The Florida Times Union Editorial Board writes – “Sen. Rob Bradley… is gaining influence in the Florida Senate and using it to good advantage… Bradley said the Legislature doesn’t spend enough of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund on land acquisition. No joke. He had to say that. Bradley’s bill would spend $100 million on land acquisition. So where has the money been going? Agency overhead and staffing expenses. We can confidently say that voters would not have approved the (Water and Land Conservation) amendment if they knew this would happen… Previous generations have invested in protecting the state’s beauty. This generation of legislators need to step up, too.” Read Bradley is using his influence to protect our environment
Lindsay Cross writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “Florida’s elected officials took an important first step this month in finally implementing the will of the people who voted overwhelmingly for Amendment 1 a few years ago, which amended the state Constitution to set aside money to preserve wild Florida. With Senate Bill 370, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley… passing the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee on Nov. 6, I am cautiously optimistic that something better than scraps will become available for conservation… SB 370 would allocate $100 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to support the conservation of lands through acquisition or by limiting future development rights. While this is a far cry from the $300 million that was available during the height of the Florida Forever program, it is a welcome change from a 2017 session that appropriated a scant $10 million toward agricultural easements… There is still much more work to be done. The backlog of worthy conservation projects on the Florida Forever list numbers in the hundreds. Conservative estimates have a $2.5 billion price tag to protect the approximately 2.2 million acres of lands and waters that are needed not only to support our human population but to maintain connectivity for wildlife, fighting for space in a state topping 20 million residents.” Read Tallahassee takes an important (first) step for protecting wild Florida
C.T. Bowen reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “[A] (Pasco) County advisory committee recommended adding the nearly 3,600-acre (Fort King) Ranch to Pasco’s environmental lands acquisition list. It is the largest piece of property the county has considered acquiring from a willing seller. ‘It is situated in a place where we need to get more wide and connectable spaces together,’ said Mac Davis, a member of the county’s Environmental Lands Selection Committee… The land carries a planned unit development designation, allowing nearly 1,300 homes, plus 100,000 square feet of non-residential development on about 1,500 acres. The current proposal calls for the county to acquire the development rights of the property…, rather than purchase the land. The owners would prefer an outright sale, if possible… Given that, negotiations are expected to include multiple possibilities, including adding a partner; acquiring the ranch in stages; seeking some restoration of the property, which is dominated by the invasive cogon grass, and potential public use for passive recreation. The Southwest Florida Water Management District identified the land years ago as worthy of preservation because of its proximity to the well fields and because it includes streams, reservoirs, marshes, wet prairies and wetland forests. About half the land is pasture.” Read Pasco County mulls preserving former Ft. King ranch
Temperance Morgan writes for the Miami Herald – “As Miami decision-makers begin to formulate how the $200-million Miami Forever bond is allocated, man-made solutions will clearly be a major part of the blueprint. Engineered measures like seawalls, breakwaters, and pump systems all will play prominent roles, although as Hurricane Irma made clear, there are limitations to what our existing manmande defenses can do. Likewise, the city of Miami Beach’s recent investment in major infrastructure to hold back rising waters has not yet yielded convincing results – something that newly elected Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and new Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber both have alluded to publicly. From The Nature Conservancy’s perspective – and based on our resiliency work in the United States and abroad – the Miami Forever initiative will be a true success only if it augments manmade fixes with nature-based solutions that can help mitigate the effects of rising seas and urban flooding. Establishing new reefs off our shores, planting new mangrove stands along the waterfront, re-nourishing beaches and dunes, and revitalizing coastal wetlands all are measures that should be considered to bolster Miami’s natural infrastructure.” Read Miami Forever funds can transform city’s ability to combat sea-level rise
Tim Croft reports for the Port St. Joe Star – “State and federal officials last week unveiled a proposal to expand Salinas Park, adding amenities such as an elevated boardwalk, viewing stations and pickle ball courts… The so-called Phase V.2 project expends funds remaining from dollars BP put up pre-settlement in Florida representing fines form the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill… If the Salinas Park proposal… is finalized it would begin with acquisition of 6.6 acres abutting the current bayside portion of the park. That acquisition would also help conserve another 8 acres of uplands and saltmarsh.” Read Project would bring Salinas Park expansion, improvements
Jim Saunders reports for the News Service of Florida – “With regulators poised to take up the issue in January, the Sierra Club is challenging the need for a new Florida Power & Light plant in Broward County… FPL wants to build an 1,163-megawatt natural gas plant that would replace two old generating units and begin operating in 2022… Sierra Club questioned whether the new plant is the most cost-effective way to meet electricity needs and whether increased use of renewable energy and conservation could help mitigate the need… But in a petition filed last month seeking the determination of need, FPL said building the new plant would save $337 million in the future compared to the costs of continuing to operate the older, more-inefficient generating units. The project also would use existing infrastructure at the site… ‘If the need determination is denied, FPL is projected to burn more natural gas for its generation needs than would be the case if the need determination for (the proposed plant) is approved compared to keeping the status quo,’ the petition said… The Public Service Commission… gave an initial boost to the project when it approved a request from FPL to be exempt from a requirement that could have forced the utility to seek possible alternatives to the proposed plant. The Sierra Club also objected to that request, contending it would allow FPL to ignore other options, such as using renewable energy.” Read Sierra Club questions need for new plant
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Levi Draheim… [is] one of 21 children across America who are suing the federal government for its failure to combat climate change… He’s also the only one from Florida, the state scientists say is most vulnerable to rising sea levels. The suit, filed in federal court in Oregon in 2015 with the help of a group called Our Children’s Trust, asserts that by promoting the use of fossil fuels and failing to do enough to stop climate change, government has violated the younger generation’s constitutional right to life, liberty and property. It also accuses the government of shirking its responsibility to protect essential public resources… A judge has now set it for trial in February. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco announced it would hear oral arguments on Dec. 11 on the Trump Administration’s objections to proceeding to trial… When Hurricane Irma hit,… [t]hree feet of water flooded [Levi’s] street.” Read Florida 10-year-old is one of 21 kids suing federal government over climate change
Temperance Morgan writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Catastrophic wildfires are larger and more frequent in our changing climate. And since more people live near forests, firefighting costs are increasing as well. This has reignited a discussion in Congress on how to cover the increased costs. As legislators consider additional disaster relief in response to recent hurricanes, lawmakers should also provide funding for fire suppression and change the way the U.S. pays to fight wildfires. When the U.S. Forest Service and Department of the Interior of the Interior do their annual budgeting, they have to plan for costs based on past fire seasons, but fires are increasing. More than 52,000 fires have burned this year, greater than each of the last five years for that same period… The Senate introduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act this fall, and the House of Representatives introduced a similar bill this summer. The Senate also added a fire-funding solution to a flood insurance bill. We think these comprehensive congressional approaches are important and we’ve been collaborating with a board coalition of environmental organizations to show wide and bipartisan support for a wildfire funding fix.” Read Congress must fix wildfire funding problem
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.
Upcoming Environmental Events
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
November 29, 9:00 am – Attend the Alachua County Delegation meeting at the Santa Fe College NW Campus Fine Arts Hall (3000 NW 83rd St) in Gainesville. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 7-8 – Attend the Annual Florida Remediation Conference in Orlando. The Conference includes two days of technical sessions on soil and groundwater cleanup, over 90 exhibitors, and a charity golf event. For more information, 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 email@example.com.
December 13, 12:45 pm – Attend the next Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in the Villages. Speakers include Sam Wartinbee who will discuss Villages Water-Related issues and Ranger Craig Littauer who will discuss opportunities at Silver Springs State Park. For more information and to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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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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.
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