FCC News Brief - December 5, 2017

Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida – “Gov. Rick Scott… appointed Sonya Rood… to replace (FWC) Commissioner Aliese “Liesa” Priddy… and Gary Nicklaus… to succeed Commissioner Ronald Bergeron… Both appointments, which were effective Friday, are ultimately subject to state Senate confirmation… Rood… is the wife of John Rood, a former member of the commission who founded the real estate company The Vestcor Companies and is a Scott appointee on the business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida. Nicklaus… is a former professional golfer, is on the board of the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, and is vice chairman of the Nicklaus Companies… Priddy, who had been named to serve as interim chairwoman upon Yablonski’s exist, had continued serving on the commission after her term expired in January 2017. Bergeron’s term had expired on Aug. 1… With the appointments, the commission still has two members continuing to serve beyond the expiration of their terms. The terms of Richard Hanas… and Bo Rivard… both ended on Aug. 1.” Read Scott appoints Gary Nicklaus to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

Cindy Swirko reports for the Herald Tribune – “ ‘The bottom line is sea level has fluctuated up and down in the past. What’s different is that it is accelerating at an unprecedented rate today,’ Marquardt (curator of South Florida Archaeology and Ethnography Program) said. ‘People will have to adapt, and moving away from the water or abandoning properties that are no longer viable is something that Indians had to do and we will have to do as well. This is going to happen.’… How many… will eventually move, and where they will move to, is anyone’s guess… A widely-cited study by Hauer published in Nature Climate Change… estimates that 13.1 million people nationwide could be forced to move from coastal areas by 2100. Florida is forecast to produce the highest number of migrants because it has a lot of coastline and a lot of people living along the water… Of the 13.1 million who will be forced to move, about half will be Floridians… Miami-Dade County residents account for one-quarter of the total. A net population loss of 2 million is expected for Florida… That indicates that state residents who do decide to get away from the coast will move inland rather than to another state… Hauer believes the Orlando area will increasingly be a destination… Neither Orange County nor Orlando leaders are looking that far ahead, yet. Orange County spokeswoman Doreen Overstreet said the county is planning right now for a more immediate migration – Puerto Ricans are pouring into the county rather than staying on the island decimated by Hurricane Maria… Gainesville is another city along Florida’s spine that could be an attractive destination for coastal residents fleeing rising seas, and the city has started considering the ramifications, Mayor Lauren Poe said.” Read Patterns in the sand: Sea level rise forced earlier migrations

Tom McLaughlin reports for The Walton Sun – “Determined to find the money needed to stand up a Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Program, the coalition established to run such an entity has solicited support from local legislators in seeking a state appropriation. In fact, the Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Coalition is not only requesting $2 million in state funds for itself, it has also asked for an additional $2 million that would allow its neighbors to the east to set up a St. Andrews Bay Estuary Program in Bay County… State Rep. Mel Ponder… and state Sen. George Gainer… have each introduced bills calling for the $4 million appropriation. The money would fund ‘a non-regulatory program that would work to improve the waters, habitats, living resources and economies of the Choctawhatchee and St. Andrews Bay watersheds,’ according to a House bill summary… If the $4 million is approved by the state it would be a one-time appropriation… Most of the allocated dollars, $2.1 million, would go toward hiring two executive directors, two lead scientists, and a “grants person,” according to the bill summary. Another $500,000 would be put toward developing a master plan.” Read Lawmakers request dollars for regional estuary programs

Bill DiPaolo reports for the Palm Beach Post – “A green sea turtle nest north of the Juno Beach Pier was recorded on Nov. 2, the latest ever one of the nests was found… The nest will probably incubate through late January. The eight-month sea turtle nesting season ended Oct. 31, which was another record breaking year with a total of 10,089 nests. ‘(Finding the green sea turtle nest was) not entirely surprising due to the record breaking green turtle nesting season that we had this year, ‘ Hirsch (of Loggerhead Marinelife Center) said…” Read Green sea turtle nest – the latest ever – found on Juno Beach

