FCC News Brief - October 31, 2017

Goodman writes for my Palm Beach Post – “Florida voters are divided as the rest of the country on most issues, but we’re in general accord when it comes to protecting the environment… With the Legislature’s help, [Gov. Scott] ordered water management districts to slash their property tax collections soon after taking office. The South Florida Water Management District, which oversees Everglades restoration, had its budget cut by almost half. It operates with less money today than it did in 2008. Experienced scientists and engineers who did solid work for the water district are gone. In 2011, Scott abolished the Department of Community Affairs, which oversaw development and tried to promote rational growth… Under Scott, Florida has eased up on enforcing rules against polluters… That $50 million request he’s now making for Florida Forever land conservation purchases? Big deal. Until the Great Recession, the program got $300 million a year. Since Scott’s reelection in 2014, his requests for the program peaked at $25.1 million. Even after voters passed Amendment 1 in that 2014 landslide, budget allocations haven’t surpassed $15.2 million, and this year Florida Forever was zeroed out. All of these sums look pretty paltry when you consider how much money Amendment 1 generates from the documentary-stamp tax. For the next fiscal year, it’s an estimated $862.2 million… There’s a reason that Democratic foes are calling Scott an ‘election year environmentalist.’ Florida needs leaders who are every-year environmentalists.” Read Gov. Rick Scott, friend of the environment, LOL.

The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “Scott failed to follow through on a past promise to increase funding for land conservation, made during his 2014 reelection campaign… Scott’s proposal, announced last week, would spend $50 million on the Florida Forever land conservation program. The spending still falls short of the commitment necessary for land conservation in a growing state… Since Amendment 1 was overwhelmingly approved in 2014 with the intention of dedicating funding to land conservation, lawmakers have ignored the will of the voters. Florida Forever received zero funding in this year’s legislative session… If Scott really wants environmental spending increased by $220 million, he will have to follow through in convincing lawmakers to do so. That will show whether his plan is a change of heart on the environment or another election-year gimmick.” Read Scott must show environmental plan isn’t ploy

Peter Schorsch reports for Florida Politics – “Clearwater Republican Sen. Latvala this week signed on to co-sponsor a bill (SB 462) that would ban… “fracking” in the Sunshine State… The Senate bill Latvala has agreed to co-sponsor was put forward by Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young, while its House companion was introduced by Treasure Island Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters, one of Latvala’s longtime allies in the Legislature.” Read Takeaways from Tallahassee – Irma good news/bad news

Tom Palmer reports for News Chief – “I attended the first local meeting on the need to restore the (Kissimmee) river sometime in the late 1970s… Now, about 40 years later, I… received a notice that one of the final contracts in the project was scheduled to begin this year… The latest target date is 2020… Sections on the north and south ends of the river will remain canals to provide flood protection for development that has encroached into the river’s flood plain in the meantime. As a result, only 44 miles of the original river channel will be restored. Another issue is making sure there is enough water to keep the river flowing and the wetlands healthy. This is called water reservation and it’s an issue that needs to be watched closely. That’s because there have been proposals to tap the river to supply water for future growth. So far water managers have resisted efforts to tap the river for water supply projects, responding that they didn’t spend $1 billion to fix the river to turn it into a horizontal wellfield.” Read Many facets to restoration of Kissimmee River

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Since [Irma] passed through in September, only a single Miami blue butterfly… has been spotted…, according to Marc. C. Minno... Even if a couple more turn up there, Minno said, ‘they’re doomed. They’re found only on these isolated islands in areas that take the full brunt of hurricanes and sea level rise.’ However, another butterfly expert says it’s too soon to tell whether Florida has seen the last of the Miami Blue. Andrew Warren of the Florida Museum of Natural History suggested waiting until spring to be sure. After all, this would not be the first time someone thought the blue-winged butterfly had become extinct. It’s not even the second time. If it turns out that this time they really are gone for good, though, there is a captive-bred group of Miami blues being tended by scientists at the museum… But, Warren added, ‘despite many attempts to establish new populations with this captive-bred stock, there is no evidence that any reintroduction attempts were ever successful…’ Minno said he and other butterfly experts are heading to Cuba to see if there are any still fluttering around there. He’s hopeful about their prospects, based on the terrain… But Warren said the Cuban colony isn’t from the same sub-species, and thus no one should think it could be introduced here to replace the natives. Not long ago the Miami blue was considered a common Florida butterfly. You could see its iridescent wings fluttering all across the southern half of the peninsula, from Tampa to Daytona Beach. But development wiped out its habitat, including the nickerbean and wild sage that it feeds on. Insecticides intended for mosquitoes killed the blues as well. Meanwhile, invasive creatures such as iguanas and fire ants picked off the blues’ larvae.” Read Florida’s most endangered butterfly may not have survived Hurricane Irma

