Sean Kinane reports for WMNF – “The Mosaic fertilizer company has gotten approval for expanded phosphate mining in eastern Manatee County…Two commissioners, Charles. B. Smith and Robin DiSabatino, voted to deny the expanded mining, but they were out-numbered.” Read Manatee County approves expanded phosphate mining by Mosaic
Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico – “U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Neal Dunn said…they were introducing legislation in response to a Supreme Court official’s siding with Georgia in its dispute with Florida over water…[The] legislation would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to review other studies and data related to freshwater flows in the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers and provide recommendations on how to maintain those flows…Nelson filed similar legislation in 2013 but it was not included in a federal water bill that passed that year…Georgia’s legislative delegation has successfully blocked legislation that it believes would benefit Florida at the expense of Georgia’s water use. The senator’s proposed study would have to be conducted before the Corps of Engineers issues an updated water control manual for the federal hydropower dams and reservoirs it operates on the Chattahoochee River. Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio…had asked the Corps last December to delay the manual update. But the agency instead moved ahead, granting Georgia an increase in water use from the Chattahoochee River through 2050… ‘I am sending a letter to the Army Corps today, with support from several of my Florida colleagues in Congress, calling for it to halt implementation and meet with stakeholders immediately to discuss the Corps’ water control practices at the ACF River Basin,’ Dunn said…Dan Tonsmeire of Apalachicola Riverkeeper said…that he hoped the Supreme Court would use Lancaster’s recommendation to pull the Corps of Engineers and Alabama into the lawsuit.” Read Sen. Nelson, Congressman Dunn respond to Supreme Court action in Apalachicola River case
Eric Draper writes for the Naples Daily News – “[J]ust north of [Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary], new owners recently started planning…development. This concerns us because we once thought the majority of agricultural land in Collier and Lee counties would stay that way – low-density uses maintaining a nice, green boundary. With nearly 1,000 people moving to Florida every day, the loss of agricultural land and natural areas is occurring at a shocking rate. We are losing open space at a rate of more than a square mile a day…[I]f we can plan for the big pieces of land, before they get carved up, we have a shot at saving some very special places. Audubon’s preference is public purchase of conservation lands, especially to protect water resources…Agreements have to be reached with the people who still own large tracts. For the benefit of our water, wildlife and people, we must use all the tools in the toolbox to save as much of natural Florida as possible.” Read Conservation by large tract owners is key
Ledyard King reports for USA Today – “Fully upgrading the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee could be done three years ahead of schedule if Congress appropriates the full amount this year to complete the project, a senior Army Corps of Engineers official told a gathering of congressional lawmakers from Florida on Wednesday…But persuading Congress to pony up the $800 million for the dike – not to mention funds for dozens of other Everglades related projects – won’t be easy considering the limited resources and competing interests on Capitol Hill, said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz…” Read Florida lawmakers gather in Washington to push water agenda
Alex Leary reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Florida’s congressional delegation…has successfully joined together to fight oil drilling efforts. Now the lawmakers are seeking common cause on a broader array of water quality issues facing the state.” Read Congressional delegation vows to tackle Florida’s many water issues
Darryl Fears reports for The Washington Post – “A Senate hearing to ‘modernize the Endangered Species Act’ unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs…[T]he view is in lockstep with the Trump administration…The Endangered Species Act…has…saved the bald eagle, California condor, gray wolves, black-footed ferret, American alligator and Florida manatee from likely extinction…There was no discussion…of continued human expansion into the habitats of hundreds of species as their numbers dwindle…Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) tried to make the point with a question…Referring to research published in the journals Science and Conservation Biology that the rate of extinction across species is 1,000 times the rate before human expansion, Carper asked…whether they believed the finding that Earth is on the verge of a sixth mass extinction.” Read The Endangered Species Act may be heading for the threatened list. This hearing confirmed it.
Kavya Balaraman reports for E&E News – “While countless scientific reports have documented the ravages of climate change on oceanic life, a survey of the researchers who wrote them provides a silver lining: An overwhelming majority noticed examples of sea life withstanding climate change…In Western Australia, for instance, a reef lost 90 percent of its live coral after a bleaching event. But 12 years later, it had restored itself to 44 percent of its normal size…Conservationists can use the results of the survey as a template to identify factors that contribute to resilience.” Read Marine Ecosystems Are Preparing for Climate Change
Yale Environment 360 reports – “Humans are changing the climate 170 times faster than natural forces, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal The Anthropocene Review.” Read Scientists Find Equation to Demonstrate Impact of Human Activity on Climate Change
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
March 22, 10:00 AM – Participate in Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. Floridians will make their voices heard by speaking directly with their elected officials on key energy and water issues facing Florida. Public transportation from several cities across the state will be offered, as will advocacy training on March 21st. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
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