Isadora Rangel reports for the TC Palm – “Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed state budget doesn’t include money to build a reservoir to curb Lake Okeechobee discharges, and instead focuses on eliminating septic tanks to address toxic algae blooms…Governors propose budgets and have veto power over them. But the Legislature writes and passes them, dropping or adding new items…Scott’s office said he’s focusing on $215 million to complete storage projects already on the books…Those planned and in-progress projects include the ongoing construction of the C-44 Canal reservoir to clean and store runoff that flows into the St. Lucie River…Another point of contention in previous legislative sessions has been how much land the state should buy for preservation under the Florida Forever program. Scott proposed $25.5 million for the program this year…He didn’t recommend any money to pay agricultural landowners not to develop their land…” Read No money to buy Lake Okeechobee land in Gov. Rick Scott’s budget
Kristen M. Clark reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Senate President Joe Negron told reporters…he isn’t upset that Gov. Rick Scott’s…budget proposal doesn’t include funding for [his] top legislative priority: Purchasing land for water storage south of Lake Okeechobe…Negron said ‘the best we’ve come up with’ as a state hasn’t worked and isn’t good enough. ‘We have a lake…one of the largest lakes in the country--and it rises when you have a lot of rain. So when that happens…we say the only solution we can come up with in the United States of America…is we’re going to open up floodgates and…poison estuaries, rivers and now the ocean,’ Negron said. ‘This is it? This is the plan?’ he added. ‘It’s not acceptable. No one’s defending it anymore.’” Read Scott’s budget doesn’t include money for Everglades land buy. No problem, Negron says.
Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida – “Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon…said…his caucus hasn’t’ taken a position (on SB 10) but that the land buy alone won’t solve the water issues across South Florida. Negron wants to fund the project by bonding $100 million a year through money voters approved for land preservation in 2014.” Read Negron says water project issue is ‘when and where’
Rob Moher writes for News Press – “On behalf of our 6,500 supporters, the Conservancy supports this timely bi-artisan legislative effort (by Sen. Young and Rep. Miller to ban enhanced well stimulation techniques)…A recent report released…by the 1000 Friends of Florida…highlights increasing challenges in managing Florida’s demand for fresh water resources…These projections specifically OMIT any water uses for power generation or industrial use, such as enhanced well stimulation. Fracking-like activities are conducted using vast amounts of fresh water…” Read Bill to ban fracking in state important legislation
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “In a move that stunned scientists, the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida has ordered a halt to ongoing research into Burmese pythons on a reservation spread across nearly 130-square miles… ‘The [tribe’s] wildlife unit will be catching them and disposing of them, but there will be no research,’ said Gintas Zavadzkas, a tribe employee who coordinates efforts.” Read Miccosukee, fed up with state and federal efforts, halt python research on tribal lands
George Dawson writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Four of our city commissions want to move ahead with plans to change the zoning of the 9.7-acre public land parcel where the city’s Parks and Rec complex stands south of Cascades Park – from Open Space/Residential to Central Urban…The selling of public lands is a national issue that is being reflected in Tallahassee…Citizens around the country are fighting to ensure public lands benefit all, not just those who have the money to grab a good deal to fill their own bank accounts.” Read Public land in Myers Park should not be sold
Timothy Cama reports for The Hill – “[Freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is working on legislation that if passed would completely abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)…It would be the first piece of legislation sponsored by Gaetz, who represents the tip of Florida’s panhandle and was previously a state lawmaker…Gaetz did not specify which federal authority would be responsible for enforcing the laws that currently fall within the EPA’s jurisdiction, or if the laws would also be repealed.” Read Lawmaker to propose abolishing EPA
Caty Enders reports for The Guardian – “US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced…[a] new piece of legislation [that] would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off…3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management…Set aside for mixed use, BLM land is leased for oil, gas and timber, but is also open to campers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts. As well as providing corridors for gray wolves and grizzly bears, low-lying BLM land often makes up the winter pasture for big game species, such as elk, pronghorn and big-horned sheep…Chaffetz introduced the bill alongside a second piece of legislation that would strip the BLM and the US Forest Service of law enforcement capabilities…Due to a controversial change this month to the House of Representatives’ rules, the sale does not have to make money for the federal government…Chaffetz’s proposal might in fact be in violation of the common-law Public Trust Doctrine…” Read Republicans move to sell off 3.3m acres of national land, sparking rallies
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
February 2, 6:30 pm – Attend Sierra Club Adventure Coast Committee’s meeting at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Blvd.) in Spring Hill. NOAA Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Charles Paxton will speak on climate change in Tampa Bay over time. The social begins at 6:30 and the meeting & presentation will begin at 7:00 pm.
February 4, 9:00 AM – Attend and/or volunteer at Energy Whiz in Tallahassee. This is an annual competition for elementary and middle school students to demonstrate their S.T.E.M. knowledge and skills as they relate to energy topics such as solar thermal, photovoltaics, and hydrogen technology. For more information, click here.
February 6, 7:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the East Broward County Solar Co-op at Art Serve in Fort Lauderdale. To register, click here.
February 7, 12:00 pm – Join the Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center (99 NW 1st Avenue) in High Springs. February’s lecture is on Springs Stresses: Groundwater Pumping, Fertilizers, Wastewater Disposal, & Recreation. For more information, click here.
February 7, 7:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the West Broward County Solar Co-op at Broward County Government Center West in Plantation. To register, click here.
February 7, 7:00 pm – Attend a presentation by Bill Belleville a Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring. The PPT presentation will focus on the importance of water to Florida’s culture and economy. For more information, contact Bill at Billybx@gate.net.
February 8, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. The guest speaker is Margaret Stewart, Esq., Associate Director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence. Margaret will discuss Florida’s current water laws, how they’re enforced, and why they are insufficient. RSVP to email@example.com.
February 9-11 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference: Land Conservation: The Worth of the Earth at the University of Florida. For more information, click here
February 13, 6:00 pm – Attend Sun Power: What’s Next for Solar in Florida at the Kapnick Center Auditorium (4820 Bayshore Dr.) in Naples. This will be a panel presentation featuring Mary Dipboye, founder of Florida’s first solar co-op and a FLSUN advisory board member; Jim Henderson, president of a solar-powered business; and Chad Washburn, Deputy Director at Naples Botanical Garden, a LEED Gold Standard institution. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
February 15, 12:00 pm – Participate in 1000 Friends of Florida’s FREE webinar: Implementing Water 2070: Water Conservation Planning for Florida Communities. Dr. Pierce Jones, Director of the University of Florida’s Program for Resource Efficient Communities, will discuss water conservation planning for Florida’s communities based on a series of studies he’s conducted on behalf of the Toho Water Authority, Envision Alachua (Plum Creek), and other local governments, developers, and water authorities. For more information and to register, click here.
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 7-9 – Attend FGCU’s Biodiversity Conference in Fort Myers. For more information and to register, 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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