FCC News Brief - November 14, 2017

The Herald Tribune Editorial Board writes – “Steube has filed Senate Bill 547, which would prohibit local governments from regulating the ‘trimming, removal or harvesting of trees and timber on private property’ or requiring ‘mitigation’ – such as planting trees or paying fees – in exchange for removing existing ones… Local governments have begun to reasonably assert that they are in the best position to regulate the removal of certain trees, based on community values, their environmental benefits and the recognition of property rights. We fully recognize that property rights are in play on trees, and agree that compliance with local ordinances should not be onerous. It makes sense for cities and counties to routinely review their rules and laws on trees… [D]ebate should include input from environmental experts and neighborhood groups that place a premium on tree canopies and the economic value they create. But Steube’s tree bill provides no alternative to local policies and regulations that reflect local values. A statewide approach would not make sense…” Read Steube’s tree bill should be removed

William March reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “State Sen. Dana Young… has introduced another fracking ban bill for the coming legislative session. But it’s unclear whether it will have any better chance than last session, when it appeared ready to pass in the Senate but never got a committee hearing in the House… This [year’s House sponsor is] Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island, who’s enthusiastic about the cause but has lost cloud after conflicts with Speaker Richard Corcoran. Corcoran yanked Peters’ subcommittee chairmanship and some legislative perks, and Peters plans to run for a county commission seat instead of re-election next year. Young said…, ‘This is very sweeping legislation and it often takes several years to pass something of this magnitude.’ Peters said the bill’s prospects will be tough again this year: ‘I’m not going to surgarcoat it.’… Asked whether her standing with leadership hurts the bill’s chances, Peters said, ‘I’m hopeful it won’t. If it’s good for Florida it shouldn’t matter who carries the bill.’” Read Dana Young to push for statewide fracking ban again

Katrina Elsken writes for Okeechobee News – “In all of the public meetings about the level of Lake Okeechobee, amid discussion of harmful releases to the coastal estuaries, storage reservoirs, Aquifer Storage and Recovery wells and Deep Well Injection options, one question always comes up, and is never answered: ‘Why isn’t water cleaned BEFORE it goes into Lake Okeechobee?’ This may be followed by a related question: ‘Why isn’t water cleaned BEFORE it goes into the Kissimmee River?’… Even if all of the water storage under construction now and planned for the future had been completed before Hurricane Irma hit, it would not have been sufficient to hold the excess flow to Lake Okeechobee from that storm. Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 23, more than 500 billion gallons of water flowed into the Big Lake – most of the rapid inflow was untreated, unfiltered drainage from the north… Due to a federal lawsuit, water must be cleaned to no more than 10 parts per billion of phosphorus before entering Everglades National Park… In 1986 FDEP also set a phosphorus target level for Lake Okeechobee at 40 ppb and an annual phosphorus load of no more than 140 metric tons…, but in the past 30 years there has been no enforcement… Much has been done to limit the phosphorus in runoff from cattle ranches and dairies, including the 1986 DEP Dairy Rule which forced dairies to leave the basin if they could not meet strict standards for runoff. And yet, the total annual phosphorus load into the lake has increased. With the exception of rainfall, every source of water entering the lake is many times the target level for phosphorus. Meanwhile continued development at the top of the watershed in the Orlando/Kissimmee area means increased runoff that goes into the river and on into the lake… When the lake level gets too high, coastal communities complain about water released east and west ‘from Lake Okeechobee’ but the water isn’t coming from Lake Okeechobee; it’s flowing through Lake Okeechobee from the north. To solve the problem of excess nutrient load, shouldn’t we start at the source?” Read Lake Okeechobee flow: Why not clean it north?

