FCC News Brief - February 18, 2017

Rowan Moore Gerety reports for WLRN – “A new report by the advocacy group Environment Florida argues that water in Florida’s schools and day cares may contain dangerous levels of lead, but that there is no way of knowing how widespread the problem is…Last spring, Tallahassee physician Ron Saff spearheaded efforts to test for lead in the water at 16 north Florida schools. ‘We found lead in 16 of 16 schools we tested,’ Saff said, leading the local school board to make a series of changes in maintenance and upgrades to the schools’ plumbing systems…The report compares laws and regulations around lead contamination across 16 states, including several – like New York and New Jersey – that have enacted legislation for lead testing in schools in the wake of the Flint water crisis. Many states, including Florida, do not require testing for lead in public schools at all.” Read Experts Alert About Risk of Lead Exposure in Florida; Suggest Testing Schools’ Drinking Water

Kristen Dugan reports for the Alligator – “A group of UF students is gathering signatures for a petition against fracking in Florida…The group…hopes to get the petition to Sen. Rob Bradley, a Republican representing District 5 and a member of two environmental committees, who hasn’t taken a public position on fracking.” Read Students petition Florida Senate to ban fracking

Laurel Hamers reports for Science News – “Meadows of underwater seagrass plants might lower levels of harmful bacteria in nearby ocean waters…” Read Seagrasses boost ecosystem health by fighting bad bacteria

The News Service of Florida reports – “[Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton] has filed a bill that would crack down on the sale and possession of shark fins and shark tails…The measure (SB 884)…would make it a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida to trade or offer for sale shark fins or shark tails. Commercial and recreational fishers found in violation would face a suspension or loss of their licenses or permits. The bill says sharks are critical to the health of the ocean’s ecosystems and calls Florida a market for shark fins…A similar measure in 2014 got through three Senate committees but was never heard on the floor.” Read Shark-fin trade in Florida targeted in senate bill

Coral Davenport reports for The New York Times – “Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency had been calling their senators to urge them to vote [yesterday] against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt…, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the E.P.A…James A Thurber, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University [said,] ‘I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this.’…Because Civil Service rules make it difficult to fire federal workers, the show of defiance indicates that Mr. Pruitt will face strong internal opposition to many of his promised efforts…The showdown could embolden the White House and Congress to change federal Civil Service laws.” Read E.P.A. Workers Try to Block Pruitt in Show of Defiance

Emma Kennedy reports for the Pensacola News Journal – “[An] explosion originated in a “digester” at the International Paper mill in Cantonment on [January 22nd]. No one was injured…but black liquor, a byproduct of the paper manufacturing process, rained down on homes, cars and properties in what residents estimated to be a 10-mile radius around the facility.” Read International Paper explosion: ‘It’s like a fallout zone’

Travis McKnight reports for the Tribune Media Wire – “Rep. Pete Olsen (R-Texas) introduced House Resolution 717, also known as the Listing Reform Act of 2017, which would force the agency to determine the economic cost of protecting a given animal (under the Endangered Species Act) and eliminate the deadlines that the USFWS must meet to determine whether a species deserves protection…The [deadlines] came to fruition because, historically, the USFWS encountered significant delays in evaluating most of the at-risk species. That foot-dragging often led to situations in which species went extinct while they waited for protection…Congress has introduced at least 303 bills that directly attack [the ESA] since 1996. More than 233 of those attacks…began shortly after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2011…Meanwhile, the majority of the public seems to want these species to survive…[A] July 2015 poll discovered that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, support the Endangered Species Act.” Read Why Trump’s presidency could be an extinction-level event for some species

Scott Waldman reports for Climate Wire – “A survey of studies has determined that climate change has had a particularly dire effect on mammals and birds on the endangered species list. That includes about half of the mammals and almost a quarter of the birds on the “red list” kept by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)…The findings show that climate change is already a major threat to many species on Earth, not at some vague point in the future, said James Watson, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia…Currently, IUCN only lists about 7 percent of mammals on the list and 4 percent of birds as being threatened by climate change.” Read Climate Change Has Already Harmed Almost Half of All Mammals





From Our Readers

The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.



Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Prevent the Loss of One of Florida’s Most Popular National Wildlife Refuges

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Stop the Division of Herky Huffman/Bull Creek WMA 2016

Now or Neverglades Declaration

Ask the SFWMD to deny the permit for the Crosstown Parkway that cuts through TWO State Preserves

Save the Econlockhatchee River!

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Ask the USACE to reject Harbor Sound application to fill wetlands

Paynes Prairie in danger

Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U . S . A . from Development

Deny Beruff’s Mitigation Bank Permit

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state




Upcoming Environmental Events

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 sierraadventurecoastcc@gmail.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 resourcewisdom@gmail.com

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.




Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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 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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