The TC Palm Editorial Board writes – “[D]o you -… as a Floridian – have a right to a ‘clean and healthful environment?’… Jacqui Thurlow-Lippsich,… a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, thinks so. As such, she’s sponsoring an amendment that would, among other things, permit Floridians to bring lawsuits when ‘environmental degradation either violates the adopted standard or causes special injury,’… Associated Industries of Florida denounced the proposal as ‘extremely vague’ and likely to mire businesses in lawsuits and uncertainty…. Its complaints about the vagueness of the measure, and the potential ramifications for business, are legitimate concerns. As such, we don’t know that we can support this amendment as it’s currently written. Nonetheless, we do think there’s a clear case to be made for the sentiment, for the idea that Floridians have, or should have, an explicit, constitutional right to clean air and water… Thurlow-Lippisch’s proposed amendment might not survive the current fusillade directed against it. But even if the proposal goes away, the issue won’t. And it mustn’t.” Read A right to a clean environment? Let’s talk about it
Patricia Borns reports for News Press – “The Department of Environmental Protection admonished the City of Fort Myers… for its ‘lack of communication with us and all other stakeholders’ regarding its contaminated sludge site amidst an African American neighborhood. The sternly worded letter to City Manager Saeed Kazemi came on the heels of a News-Press story reporting new test results with elevated arsenic levels; results the city failed to share with the public, or, apparently, the DEP… For half a century, the former city lime sludge dump had sat unremediated and open to unsuspecting families who were never told about its contamination until The News-Press revealed it in June.” Read DEP blasts Fort Myers for keeping public in the dark about toxic sludge site
Daniel Cusick reports for E&E News – “The slate of Florida municipalities taking action on climate change is poised to add Sarasota… The city’s membership will become formal after it presents a climate adaptation plan to elected officials on Monday. The nearly 100-page document… [identifies] the risks to public health and infrastructure from rising sea levels, storm surges, warming temperatures and other climate phenomena… Sarasota recently committed to meet 100 percent of the city’s energy needs with renewables resources by 2045, with an interim goal of meeting all energy demand by municipal buildings with renewables by 2030… [T]he draft calls on officials to ‘utilize scientific climate data… to inform long range planning, zoning and administrative decisions.’” Read Local action grows in South Fla. As state hems, haws
Jerry Iannelli reports for Miami New Times – “[A]ccording to a new study published this week, Florida stands to lose nearly 6,000 archaeological and historic sites by 2100 if seas rise by just one meter… ‘The displacement of millions of people due to rising seas will cause additional impacts where these populations resettle. Sea level rise will thus result in the loss of much of the record of human habitation of the coastal margin in the Southeast within the next one to two centuries, and the numbers indicate the magnitude of the impact on the archaeological record globally.’… ‘Furthermore, not only are these coastal and near-coastal resources threatened by inundation and erosion, but they will also be threatened by efforts to prevent or delay the loss of coastal land through massive infrastructure projects like sea walls… While such activities may slow or even halt the inland advance of coastal waters in some areas, they would also likely cause significant damage and destruction to existing heritage resources.’” Read Florida Will Lose 6,000 Historic Sites to Sea-Level Rise by 2100, Scientists Warn
Brett Hartl writes for The Hill – “It was only 12 months ago that Dow Chemical was facing double-barrel trouble regarding its brain-damaging, endangered species-killing pesticide, chlorphyrifos. So compelling was the evidence that he highly toxic organophosphate caused permanent brain damage and learning disabilities in children, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in November 2016 that it would be banning use of the pesticide on crops. Already, earlier in the year, the EPA had announced… it had found that chlorpyrifos killed or harmed 97 percent of the nation’s 1,800 protected plants and animals. The evidence of risk was overwhelming, indicating with high certainty that the pesticide was killing and/or harming hundreds of protected species, including bighorn sheep, caribou, Florida panthers, grizzly bears, frogs…, butterflies, bees and dozens of fish and bird species. Then Donald Trump took office. Within days newly appointed EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced he was reversing the planned ban on chlorpyrifos… A draft bill by Dow that’s now floating around the halls of Congress would forbid the EPA from even assessing the harms pesticides pose to endangered species unless the pesticide requests those assessments… Dow [is continuing] to profit from the sale of 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos annually in the U.S., where it will continue to routinely be sprayed on crops like almonds, walnuts, grapes, broccoli, oranges, corn, peanuts, plums and wheat. And thanks to the dangerous pesticide’s tendency to volatilize and drift up to a mile after being applied, it will continue to routinely find its way into the bloodstreams of hundreds of endangered species and the brains of children living near fields where the Trump EPA insists the risks are worth the profits.” Read Let’s just pretend pesticides don’t harm wildlife
Brian Call writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “Buried within the U.S. House and Senate budget resolutions is a provision that would authorize drilling on the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain. The 1.5-million-acre Arctic Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the refuge, providing habitat for Arctic foxes, muskoxen, brown bears, wolves and 200 bird species that migrate from all 50 states and six continents. The Coastal Plain is the principal calving ground of one of North America’s last great caribou herds, and our most important onshore denning habitat for polar bears. The refuge is also vitally important to the Gwich’in Nation; they call the Coastal Plain… ‘the sacred place where life begins.’… [I]f the current budget passes the Gwich’in people would lose their home and way of life… [T]he Arctic Refuge… deserves our support and our strongest voices for its protection, even from as far away as Florida… And as Floridians take the long road to recovery after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it couldn’t be clearer that we need to move far away from this dirty energy source that is continuing to hurt our planet… Some places are too special to drill, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of them.” Read Back to the battlefield for the Arctic Refuge?
Greg Toppo reports for USA Today – “[S]everal students did a bit of research and soon learned that the state of Florida has no sex education requirement at the high school level. That, they thought, was worth changing. At first, the students believed this was just another ‘how-government-works’ exercise. But Howell, an AP government teacher at Hialeah Gardens High School…, broke the news to them: This was real. If they were serious about sex ed, they would lobby the state legislature in Tallahassee to get the law changed… ‘… You’re actually going to make phone calls,’ she said. ‘You’re actually going to email people. You might have to attend a meeting or two.’ They were kind of nervous. The butterflies come courtesy of a new ‘effective citizenship’ program for young people modeled on unusual idea: If Americans want to learn how government works, reading about it or watching on TV isn’t sufficient. They must do something – get their hands dirty and solve intractable problems. This is also the basic premise of America: The Owner’s Manual, a recent book co-authored by retired U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, whose work on civic engagement inspired the program. It’s being piloted throughout the Miami area… Graham graduated from high school in 1955 and recalled that in junior high school and high school he took three full-year civics courses. ‘Today, it’s almost disappeared from the curriculum,’ he said.” Read New approach to civics education: Do something real
Ariel Scotti reports for New York Daily News – “Temperatures could play a key role in shaping the personalities of people and, if scientists are correct, climate change could have a major effect on the traits humans develop.” Read Climate change might affect people’s personalitie
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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 5, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs. December’s lecture is on Springs Chemistry with FSI Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 – 2427.
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 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.
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 email@example.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 send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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