FCC News Brief - November 10, 2017

 

Kate Payne reports for WFSU – “Florida lawmakers and Governor Scott are $50 million apart when it comes to funding the state’s signature land buying program… Meanwhile millions of acres of land could be at risk of development… With $50 million worth of wiggle room, it’s too soon to say what kind of deal lawmakers and the governor will make, if any. Meanwhile, the backlog of proposed Florida Forever projects continues to grow… ‘There are two million acres identified to be protected on the Florida Forever priority list. A conservative value of those is about $5 billion. So that begins to give you a sense of the immense need,’ Abberger (with the Trust for Public Land) said. One of the newest additions to the Florida Forever priority list is a massive, nearly 40,000 acre conservation easement along the Upper Apalachicola River… [I]f lawmakers don’t fund Florida Forever, the program’s trust fund will continue to dwindle. And without the money to close the deals, private landowners will be free to build condos, strip malls and parking lots, even after the state has singled out the areas for protection… ‘Putting a property into the Florida Forever program does not put any kind of restriction on it…,” Clark  (state lands director at the Department of Environmental Protection) said… There are millions of acres of land on the priority list, scattered all across the state. Looking at a backlog of that size, $100 million is a drop in the bucket, let alone $50 million.” Read While Lawmakers Debate Florida Forever Funds, Millions of Acres Could Be Developed

 

The News Press Editorial Board writes – “[W]e congratulate the Fort Myers Beach Town Council for adopting the ordinance banning plastic straws in most places… Plastic straws are harmful because they pose a threat to marine life, which ingests them. Eliminating the straws also helps keep the town and the beaches free of at least some trash. Many other coastal communities in Florida and across the United States have adopted similar ordinances or are considering the ban… The town council should consider taking other environmental steps and banning other plastic products as well, or at least look into increasing the number of recycling receptacles in the town and on the beach.” Read Banning plastic straws an environmental win for Fort Myers Beach

Susan Salisbury reports for the Palm Beach Post – “The Sierra Club launched a campaign Tuesday asking Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Power & Light Co. to cancel plans to build a new natural gas-burning plant in Dania Beach… Compared to the existing plant, the new plant will cut primary air emissions by 7- percent, reduce FPL’s overall use of natural gas and help it shot down outdated coal-fired plants, (FPL spokesman) McDermitt said. It will also be $1.288 billion less expensive than building the same amount of solar capacity in the South Florida region… Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative Susannah Randolph said… ‘Whether it’s stronger hurricanes, unhealthy air, or coastal flooding, Florida is already seeing the consequences of climate change caused by burning coal, oil, and gas, so it’s with reckless abandonment that Florida Power and Light is trying to burn even more gas in Dania Beach. We launched this campaign because FPL and Governor Scott must transition to harnessing the power of the sun in the Sunshine State rather than keeping us addicted to dirty, dangerous fossil fuels like fracked gas.’” Read Sierra Club launches campaign asking FPL to cancel new power plant

Angela DeMonbreun writes for The Florida Times Union – “Solar customers reduce their electric bills through a policy called “net metering.” This allows solar customers to lower their electric bills by the amount of solar energy they produce. When homeowners’ solar systems produce more electricity than their home uses at a particular moment, that electricity is sent back through the customers’ electric meters to neighbors. JEA sells this electricity at full price, while not bearing the cost of transmitting the energy from a distant power plant. Net metering acts like rollover minutes, enabling solar customers to count the solar energy they’ve generated against the electricity they’ve used from the utility. Previously, JEA compensated solar customers at 10 cents per kilowatt-hour for the solar sent to neighbors. This figure is roughly equal to the cost customers pay for electricity from JEA. The utility board’s recent decision unfairly reduces this compensation rate to 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, a fraction of the electricity’s true cost… To make matters worse, JEA arbitrarily determined the credit for solar production solar owners receive on their energy bill should be considered taxable income. There is no precedent or justification for this because homeowners merely use solar to reduce their bill by the amount of energy they produce… JEA passed these measures with little public engagement and less data to back it up… JEA should re-instate the full value of net metering… Doing so will maintain Florida’s solar momentum and protect our right to go solar.” Read JEA moves backward for solar power customers

