Wayne Washington reports for the Palm Beach Post – “U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has announced his opposition to President Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt… ‘Ever since I was a young congressman, I have been fighting to keep oil rigs off the coast of Florida,’ Nelson said. ‘And an EPA administrator with such close ties to the oil industry is deeply concerning for the people of Florida.’…U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz…has introduced legislation to terminate the [EPA.] Several members of Pam Beach County’s congressional delegation have blasted that idea.” Read Nelson announces opposition to Trump’s EPA pick
Timothy Cama reports for The Hill – “A state judge Thursday ordered Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office to turn over what could be thousands of documents to a liberal group that has sought them for two years. The order came a day before the Senate plans to vote on confirming Pruitt to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency…[T]he Center for Media and Democracy (CMD)…had sought [Pruitt’s] office’s communications with various fossil fuel and conservative interests…Senate Democrats had used the emails and their pending release to repeatedly push Republican leaders to delay a vote on Pruitt, until after the documents could be released and senators could review them…Democrats had asked Pruitt for the documents as part of his confirmation process, but he declined and asked the senators to file public records requests themselves.” Read Judge orders release of EPA nominee’s emails
Coral Davenport reports for The New York Times – “The Senate…confirmed Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency…Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Mr. Pruitt…Senate Democrats railed all night on the Senate floor against Mr. Pruitt and urged Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, to delay the confirmation vote until after next Tuesday, when the Oklahoma attorney genera’s office is under order to release about 3,000 of Mr. Pruitt’s emails related to his communications with the fossil fuel industry…Within days of Mr. Pruitt’s swearing-in, Mr. Trump is expected to sign one or more executive orders aimed at undoing Mr. Obama’s climate change policies…” Read Senate Confirms Scott Pruitt as E.P.A. Head
Jennie McKeon reports for NWF Daily News – “”Matt Gaetz will be making his first stop as congressman next week…to hear thoughts and concerns from his constituents…On Feb. 23, Gaetz will tour the Milton area making several stops starting with coffee at the Kiwanis Clubs of Milton and Pace and ending with a town hall gathering at Oops Alley Bowling and Restaurant. Gaetz will be met with some opposition as local Democrats have planned a peaceful protest against the freshman congressman at his 12 p.m. stop at Grover T’s BBQ Restaurant…The Facebook page announcing the protest was created shortly after news hit of Gaetz introducing a bill that calls for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be dissolved by the end of 2018.” Read Matt Gaetz to host open house in Milton; protesters expected
Daniella Ola reports for PV Tech – “[One of] Florida’s Senate [committee’s] has unanimously approved SB 90, a bill that would implement Amendment 4, which makes solar and renewable energy equipment on commercial buildings exempt from property taxes for 20 years, beginning in 2018.” Read Florida Senate committee passes bill to implement Amendment 4
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “Antonacci…said the state already owns enough land for the [EAA reservoir]…The land’s availability is uncertain: Half the site is now a shallow reservoir used to clean water coming off farmland; the other half is earmarked to be a similar structure. A 2015 report by the University of Florida Water Institute…suggests the state ‘reconsider’ using the site for a deep reservoir rather than the shallow ones…The proposed reservoir (south of Lake Okeechobee) would be able to hold up to 120 billion gallons. Opponents of the plan say that’s a figurative drop in the bucket…but proponents…stress the project would provide ‘dynamic’ rather than ‘static’ storage: The reservoir would not just hold water, it would continuously send water south…Over the course of a year, the reservoir would…[send] 360 billion to 480 billion gallons of water to the Everglades…Water…would be sent through an existing system of…stormwater treatment areas and…water conservation areas. Both clean water before it reaches Everglades National Park. Sugar…officials…said there’s no room for additional water in the system when Lake Okeechobee is discharging…but because the reservoir will be sending water south throughout the dry season, Lake O will be low by the time discharges start and have more room to hold water rather than send it to the estuaries.” Read Sen. Joe Negron: Reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee is ‘indispensable’
Laura Ruane reports for News Press – “As Northern California fights to keep a massive wall of water from breaching Oroville Dam, a business leader in Clewiston hopes the California crisis brings into greater focus a years-long effort to shore up the eroding dike protecting communities near Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.” Read Lake Okeechobee dike safer, but work remains
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “A new bill before the Florida Legislature calls for holding more water in Lake Okeechobee to curtail discharges to the St. Lucie River. State Sen. David Simmons proposes speeding up repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake O so it can hold up 2 feet more of water…The bill is a ‘modification’ of the proposal by Senate President Joe Negron…to buy land and build a reservoir south of Lake O…Storing more water in the lake will ‘offset the need for buying as much land to the south,’ Simmons said…To hasten the project, Simmons suggests the state match the $80 million in federal funds the Corps plans to spend each year over the next four years – with the agreement that the feds will repay the state.” Read Bill calls for holding more water in Lake Okeechobee to stop discharges
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
February 18, 9:00 am – Attend the Leon County Sustainable Communities Summit in Tallahassee. Learn outdoor skills such as hiking and camping 101, kayaking basics, how to identify local plants and animals, and more. Learn how natural spaces make our community healthier, happier, and more sustainable. Hear from community members about their favorite places to explore in the Big Bend region. And experience a guided outdoor adventure of your choice after the summit. For more information and to register, click here.
February 23, 12:00 pm – Attend Congressman Matt Gaetz’ Legislative Update and Q&A at Grover T’s BBQ (5887 US-90) in Milton, Florida. Congressman Gaetz has proposed a bill to abolish the EPA, and peaceful protesters will be making their voices heard at this event
February 23, 4:30 pm – Speak with Congressman Matt Gaetz at the Santa Rosa County Administration Complex (6495 Caroline St.) in Milton.
February 23, 7:00 pm – Attend Congressman Matt Gaetz’ Town Hall and Community Gathering at Oops Alley (3721 US-90) in Pace. Pizza and refreshments will be provided
March 2, 6:30 pm – Join the Sierra Club Adventure Coast Committee when featured speaker Phil Compton will present the Sierra Club Campaign “Ready for 100,” designed to help communities transition to 100% renewable energy use. The meeting will be held at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Blvd.) in Spring Hill. Social begins at 6:30 pm followed by the meeting and program at 7:00 pm. For more information, email email@example.com.
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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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 70 conservation organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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