Greg Bluestein reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – “Georgia notched a victory in a long-running legal dispute with Florida on Tuesday when a judicial official urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject strict new water consumption limits that Georgia said would have struck a devastating blow to the state’s economy. The recommendation by Ralph Lancaster…found that Florida had ‘failed to show that a consumption cap’ was needed after five weeks of hearing testimony in the case…Lancaster’s finding is not final, as the high court can reject his recommendation or take another route. Congress could ultimately weigh in, and further lawsuits can’t be ruled out…Lancaster hinted…that Florida made a grievous tactical error by not including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a party to the lawsuit. ‘Without the Corps as a party, the Court cannot order the Corps to take any particular action,’ he wrote.” Read Georgia scores major victory in water wars feud with Florida
Tom Palmer writes for The Ledger – “[Florida’s] first meaningful growth management law was a reaction to decades of uncontrolled development that had reduced the quality of life in some communities and strained the public treasury in others…There was a satirical film titled “Come to Florida Before It’s Gone”…In that atmosphere, some far-sighted residents formed an organization called 1000 Friends of Florida…1000 Friends has championed taking the long view on planning, looking at fiscal and environmental sustainability that will discourage the urban sprawl that erodes natural areas and drains taxpayers’ pocketbooks…1000 Friends questioned the campaign to continually build new roads…Although supporters of these road projects always claimed they were designed to solve some traffic congestion problem, the reality is that their real purpose was to open rural land to development and their effect was to encourage more sprawl…1000 Friends has been involved in specific efforts to protect…the state’s springs and to…expand the network of conservation lands to preserve as much of Florida’s natural heritage as possible.” Read 1000 Friends of Florida seeks to protect state’s quality of life
Jim Ash reports for WFSU – “This year, Flores is Senate Pro-Temp – No. 2 in the political pecking order – and she’s co-sponsoring a statewide (fracking) ban. She says the message should be clear – any call for further studies, or strict regulations, is dead in her chamber. ‘This is a bit of a black-and-white issue. And so I don’t really see a majority of the Senate moving backwards from anything beyond a ban.’” Read Flores: Anything Short of Fracking Ban DOA in Senate
Kate Stein reports for WLRN – “About 30 protesters on Tuesday called for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to take action against the Sabal Trail Pipeline…, demanding Nelson respond to a letter and petition they delivered in December. In 2014, Nelson was one of the deciding votes against the Keystone XL Pipeline…Deborah Dion, one of the protest organizers, [said, ‘…he’s been silent on this issue.’” Read Sabal Trail Pipeline Protesters to Sen. Bill Nelson: Acknowledge Us
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “LTE research shows that failure to get more water flowing south could strangle the southern Glades, continuing the decline of fresh water marshes and too-salty Florida Bay, which also has been hammered by seagrass-killing algae blooms. The impact on Everglades peat has already been profound. Peat is a wetlands version of soil…It needs to stay submerged to accumulate, but too much saltwater can cause it to collapse. In the 990s, University of Miami professor Hal Wanless noticed large areas of peat were beginning to collapse. When the LTE began looking into it, they realized the pace was much faster than expected… ‘Once you lose that soil, it’s gone,’ [Dr. Gaiser] said. ‘You create a place where nothing can effectively grow. We’re not even sure mangroves can grow there.’” Read Coastal Everglades, deprived of fresh water, near unhealthy ‘tipping point’
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Two retired hydrologists who last week accused Mosaic and state regulators of ignoring signs of a sinkhole at a phosphogypsum plant a year before it drained polluted water into the aquifer now say they were wrong.” Read Hydrologists who accused Mosaic and DEP of missing sinkhole signs say they were wrong
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “A bike path and hiking trail that would have connected Miami to Naples along the Tamiami Trail hit a major roadblock Friday after opponents convinced a Collier County planning organization to withdraw support…The (Miccosukee) tribe, along with the Seminole Tribe, some environmentalists and outdoor groups, opposed it and on Friday presented a petition with 5,500 signatures to the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization… ‘Collier County was a major step because that was the largest portion of the pathway and the idea originated in Collier County,’ [Miccosukee Tribal member Betty Osceola] said.” Read Planning group withdraws support for Everglades bike path
Evan Halper reports for the Los Angeles Times – “[President Trump’s] secretary of State appears to see little upside in the president following through on the signature campaign vow to scrap [the Paris Climate Agreement]. His ambassador to the United Nations is hedging. And titans of industries that Trump promised would be unleashed to create new jobs once freed from the agreement’s constraints are openly hostile to Trump’s plan to put it through the shredder. Even the American Coal Council has yet to muster a tepid cheer for Trump’s denunciations of the United Nations-sponsored climate plan…Exxon Mobil is all in on Paris…so are DuPoint, Unilever and Monsanto…” Read Trump’s vow to scrap the Paris climate change accord faces skepticism from corporations, GOP moderates
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
February 15, 6:30 pm – Attend Troubled Waters: Tallahassee Screening and Panel Discussion at the Challenger Learning Center IMAX (200 South Duval St, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Florida’s waterways are suffering from significant pollution problems. Combined with the impacts from a rapidly growing population, we have a potential recipe for disaster. The documentary will be shown (48) minutes and followed by a panel discussion featuring Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper; Sarah Owen Gledhill, Florida Wildlife Federation; and Ryan Smart, 1000 Friends of Florida. For more information and your FREE tickets, click here.
March 8, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group Meeting at the Belvedere Library in The Villages, FL. Guest speakers will include Laura Seckbach Finn, the founder of Fly By Night, Inc., and Nigel Rudolph, from the Florida Public Archaeology Network. Laura will focus on Florida bats and Nigel will discuss the history and culture of the Crystal River. For more information and to RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
March 7-9 – Attend FGCU’s Biodiversity Conference in Fort Myers. For more information and to register, click here.
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