FCC News Brief - November 16, 2017

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “Because wind-whipped trees were largely responsible for toppled power lines, two lawmakers are pushing bills that would kill local tree ordinances they say make it too hard to fire up chainsaws… Rep. Katie Edwards… says she doesn’t want to destroy the tree canopy, simply make it easier for people to trim and remove trees. She also wants to encourage people to plant trees better suited to withstand high winds. Problem is, her two-page bill offers no such encouragement. It simply prohibits local governments from doing anything to protect trees. It offers not a sliver of state protection for neighborhood trees. In reality, Edwards’ bill appears designed to let developers more easily pave over paradise… If local tree protections are too restrictive or cumbersome, they should be amended and simplified – not erased. But we’ve spoken with no city or county leader approached by Edwards about the need for amendments. We have, though, heard their cries of surprise about her heavy-handed bill… [A]fter seven years of watching Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature gut environmental protections, we have no confidence that Tallahassee will do a better job than cities in protecting our tree canopy… ‘A blanket ban just means something that makes Florida unique and beautiful could suffer,’ warns Thomas Hawkins, 1000 Friends’ policy and planning director.” Read Rep. Katie Edwards seeks to kill tree protections

The Associated Press reports – “A major chicken processing plant that has been cited for polluting the Suwannee River settled a lawsuit on Wednesday that was brought by environmental groups in Florida. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. settled the suit with Environment Florida and the Sierra Club, agreeing to pay $1.4 million and to upgrade equipment to help reduce the plant’s waste… Pilgrim’s Pride is the second largest chicken producer in the world… The company was cited multiple times by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection for violating limits on the amount of wastewater it was legally permitted to discharge into the river… ‘Pilgrim’s Pride wasn’t complying with their permits, and the (state) wasn’t holding the company accountable, so Environment Florida and citizen members stepped in to get them to clean up their act,’ said Jennifer Rubillo, state director of the group… Under the settlement agreement, Pilgrim’s Pride will make equipment upgrades, including to its wastewater treatment plant, study how to eliminate wastewater discharges into the river and create a sustainable farming fund.” Read Chicken processor settles water pollution suit in Florida

Cliff Thaell writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “At the beginning of the 21st century, Leon County Commissioners took a hard look at our local government’s own energy waste and inefficiency. The discussion established the county’s Sustainability Office and creation of the Leon County Climate Action Plan… Now it’s time to bring our whole community together behind an initiative to address countywide greenhouse gases… [T]here will be a discussion of the county’s potential participation in the newly announced “Community Clean Energy Plan.” The county should get behind the plan… It’s time for our leaders to tell citizens we are all part of the problem and must also become part of the solution. The data that measures carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are often countywide. And solutions require community action… Last month, the Tallahassee City Commission voted unanimously to direct staff to bring back a recommendation for a community-wide plan to achieve total energy independence by 2035. Commissioners asked for clear benchmarks and significant citizen involvement for reaching a renewable energy goal of 100 percent. Their vote was in compliance with the historic resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the goal of moving to 100 percent clean, renewable energy in cities nationwide. The 2008 Leon County Climate Action Plan for Government Operations was a good start. Now we need a community plan with measurable results moving forward… No cost burden should shift to people and neighborhoods with limited incomes… I am convinced citizens will be excited to support a well thought out, achievable plan to reduce greenhouse gases.” Read Leon County must continue towards 100 percent renewable energy

Lucas Daprile reports for the TC Palm – “The South Florida Water Management District… rewrote the Water Resources Advisory Commission’s charter – and renamed it the Water Resources Analysis Coalition – to change it from a body that issues formal recommendations to one engaged in ‘fact-finding’ during a Nov. 9 governing board meeting. ‘The changes appear to be an intentional attempt to avoid the public meeting requirements of state law, which significantly erodes any remaining credibility,’ said Lisa Interlandi, a senior attorney at the Everglades Law Center. At this point, this entity is operating at public expense with very little discernible benefit. Critics point out there was no public discussion or notification of the district’s intent to rewrite the committee’s charter before the governing board meeting… Not everyone was critical of the district’s decision. Commission member Nyla Pipes said she favors it. ‘We’re supposed to be a working body, and we can’t work if we don’t talk,’ Pipes said… ‘I think it would be a different story if we voted.’… First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen said she doesn’t have a problem with the district’s decision to change the committee from an advisory one to a fact-finding one, so long as the fact-finding committee doesn’t issue recommendations.” Read Water district exempts panel from Sunshine Law, allows members to talk outside meetings

Keyna Cory writes for Florida Politics – “There are many actions each of us can take to reduce our environmental impact and support a clean community. One of the easiest actions to take every day is to recycle… The new FloridaRecycles.org campaign… is designed to boost awareness of the top items in a successful recycling program including paper and cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs, and aluminum and steel cans. Through the simple act of recycling (and buying products made with recycled content), we can continue to ‘give our garbage another life.’ That plastic bottle can become a pair of jeans and that aluminum can become a new aluminum can in less than 60 days. But it all starts with putting more of the right clean and dry recyclable items into your curbside recycle container – and keeping non-recyclable materials OUT especially plastic bags (take them back to your retailer to recycle), cords and hoses, food and clothing.” Read What have you recycled today?

Michael Sainato writes for The Gainesville Sun – “There is no need for oil extraction in South Florida that would risk the already imperiled ecosystems of the Everglades, a national and ecological treasure. Local governments have drafted resolutions against drilling for oil in the Everglades, but these efforts persist in the pursuit of profit at the expense of the environment and local residents.” Read Don’t drill the Everglades for oil

Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham wants to put a stop to Florida utility ratepayers paying for nuclear power plants that were never build or which never worked, or for paying for fracking exploration in Florida… Her statement Tuesday in some ways echoes that made last month by her rival for the Democratic primary nomination, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum… [Graham] also criticized both Gov. Jeb Bush and current Gov. Rick Scott for what she said was stacking the commission with what she called ‘unqualified, industry-friendly commissioners.’ She then went after Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam… for having voted for an unbuilt nuclear power plant while he was in Congress, and then after likely Republican gubernatorial candidate House Speaker Richard Corcoran for appointing the PSC nominating commission… ‘The Public Service Commission is out of control. As governor, I will appoint consumer advocates who will vote in Floridians best interests – not the special interests,’ Graham said. ‘I will fight to repeal the advanced nuclear recovery taxes and to ban utilities from ever charging customers a speculative fracking tax.’” Read Gwen Graham goes nuclear over recovery fees, fracking fees

Kevin Quealy reports for The New York Times – “Climate change divides Americans, but in an unlikely way: The more education that Democrats and Republicans have, the more their beliefs in climate change diverge… About one in four Republicans with only a high school education said they worried about climate change a great deal. But among college-educated Republicans, that figure decreases, sharply, to 8 percent… This may seem counterintuitive, because better-educated Republicans are more likely to be aware of the scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to climate change. But in the realm of public opinion, climate change isn’t really a scientific issue. It’s a political one.” Read The More Education Republicans Have, the Less they Tend to Believe in Climate Change

 

 

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

Senior Environmental Scientist for the Florida Springs Institute

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

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Solar in Jacksonville      

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.

November 30, 5:30 pm Attend the Bay County Delegation meeting at the Bay County Board of County Commissioners’ Chambers (840 W 11th St.) in Panama City. 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.

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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