FCC News Brief - November 30, 2017

Gladys Delgadillo writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “Our climate is changing faster now than ever before in recorded history. Scientists warn us of terrifying storms, flooded roads, heat waves – even increased international aggression. We’re in the midst of the world’s sixth mass extinction event... [P]lant and animal species are dying off by the dozens every day, with iconic species like the Asian elephant vulnerable to going the way of the dinosaur. If we think Florida is isolated from all this international drama, we’re in denial. We’re part of the problem. But we can also be part of the solution. Protecting environmentally sensitive land is helpful in fighting both climate change and the extinction of species… Legislators have to remember that when they’re negotiating numbers around the table, deciding the funding that Florida Forever will receive, they’re not playing with any old political bargaining chip. They’re playing with real investments in the sustainability of our state and planet as we know it. The Legislature should dedicate the largest share of funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, approximately $300 million next year, to Florida’s land conservation programs.” Read Florida, allocate enough funds to land conservation to make a difference

Amy Green reports for WMFE – “Among the starkest markers of sea level rise are what scientists describe as ghost forests, coastal thickets left in waste by creeping salt water. Scientists say it’s happening now at a dramatic rate and are working to understand the ramifications for the landscape, wildlife and local community… ‘The ecosystem can move,’ [Kaplan] says. ‘It can transition inland and upland, but only if we do things to protect and preserve natural areas in the places where sea level rise is going to cause these ecosystems to move.’” Read On Florida Costs, Ghost Forests Serve as Stark Sign of Sea Level Rise

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch writes for the TC Palm – “For too long, Florida’s natural treasures have been put on the back burner by politics… With tourism being Florida’s star economic contributor, we cannot risk the decline of our natural resources. Florida’s population has increased by nearly 3 million in the last decade and is one of the fastest-growing states in the United States. I think many Floridians agree environmental matters deserve better representation in government. As a commissioner serving on the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission, and chair of the CRC General Provisions Committee, I have taken charge of environmental concerns expressed to me by the public and have filed the following five proposals to revise our state constitution: 1.) Ensure right to a clean and healthful environment… 2. Create a commissioner of environmental protection… 3. Fix the Land Acquisition Trust Fund… 4. Empower the FWC to protect wildlife corridors… 5. Prohibit oil and gas drilling… in specified coastal waters.” Read Five ways we can protect Florida’s environment in the state constitution

Jim Rosica reports for Florida Politics – “Business interests brought out a panoply of former state officials, judges and others Tuesday to heap criticism on a proposed state constitutional amendment to expand the right to bring environmental-related lawsuits… The Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida opposes the proposal (P23), which was not formally considered Tuesday by the Judicial Committee of the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC)… [The proposal] says that ‘… Every person has a right to a clean and healthful environment, including clean air and water… and the conservation and restoration of the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the environment as provided by law.’ The last sentence causes the greatest heartburn: ‘Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, subject to reasonable limitations, as provided by law.’ritics say this will open the floodgates to litigation… But Aliki Moncrief, the executive director of Florida Conservation Voters, told commissioners ‘… I don’t see the parade of horribles articulated today.’ Moncrief, a former DEP lawyer, went on to call the proposed amendment ‘a slight course correction.’ When Commissioner Arthenia Joyner noted there’s already a right to sue in the state’s Environmental Protection Act, Moncrief said that right has been ‘chipped away.’” Read Business interests lambaste environmental amendment

Susan Salisbury reports for the Palm Beach Post – “A federal lawsuit asserting that Florida Power & Light violated the Clean Water Act due to contaminated water discharges at its Turkey Point nuclear plant is set to go to trial next year. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Friends of the Everglades and Tropical Audubon Society claimed a win after… U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles’ Nov. 21 denial of FPL’s motion to dismiss the case. The trial is scheduled to begin May 29. The setting of trial date comes just weeks before state regulators are scheduled to decide if FPL customers will be charged for the costs of cleaning up the groundwater pollution at the site.” Read Groups win round in court over FPL’s Turkey Point pollution

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Nick Wiley… has announced he is resigning [from his] post (as executive director of the FWC) after eight years… Wiley… is the rare agency head in Florida who worked his way up the ranks. He started in 1987 as a wildlife biologist at what was then known as the Game and Fresh water fish commission… In his time leading the agency, he dealt with everything from the 2010 BP oil spill to the death of a toddler killed at Disney World by an alligator to a two-year sting operation that resulted in the arrest of nine men for poaching alligator eggs. He oversaw the agency’s Python Challenges in 2013 and 2016… and also its controversial bear hunt in 2015… The bear hunt was supposed to last for a week, but Wiley shut it down after just two days because hunters had shot nearly the entire quota for the week. Wiley then convinced commissioners not to hold another hunt until at least 2019 by showing them an opinion poll that demonstrated a lack of public support for bear hunting. Two years ago he unveiled a proposal for changing the way the agency manages the endangered Florida panther population that sparked such a public backlash that the commissioners shelved the discussion for three months. Records showed Wiley had put it together in consultation with one commissioner,… Liesa Priddy, who has repeatedly lost calves to hungry panthers, and had not shown it to the agency’s panther experts until it was done. As a result of the uproar, Wiley then changed the proposed policy to take the focus off the loss of livestock.” Read Wildlife commission executive director joins commission chairman in stepping down

Isabella Vi Gomes reports for Miami New Times – “Nearly three months ago, Hurricane Irma destroyed thousands of boats in marinas as it spun through the Sunshine State. Workers have spent weeks towing the vessels to shore and clearing out the debris, but hundreds of boats remain smashed and sunken in coastal waterways. And now marine scientists warn that the decaying wreckage could harm delicate local ecosystems. ‘Many of these vessels are located in shallow seagrass and mangrove habitats and on sensitive bird and sea turtle nesting beaches, which has the potential to cause ongoing physical impacts to those ecosystems,’ says Gena Parsons, a spokesperson for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary… ‘Fuel, oils, batteries and other hazardous materials onboard many of these vessels [can be] a threat to fish, wildlife, sensitive ecosystems, and a threat to public health…,’ Parsons says.” Read Thousands of Boats Wrecked by Irma Could Pollute Florida’s Ecosystems

Rick Morgan reports for Sarasota Magazine – “[H]ead to Oscar Scherer State Park on a Sunday morning to join a guided Florida scrub jay walk… Just 17 to 18 [Florida scrub jays] are estimated to call the nearly 1,400-acre state park off Tamiami Trail in Osprey home. Florida scrub jays do not migrate and are the only birds that live exclusively in Florida (and one of only 15 bird species unique to the United States). As their habitat has diminished, their population has declined by 90 percent since the turn of the last century, earning them the classification of “threatened” from state and federal wildlife agencies. The park’s oak flatwoods and sandy clearings make it the place to see scrub jays; rangers conduct controlled burns and manage the vegetation to preserve the habitat… [T]he friendly birds have been known to hop on hiker’s heads and ride along for a bit. The park has 15 miles of trails and there’s an accessible trail for people with disabilities.” Read Meet the Threatened Florida Scrub Jay




From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Associate Director for the Center for Earth Jurisprudence

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



Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

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 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 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 Boulevard) 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.

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 resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

December 15, 10:00 AM - Attend the Miami-Dade County Delegation meeting at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, Miami-Dade County Board of County Commission Chambers (111 NW 1st Street, 2nd Floor) in Miami. 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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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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