of St. Petersburg College (600 E Klosterman Rd) in Tarpon 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.

November 3, 9:00 am – Attend the Volusia County Delegation meeting at the Ormand Beach City Hall Chamber (22 South Beach St.) in Ormand. 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.

November 3, 9:30 am – Attend the Hillsborough County Delegation meeting at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds Grimes Family Agricultural Center (2508 W. Oak Ave) in Plant City. 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.

November 3, 3:00 pm – Attend the Citrus County Delegation meeting at the Citrus County Courthouse (110 North Apopka Ave.) in Inverness. 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.

November 4, 11:00 am – Attend Clean Energy Fest at the UWF Historic Trust’s Museum Plaza (120 Church St) in Pensacola. This event celebrates a clean energy future through art, food, live music, and dynamic people showcasing solar, wind, and people-power for the 21st century. Children’s activities with hands-on play around the ideas of conservation and clean energy will take place all day long. For more information visit Clean Energy Fest 2017 on Facebook, email 350pensacola@gmail.com, or call (850) 687 – 9968.

November 8, 12:45 pm – Attend Bats and Bees – Important for Nature at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Shari Blissett-Clark, of the Florida Bat Conservancy, will discuss the work of the conservancy to protect native bat populations in Florida. She will also bring a sample of a bat house that is available for purchase. Carmen Fraccica, of the Florida Bureau of Plant & Apiary Inspection, will discuss beekeeping in Florida. For more information and to RSVP, email resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

November 20, 9:00 am – Attend the Walton County Delegation meeting at the Walton County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (76 North 6th Street) in DeFuniak. 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.

November 20, 10:30 am – Attend the Holmes County Delegation meeting at the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (107 E. Virginia Ave.) in Bonifay. 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.

November 20, 11:45 am – Attend the Washington County Delegation meeting at the Washington County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (1331 South Blvd.) in Chipley. 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.

November 20, 2:15 pm – Attend the Jackson County Delegation meeting at the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (2864 Madison Street) in Marianna. 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.

November 21, 5:00 pm – Attend the Liberty County Delegation meeting at the Liberty County Clerk-Circuit (10818 NW State Road 20) in Bristol. 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.

November 27, 9:00 am – Attend the Pasco County Delegation meeting at the Wesley Chapel Center for the Arts (30651 Wells Rd.) in Wesley Chapel. 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.

November 29, 9:00 am – Attend the Indian River County Delegation meeting at 1801 27th St in Vero Beach. 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.

December 1, 8:30 am – Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center of Palm Beach State College (1977 SW College Drive) in Belle Glade. 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.  

For more information on the FCC visit https://www.wearefcc.org/



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