FCC News Brief - October 29, 2017

Eve Samples writes for the TC Palm – “There aren’t many topics on which three out of four Floridians can agree… And, yet, a large majority of us came into alignment on a single issue in 2014… We wanted [politicians] to take action before we lost too much of Florida’s pristine wilderness to development. Yet here we are, three years later, still waiting for Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature to follow through. The governor announced his $1.7 billion environmental spending plan… On the surface, it looked like a marquee environmental proposal, with millions for Everglades restoration… Upon closer inspection, we see it once again shortchanges the land-buying program that previously set Florida apart from other states: Florida Forever. Under Scott’s proposal, Florida Forever would get $50 million in the 2018-19 budget. That’s up from the current budget year, but that’s nothing to brag about. This year’s allocation was exactly zero dollars. Scott’s proposal remains well below the $300 million Florida Forever received before the Great Recession… There’s no excuse for falling short. The state has the money – thanks to us voters… Florida Forever’s list of land waiting to be acquired features a backlog of about $2.5 billion, said Ryan Smart, president of 1000 Friends of Florida…It’s risky to wait on buying environmentally valuable land… [Smart] believes conserving land is ‘the holy grail of environmentalism.’ I asked Smart what Florida might look like in the future if we don’t resume our efforts to buy and protect more land. ‘It’s going to mean a diminished quality of life for people,’ he said. ‘It’s going to mean dirtier water and…air. It’s going to mean continued loss of biodiversity and more human-wildlife conflicts.’” Read When will Gov. Scott follow through on voters’ demand to preserve land?

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch writes for the TC Palm – “[T]he Florida Constitution protects our essential rights as Florida citizens, such as religious freedom and due process of law… [I]n Florida… the quality of our environment is inextricable from our quality of life and identity as Floridians. As a Republican and former mayor of Sewall’s Point in Martin County, I don’t think this is a partisan issue. Rather, environmental degradation is the great dilemma of our time. Although Florida’s Constitution gives policymakers tools to protect our natural resources, there is evidence that our resources are under continued, significant stress… As a commissioner serving on the state’s 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission… I’m in a unique position to help… I made a motion to sponsor Public Proposal 700540 entitled, “Right to a Clean and Healthful Environment.” The proposal, authored by Traci Deen and her students at Barry University… would amend Article II, Section 7 of the Florida Constitution to add that every Floridian has the right to a clean and healthful environment and that any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private… While [the] constitutional provision… would not interfere with the Legislature’s authority and appropriate state agencies’ authority to set the standards for environmental protection, it would authorize a private right of action when environmental degradation either violates the adopted standard or causes special injury… A review of case law from six states which have adopted some form of “clean and healthful” environment show the proposal to be a mainstream constitution provision… Without the power to hold those in charge accountable, the right of Floridians to a clean and healthful environment could be perceived as a right in name only… I am encouraged that my fellow commissioners on the CRC approved my sponsorship of this public proposal so that it can be reviewed… and possibly amended by the CRC through our committee process… [L]et the CRC know that you support Commissioner Proposal 23 by contacting us through our website flcrc.gov.” Read ‘Right to clean environment’ should be written into Florida Constitution

The TC Palm Editorial Board writes – “When will Florida lawmakers get the message? Fracking is not welcome in the Sunshine State. Elected officials in dozens of municipalities and counties throughout Florida, have passed resolutions opposing…fracking… Young and Rodrigues illustrate two different approaches in Tallahassee with respect to fracking: Ban it outright (Young) or allow it within a state-regulated framework (Rodrigues). The Editorial Board of Treasure Coast Newspapers is firmly in the Young camp. A new report published in “Reviews on Environmental Health” found pollutants released during fracking could pose a health risk to infants and children… The Sunshine State has a high water table and the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing – several of which are known carcinogens – could contaminate water supplies. Fracking also requires huge volumes of water for each well, and water is a precious commodity in our state. Why risk any of these potential consequences? Ban fracking in Florida.” Read Quit messing around, ban fracking in Florida