Amy Green reports for WMFE – “Most Floridians believe climate change is adding force and frequency to hurricanes like Irma… according to a new Florida Atlantic University survey. The survey found some 56 percent of Floridians believe climate change is causing more volatile hurricane seasons. Thirty percent do not. The respondents were split on whether Florida’s leadership is doing enough to prepare for sea level rise and coastal flooding. Thirty-seven percent say yes, and 39 percent say no… Florida Atlantic University’s Business and Economics Polling Initiative conducted the survey Nov.2 through Nov. 5. Five-hundred registered voters were surveyed.” Read Most Floridians See Link Between Hurricane Activity, Climate Change, Survey Finds

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “The Florida Chamber of Commerce [unveiled] research and a new video by Brian Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, on septic tank runoff into the St. Lucie River. Under an ‘educational partnership’ and a $90,000 grant from the Chamber, Lapointe has been featured in four videos about water-quality issues facing the Indian River Lagoon, Southwest Florida, Florida Keys and the state’s springs. Lapointe… says septic tanks are ‘one of the primary causes’ of pollution in the Lagoon and St. Lucie River. Other scientists agree septic systems cause pollution, but to a lesser degree than Lapointe maintains. ‘To say septic tanks are the driving force of algae blooms in the lagoon and the St. Lucie River is an overstatement,’ said Edward Phlips, an algae expert at the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants… If septic systems were the main cause of algae blooms, Phlips said, ‘you’d expect blooms on a more constant basis because septic systems are continuously contributing nutrients to the estuary…’ Lapointe acknowledged to TCPalm that septic tanks didn’t case the blue-green algae blooms that blanketed much of the St. Lucie River in the summer of 2016, but he said nutrients from the tanks helped feed the blooms… The Basin Management Action Plan unveiled in 2013 by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection showed agriculture sends… about 70 percent of the total load (of nitrogen) into the St. Lucie River each year. Also at the event Wednesday [was] state Rep. Gayle Harrell… [who touted] her proposed Legacy Florida 2.0 bill [that] could be used to help fund septic-to-sewer conversions.” Read Septic tank pollution: Florida Chamber of Commerce, Harbor Branch expert unveil new video

Lisa Friedman reports for The New York Times – “Syria announced during United Nations climate talks on Tuesday that it would sign the Paris agreement on climate change. The move, which comes on the heels of Nicaragua signing the accord last month, will leave the United States as the only country that has rejected the global pact… Syria produces only a tiny fraction of global emissions, but every country that is party to the accord, including poverty-stricken and war-torn nations and tiny islands, has produced a plan for cutting carbon output… ‘With Syrica’s decision, the relentless commitment of the global community to deliver on Paris is more evident than ever,’ said Paula Cabellaero, director of the climate change program at the World Resources Institute… Under the rules of the Paris agreement, the United States cannot formally withdraw until late 2020. Until then, administration officials have said, they will continue to negotiate the terms of the deal, but they have not specified what changes would be sufficient for the United States to reconsider quitting. American negotiators are attending the talks underway in Germany.” Read Syria Joins Paris Climate Accord, Leaving Only U.S. Opposed

Rebecca Savransky reports for The Hill – “President Trump is reportedly not invited to the climate change summit that will be held later this year in France.” Read France: Trump not invited to climate change summit ‘for the time being’

 

 

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

Project & Content Manager for The Nature Conservancy (Job ID 45848)

Apalachicola Riverkeeper/Executive Director

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

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

 

Petitions

Tell Congress to Stop Attacking Protections for Dolphins and Whales

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

 

 

Upcoming Environmental Events    

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 17, 5:00 pm Central Time – Attend the Apalachicola Riverkeeper Meet & Greet at the Historic First National Bank Building (2875 Caledonia Street) in Marianna. The Board of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper will join supporters for free refreshments. The Apalachicola Riverkeepr, Dan Tonsmeire, will give a river and bay report. For more information, email outreach@apalachicolariverkeeper.org.

November 20, 8:30 am – Attend the Highlands County Delegation meeting at the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (600 S. Commerce Ave.) in Sebring. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@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, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, 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 upcoming session, 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 upcoming session, 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 upcoming session, 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 upcoming session, 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 upcoming session, 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 upcoming session, 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 upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

December 1, 9:30 am – Attend the Sh.O.R.E Symposium (“Sharing Our Research with Everyone”) in New Smyrna Beach. Hear from leading IRL professionals and student researchers. The keynote address will be given by bestselling author and marine biologist, Dr. Wallace J Nichols. For more information and to register, click here.

 

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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