Tom Randall reports for Bloomberg – “For the first time in 40 years, power plants are no longer the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. That dubious distinction now belongs to the transportation sector: cars, trucks, planes, trains and boats. The big reversal didn’t happen because transportation emissions have been increasing. In fact, since 2000 the U.S. has experienced the flattest stretch of transportation-related pollution in modern record keeping, according to data complied by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The big change has come from the cleanup of America’s electric grid.” Read America Crowns a New Pollution King

Lindsey McPherson reports for Roll Call – “A dozen House Republicans, half of whom voted for the House tax overhaul bill that passed Nov. 12, wrote a letter to GOP leaders urging them not to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge… ‘For decades, Congress has voted to prohibit oil and gas development in the Refuge, with the overwhelming support of the American public,’ the group wrote… The House tax bill did not include an ANWR component. The members who signed the letter include six who voted for the House tax bill: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, Ryan A. Costello and Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, Dave Reichert of Washington, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Carlos Curbelo of Florida.” Read 12 House Republicans Sign Letter Opposing Arctic Drilling

Juliet Eilperin reports for The Washington Post – “President Trump plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument nearly by half, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post that show the Utah sites would be cut even more than administration officials previously signaled… The move will represent the most significant reductions by any president to designations made under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president unilateral authority to protect imperiled sites on federal lands and in federal waters. The new proclamations, which also will split up both monuments into several smaller ones, would cut the overall size of Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante from nearly 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres… A coalition of conservation groups and tribes… are prepared to fight the changes in court. While Congress can alter national monuments easily through legislation, presidents have reduced their boundaries only on rare occasions. Woodrow Wilson nearly halved the acreage of Mount Olympus National Monument, which Theodore Roosevelt had established six years earlier. In 1938, the U.S. attorney general wrote a formal opinion saying the Antiquities Act authorized presidents to establish a monument but did not grant them the right to abolish one. Several current legal scholars argue that Congress indicated in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 that it reserved the right to alter any existing monument. Kate Kelly, public lands director for the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, said in an email… that the administration’s plan would amount ‘to the largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history’ and would affect ‘an area more than six times the size of the Grant Tetons.’” Read Trump to cut Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent, Grand Staircase-Escalante by half, documents show

Bruce Babbitt writes for The New York Times – “America’s wild places survive by the grace of a human promise. For more than 150 years, it has been an article of collective faith and national pride that once we protect a wild place, it is to be safeguarded for all time… President Trump will try to shatter that promise. The president… [announced] that he is repealing protections for as many as two million acres of public land in the American West… His interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, has overturned a ban on mining on 10 million acres of wildlife habitat in the West and, against the wishes of republican and Democratic governors there, is undermining a regionally developed plan to conserve the sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Mr. Zinke’s action will threaten habitat that protects 350 wildlife species and push at least one bird, the greater sage-grouse, closer to the brink of extinction. His commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, has completed a secret review of national marine sanctuaries and national marine monuments to determine which protected ocean areas should be thrown open for offshore drilling and industrial-scale commercial fishing… In Congress, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, has added an environmental rider to the Republican tax plan that would require the government to lease part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling… The architects of these attacks are aiming to help private companies make a quick buck off unspoiled lands and waters. But, more fundamentally, they are seeking to undercut the idea of permanence that is the foundation for the protection of all America’s wildlife refuges, national monuments, parks and protected areas… We must rise up, speak out, and… demand an end to this desecration of our national heritage.” Read Trump is Vandalizing Our Wild Heritage




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    

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 10, 2:00 pm – Attend “Leaving an Environmental Legacy” in Sanford. Aliki Moncrief will explain how funds from the Water and Land Conservation Amendment are being spent and how you can help ensure that policy makers are doing the right thing for our environment. 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.


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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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