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “ ‘There’s no silver bullet’ to solving the discharges, Morrison (The South Florida Water Management District’s head of federal policy and coordination) said. The solution is a suite of projects to store and treat water north, east, west and south of the lake. ‘As more storage comes online,’ Morrison said, the discharges will lessen… How much water the (reservoir) project will keep out of the estuaries… won’t be known until the district determines alternative configurations of the project and evaluates their capacities… Modeling also would determine if the state has enough land set aside for the project… [T]he project will be built on land already owned by the state… [S]tate law requires any extra land be bought from “willing sellers,” not taken by eminent domain. Negotiations with willing sellers are ongoing for a small tract west of the reservoir site… and more landowners are being sought. The reservoir will need a way to get water from Lake O, and Morrison said two canals that could be used may need to be enlarged to move water fast enough. That might require buying land or getting extra right-of-way from “willing sellers,” Morrison said… The district and the Corps are supposed to have a basic design for the reservoir when the Legislature begins its 2018 session in January.” Read South Florida Water Management District: Reservoir would ‘dent’ Lake Okeechobee discharges

Dan Rorabaugh reports for the TC Palm – “Gov. Rick Scott posted on Twitter a White House news release saying Trump instructed Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to accelerate repairs to the (Herbert Hoover) dike.” Read President Trump, Gov. Rick Scott team up to expedite Herbert Hoover Dike repairs

Annie Blanks reports for NWF Daily News – “U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz said… he was ‘very concerned’ about a Trump administration proposal that would make 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico available for lease by federal oil and gas companies… [W]aters off Florida are protected from drilling for at least the next five years thanks to the existence of the military mission line… The areas where leases would be made available are located off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida… ‘Zinke told me that the moment the military mission line goes away, he intends to issue oil and gas leases nine miles off of Florida’s shores,’ said Gaetz… ‘That would be catastrophic to our military, and to our local tourism economy.’… Gaetz said he was working closely with Sen. Bill Nelson… to extend protection of the military mission line at least another decade.” Read New oil drilling potential concerns Gaetz

Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears report for The Washington Post – “President Trump informed Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) Friday that he will shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million-acre protected area in southeast Utah that is prized by many tribal leaders but opposed by several state and federal Republican officials… Trump did not specify exactly how he would change the boundaries,… though Interior Department officials have privately indicated that the administration plans to shrink it by hundreds of thousands of acres. Hatch also urged Trump to allow for mining in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a possibility Zinke raised in his report to the president… (San Juan County Commission Chairman) Adams said he’s excited because he believes, from discussions he’s heard, that Trump is going to downsize Bears Ears ‘to two or three small areas that protects specific objects.’” Read Trump says he will shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a sacred tribal site in Utah

The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “Our electoral system tends to reward politicians who pander to the extremes. Legislative districts are drawn to favor a particular political party rather than be competitive… Campaign contributions from special-interest groups help push politicians into hard-line positions. David Jolly and Patrick Murphy saw these problems firsthand as members of Congress… Now the bipartisan duo is touring college campuses… providing prescriptions for the gridlock and other problems ailing Congress and our country. Both decry the practice of gerrymandering, or drawing districts to maximize the percentage of voters likely to support one party’s candidate. Florida passed the Fair Districts state constitutional amendments in 2010 to address the problem, but Jolly said that caused some districts to be more geographically compact but less competitive. Murphy said using an independent commission, rather than lawmakers, to draw districts might improve the process. Jolly said that Florida’s closed primary system also gives candidates less reason to work across the aisle. Possible solutions include open primaries, in which those elections are open to voters from other parties or independents, or having all candidates run in the same primary with the top two advancing to a runoff regardless of party affiliation. Both Jolly and Murphy also support campaign finance reforms. Jolly argued that members of Congress must dedicate too much time to raising money, spending 20-40 hours each week collecting campaign contributions and far less time on the actual job. His proposed solutions include setting a limit on weeks that members of Congress can raise money, as the Florida Legislature does in barring contributions during its legislative session, or banning members from personally soliciting donations, as Florida does for judicial candidates.” Read Electoral reforms would help reduce gridlock

 

 

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 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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 16, 7:00 pm – Attend Rivers, Birds and Water Wars with Todd Engstrom at the King Life Science Building (319 Stadium Drive) in Tallahassee. For more information, click here.

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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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, approximately $300 million this year, 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 and most relevant environmental news for Floridians. 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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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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