Eve Samples writes for the TC Palm – “Business leaders of Florida, It’s great that you’re talking about water… Bad water is bad for business. You get that. But Floridians need Florida Chamber leaders to be more honest about the solutions. On Wednesday, your president and CEO Mark Wilson stood in a conference room in Tallahassee and preached the importance of heeding ‘water science, not political science.’ That sounded reasonable – until Wilson wildly exaggerated the size of a proposed reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area… The Chamber also debuted a ‘research video’… that included a fisherman from Clewiston disparaging the reservoir as ‘not a good solution’ (without citing science to back up his claims)… ‘People who don’t want to focus on water science are making Florida a less desirable place to be,’ Wilson said Wednesday. That’s exactly right. So why isn’t the Florida Chamber supporting more than 200 Everglades scientists who have backed plans for more water storage, treatment and conveyance south of Lake Okeechobee?” Read Time for Florida Chamber to get on board with Everglades reservoir

The South Florida Water Management District shares – “The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board… provided authority to Executive Director Ernie Marks to enter into a new license agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to use the 144,000 state-owned acres that comprise the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge… The District receives federal funds needed to combat the invasive Lygodium fern while taking over full control of the day-to-day eradication efforts… With the SFWMD now taking the lead to control this invasive plant, it is a critical time for the Refuge as it has seen a 600 percent increase in Lygodium over the last 20 years… USFWS would also be required under the new agreement to focus on increasing recreational activities including hunting and fishing opportunities, similar to what is available in state-managed water conservation areas throughout the District.” Read SFWMD Governing Board Approves New Agreement to Fight Invasive Lygodium and Allow Additional Public Access in Loxahatchee Refuge

Ryan Van Velzer reports for the Sun Sentinel – “A treatment plant dumped more than 5 million gallons of treated sewage and stormwater into Delray Beach waterways… The wastewater release, which was unauthorized, happened in recent days after heavy rainfall caused by Tropical Storm Philippe… The released water was a mixture of treated human waste and stormwater that was disinfected, ‘but not filtered to reuse quality,’ said Doug Levine, plant manager… It… leaves behind concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous that can feed algal blooms… Ordinarily, the plant uses its ocean-outfall pipe to jettison excess water in emergency situations, but a line broke along the ocean outfall, causing the 100,000-gallon spill on Oct. 29, he said. As a result, the treatment plant had to close down the outfall pipe and dump more than 5 million gallons into a canal north of the plant… The treatment plant hasn’t been the only entity to draw state attention recently. Fort Lauderdale will be under scrutiny by state environmental regulators for years to come after spilling nearly 21 million gallons of raw sewage into local waterways and groundwater since 2014.” Read Dumping of treated sewage prompts state review

Michelle Allen writes for the Sun Sentinel – “A 2017 Duke University study found 6,600 reported oil spills between 2005 and 2014 in just four states. This is why we worked with local officials to send a clear message: no drilling should take place here. In fact, both Miami Dade and Broward County passed binding ordinances prohibiting fracking and over a dozen cities also passed resolutions against it. Florida statute clearly states that Department of Environmental Protection cannot grant a drilling permit unless a municipality first approves it. A coalition of hundreds of groups is now working to pass a bill that would prohibit fracking in Florida. Our hope is that state legislators like Sen. Lauren Book, a cosponsor of the bill, will ensure that South Florida’s water is protected.” Read Protect Florida’s water supply; block more oil drilling

Damian Carrington reports for The Guardian – “From the Everglades in the US to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, climate change is destroying many of the greatest wonders of the natural world. A new report… from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UCN) reveals that the number of natural world heritage sites being damaged and at risk from global warming has almost doubled to 62 in the past three years… [E]cosystems being damaged [include] wetlands, such as the Everglades, where sea level is rising as the ocean warms and salt water is intruding… Fiercer storms are also increasing the risk of devastation… Climate change is one of a range of factors that mean about a third of the world’s 241 natural heritage sites are being damaged, with invasive alien species being the top threat.” Read From the Everglades to Kilimanjaro, climate change is destroying world wonders

 

 

From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Florida Field Campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity

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 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.

December 11, 5:30 pm – Attend the Escambia County Delegation meeting at the Pensacola State college Jean and Paul Performance Studio (1000 College Coulevard) in Pensacola. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million next 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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