The Pensacola News Journal Editorial Board writes – “Escambia County: First in Florida for toxic disposal… One of the worst in the nation? What kind of place is that for children to grow up?... [I]t’s yet another sad example of local government permitting industrial pollution in a poorer area of the county that would not be tolerated near more affluent neighborhoods in Gulf Breeze, East Hill, Pensacola Beach or Perdido Key. It is unjust and immoral to permit harmful activity near poor communities while upholding higher standards of stewardship for wealthier and more educated citizens. Ultimately, we all pay a price, rich and poor alike, as environmental negligence leaves a damning and irreparable legacy for the entire area. At some point, a community must be tough enough to ask if the jobs and industry are worth the damage to our environment and reputation… County and business leaders should focus on ending this sad cycle once and for all, by committing to better standards, policies and industries that are the polar opposite of the toxic behavior that got us here. There are poignant community models for such a reversal. Communities such as Cleveland, Chattanooga and Birmingham have intentionally changed course and reinvented themselves after toxic and industrial pasts. Creative leaders committed to an environmental future (and the resulting economic health) brought rejuvenation to these cities that once looked hopelessly damaged. Our area needs to do the same – or else.” Read First in Florida: Is this our toxic legacy?
Florida Politics reports – “Gov. Rick Scott… announced the appointment of Sonya Rood and Gary Nicklaus to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Rood, 53, of St. Augustine, succeeds Aliese “Liesa” Priddy and is appointed for a term ending Jan. 2, 2022. Nicklaus, 48, of Jupiter, succeeds Ronald Bergeron and is appointed for a term ending Aug. 1, 2022… These appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.” Read Two new appointees join FWC
Irene Gomes writes for the TC Palm – “I agree with Blair Wickstrom, the publisher of Florida Sportsman magazine, that the time has come for an Environmental Chamber of Commerce to form. This is long overdue and I hope other interested business owners will reach out to him.” Read Polluted water affects our economy
Deepa Fernandes reports for PRI – “[P]art of Satellite Beach is projected to be sitting in water by 2050. The city’s plan includes restoring dunes and buying up some threatened properties and turning them into parks, raising roads, putting in bigger pipes to drain away flood waters and relocating critical infrastructure like the fire station. It’s all important and necessary work. But a tiny city like Satellite Beach can only do so much on its own because it doesn’t control key parts of its infrastructure… And in Brevard County, Satellite Beach is the only city planning for climate change. In response to queries for this story, Brevard County officials said flooding and erosion was the domain of emergency responders. No planning, just funds to respond… In the absence of leadership from the top, Wanless (chairman of the Geology Department at the University of Miami) applauds the efforts of Satellite Beach to prepare… Yet he can’t help but wonder if it’s all just postponing the inevitable. ‘Wouldn’t it be cheaper to help people move on rather than having to try to re-establish an infrastructure in a place that’s now too vulnerable, too low to make it really work?’ he asks. ‘You could use that money to help people relocate.’… How do you ask people to let go of the place they live in and love?... ‘Ultimately, in the latter half of this century there will have to be some kind of organized or disorganized retreat off of these low areas and on to higher ground,’ says Randal Parkinson, of Florida International University’s Sea Level Research Center. ‘How that is worked out, right now nobody knows,’ Parksinson says. ‘But they are beginning to talk about it at least.’” Read One small Florida city tries to adapt to climate change, mostly alone
Stephen Hudak reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “State wildlife experts poured thousands of baby largemouth bass… into Lake Apopka… This was the second straight year FWC added the game fish to the state’s fourth-largest lake, once considered the bass capital of the world and more recently known as one of Florida’s most polluted water bodies… The restocking is part of a long-term, $250 million restoration plan for Lake Apopka… [R]ecreational fishing in Florida accounts annually for $9.6 billion in economic activity and supports 128,000 jobs.” Read Lake Apopka gets a fresh load of largemouth bass
The Naples Daily News Editorial Board writes – “Before Hurricane Irma dumped more than 10 inches of rain in September, Collier County had a drainage problem. Collier had a stormwater problem before late August when nearly 10 inches was recorded in the Naples area in less than a week… There was a problem before Tropical Storm Emily dropped more than 7 inches of rainfall here… The problem [is] the way money is dedicated through the county’s general operating budget to maintain the county’s stormwater system… [C]ounty officials said there’s $7 million to $8 million available yearly to maintain the drainage system through county taxpayer dollars and money from the Big Cypress Basin, a Collier arm of the South Florida Water Management District. The challenge is to stretch that money to take care of more than 120 miles of canals, 370-plus miles of storm sewer pipes, 6,000 inlets along curbs, 65 major stormwater control devices like weirs, and more… Commissioners wisely agreed to continue moving forward with the idea of creating a stormwater utility in the unincorporated area that would raise money based on per-property fees starting in 2019… The Naples City Council has been visionary with a decades-old commitment to stormwater management and a utility that now assesses more than $150 a year to properties to generate some $5 million… [A]bout 165 stormwater utilities exist in the state’s 67 counties and 410 cities… [T]his isn’t just about harnessing the volume of water. It’s also about curtailing pollution of waterways as stormwater drains.” Read Right course to pursue local stormwater utility
Timothy Gardner reports for Reuters – “National environmental groups waging legal battles against energy projects are delaying approval of U.S. natural gas pipelines, a top federal energy regulator said…” Read Climate activists delay U.S. gas pipeline approvals: regulator
David “Lefty” Durando writes for the TC Palm – “I am all for the reform of our tax code. But I do not support efforts to use that legislation as an excuse to tack on proposals too unpopular with the American people to pass on their own. I strongly oppose a provision that would turn over the biological heart of our most spectacular national wildlife refuge to the oil industry. Certain interests that want to see drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have been trying to get such a bill through Congress for 30 years. They have failed because most citizens want to protect this natural treasure… My family has been in the ranching business in Central and South Florida since the mid-1800s, and like other ranchers here, I want to do my part to protect our state’s natural lands and wildlife… Some members of Congress… maintain that [this drilling proposal] will bring in $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury, thus covering some of the tax cuts. Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, said drilling ‘will not bring taxpayers the revenues we need, and it surely won’t put a dent in the $1.5 trillion the tax proposal will saddle us with. It’s time to put this phantom revenue idea to rest and get back to the real work of paying for this proposal.’ I am urging those who represent me in Congress to vote against this idea and find more plausible ways to avoid running up our national debt.” Read Tax bill threatens Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
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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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