Janelle Irwin reports for the Tampa Bay Business Journal – “State Attorney Bernie McCabe will not seek charges against any individual or the city of St. Petersburg for actions within the city’s sewage department over the past two years. His announcement came less than 24-hours after McCabe told the Tampa Bay Business Journal he would re-evaluate findings in a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report to determine if charges were appropriate… The report, which was handed to McCabe’s office on Oct. 19 according to FWC, recommended 89 felonies and 103 first-degree misdemeanors against the city of St. Pete based on a series of environmental violations relating to sewage dumps. The report reinvigorated criticism against incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman over his handling of the city’s sewage system… McCabe said he received calls from lawmakers Thursday, prompting him to read the report but he did not say who those calls came from or what the lawmakers’ concerns with the report were… ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find the political motivation here,’ said Florida Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Amir Avin. ‘Florida Fish and Wildlfie commissioners are appointed by Governor Rick Scott. Scott wrote Baker’s PAC a $25,000 check,’ he said…Kriseman supporters are drawing a correlation in social media posts between the timing of the FWC report’s release and the James Comey announcement regarding presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email scandal during the 2016 campaign… Right before the election, Comey, former director of the FBI, announced he was re-opening an investigation only to quickly close it again.” Read No charges will be filed against St. Pete over sewage report, raising questions about timing

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “Trump’s fossil-fuel policy is misguided in many ways, but the threat to Florida is especially scary. The state’s congressional delegation must block any attempt to move oil drilling closer to our coast.” Read Keep oil drilling away from Florida beaches

Nicholas Kristof writes for The New York Times – “The pesticide, which belongs to a class of chemicals developed as a nerve gas made by Nazi Germany, is now found in food, air and drinking water. Human and animal studies show that it damages the brain and reduces I.Q.s while causing tremors among children. It has also been linked to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease in adults… This chemical, chlorphyrifos, is hard to pronounce, so let’s just call it Dow Chemical Company’s Nerve Gas Pesticide. Even if you haven’t heard of it, it may be inside you: one 2012 study found that it was in the umbilical cord of 87 percent of newborn babies tested… The Environmental Protection Agency actually banned Dow’s Nerve Gas Pesticide for most indoor residential use 17 years ago… The E.P.A. was preparing to ban it for agricultural and outdoor use this spring, but then the Trump administration rejected the ban… So Dow’s Nerve Gas Pesticide will still be used on golf courses, road medians and crops that end up on our plate. Kids are told to eat fruits and vegetables, but E.P.A. scientists found levels of this pesticide on such foods at up to 140 times the limits deemed safe… What’s happening under the Trump administration is a nationwide echo of what was permitted in Flint: Officials are turning a blind eye to the spread of a number of toxic substances, including those linked to cancer and brain damage… The chemical industry lobby, the American Chemistry Council, is today’s version of Big Tobacco… Some day we will look back and wonder: What were we thinking?! I’ve written about the evidence that toxic chemicals are lowering men’s sperm counts, and new research suggests by extrapolation that by 2060, a majority of American and European men could even be infertile… Democrats sometimes gloat that Trump hasn’t managed to pass significant legislation so far, which is true. But he has been tragically effective at dismantling environmental and health regulations – so that Trump’s most enduring legacy may be cancer, infertility and diminished I.Q.s for decades to come.” Read Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains

 

 

 

From Our Readers

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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 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 10, 9:00 am – Attend the Cedar Key Climate Change Conference. This conference presents an examination of the research of climate change and sea level rise as it affects Cedar Key and the Levy Coast. For more information and to register, click here.

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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