Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “If commissioners vote to reject Mosaic’s request (to expand mining operations), they may face a court challenge. In 2008, Manatee County commissioners voted 4-3 to reject a Mosaic request to mine for phosphate rock on land in the headwaters of the Myakka River and Horse Creek. The company sued the county for $617 million, contending the decision amounted to the government taking its property without compensation. The county later reversed course and Mosaic dropped the lawsuit. Mosaic’s proposed mining expansion had already sparked controversy before the sinkhole occurred because it will destroy nearly 650 acres of wetlands and ruin habitat for…imperiled species…In addition to the zoning change, the company needs permission to mine in an area that’s supposed to be set aside to protect the Peace River watershed from pollution.” Read Mosaic’s first post-sinkhole test will be winning approval to expand Manatee mining
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Mosaic struck back Friday against allegations by two retired government hydrologists that they should have noticed a potential sinkhole forming beneath Mosaic’s Mulberry fertilizer plant a year before it caused contaminated water to leak into the aquifer…The statements from Mosaic and the DEP did not sway the Suncoast Waterkeeper from its demand for an investigation into whether the two could have done something to prevent the polluted water from being dumped into the aquifer…Mosaic is seeking permission from Manatee County to expand its mining footprint there…The County Commission is scheduled to vote Feb. 15.” Read Mosaic, DEP says hydrologists ‘fundamentally wrong’ that they ignored sinkhole forming
Amy Green reports for WMFE – “A central Florida legislator (Rep. Thad Altman) has filed the House companion bill to a Senate proposal calling for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee…” Read Central Florida Legislator Files House Companion Bill for Senate Reservoir Proposal
Carl Wernicke writes for the Pensacola News Journal– “U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz apparently knows little about the history of the district he represents in Congress. That conclusion stems from his proposal to eliminate the [EPA]. Because we in Northwest Florida are among the nation’s leading beneficiaries of the EPA’s efforts to clean up our toxic past…When Rep. Gaetz’s constituents eat mullet and crabs from northern Escambia Bay,…they also consume PCBs, a now-banned chemical leaked from a factory decades ago. When they eat fish from the Gulf of Mexico, they get the neurotoxin mercury that research strongly links to emissions from coal-burning power plants…Rep. Gaetz claims that federal regulations are a burden on us. I believe that being unable to trust the water that comes out of your faucet, or to worry that your unborn child can’t escape from toxic, man-made chemicals even in the womb, is a far greater burden.” Read Gaetz blind to ‘toxic legacy’ of his district
Andres Viglucci reports for the Miami Herald – “Henk Ovink, once the man in charge of making sure the flood-prone Netherlands stays dry, has been dispatched by his government to help the world figure out how to cope with sea level rise…He’s on a three-day tour of southern Florida…The good news, Ovink says: The Beach’s incremental approach, which involves rallying community support as it goes about raising streets and sidewalks, installing massive pumps to remove water, and rewriting its building and zoning codes…is…exemplary…Then comes the bad: ‘It’s not enough.’ ‘…[T]his is not a fix,’ Ovink says. ‘Every step you take is the base for the next step. You can never stop thinking about living with water.’…Surviving rising seas will require not just a concerted, long-term effort from government and urban planners, but a drastic change in culture.” Read He kept the Netherlands dry. Now he aims to defend Miami and the world from rising seas.
Kimberly Miller reports for the Palm Beach Post – “U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was the lead in filing a bill this week to keep scientists from being muzzled under the Trump administration, and previously received a promise from new Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that he would ‘focus on addressing the impacts’ of sea level rise…” Read Scientists shouldn’t be muzzled under Trump, Ross says impacts of rising seas on agenda
James Osborne reports for the Longview News Journal – “He has served under three presidents and advised some of the world’s largest companies…James Baker III, the former secretary of state who now sits atop the Houston law firm Baker Botts and its roster of oil and gas clients, is finding himself cast into a new role as an improbable hero of the movement to stop climate change. Baker…traveled to Washington as part of a newly formed coalition that includes former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Wal-Mart Chairman Rob Walton to press President Donald Trump to back a proposal that would place a tax on carbon emissions and then return that money to U.S. taxpayers through a dividend payment…At the same time, a border tax on carbon would be implemented to ‘protect American competitiveness and punish free-riding by other nations.’ And much of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon regulations – like the disputed Clean Power Plan – would be terminated.” Read Carbon tax idea receives a big lift
Michael Greshko reports for National Geographic – “[T]he… “Climate Leadership Council” – a consortium of Republican Party stalwarts including officials from the Reagan and both Bush administrations – unveiled their plan for a gradually increasing, revenue-neutral tax that puts a price on carbon dioxide emissions…The plan comes on the heels of polling showing that increasing numbers of Americans – including Trump voters – see the value of solving climate change. Just 28 percent of Trump voters think that the U.S. should back away from the Paris Agreement. More than six in ten of Trump voters support taxing or regulating the pollution that causes global warming…Even fossil fuel companies have thrown their support behind gradually increasing carbon taxes, since they would provide stable, predictable regulatory costs… ‘A carbon tax is certainly better than not doing anything, but people can pay a tax and not do anything,’ says Mark Jacobson, a Stanford civil-engineering professor and proponent of renewable-energy standards…Trump is on the record stating that he didn’t support a carbon tax. Trump’s counterparts in Congress appear even less willing to play ball.” Read U.S. Conservatives Unveil Plan to Flight Climate Change
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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