David Durando writes for The Ledger – “My family has been in the cattle business in Florida for multiple generations…Our ranch…is in an area known as the Everglades Headwaters…And ranching is…rapidly disappearing…The respected University of Florida Water Institute study demonstrates the need for a million acre feet of water storage in some combination both north and south of Lake Okeechobee…Protecting the land north of the lake from intense development is part of the solution. Wetlands throughout cattle ranches in the northern Everglades supply valuable habitat while acting as natural water storage systems that help clean and supply the drinking water to millions of people…I am part of a group of landowners ranging from north to south Florida that is advocating for land conservation dollars for both the Rural and Family Lands Protection program and the Florida Forever program…We want long-term options to keep our lands natural…Land conservation and maintaining ranchlands is a cost-effective way to maintain and increase water storage north of Lake Okeechobee. Every acre conserved in the Everglades Headwaters area will allow us to hold more water, facilitate restoration of more natural hydrology, and improve the quality of water flowing into Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.” Read Florida ranchlands protect the Everglades headwaters
Mariel Carbone reports for WCT – “The Tallahassee City Commission will consider a proposed ordinance that would prohibit fracking within city limits…City leaders stood with cities across Florida in 2015, supporting a statewide ban on fracking. However, the legislation did not pass. Leon County does have rules on the book prohibiting fracking in any of its rural areas. And, although (Commissioner) Miller admits fracking may never actually happen in the city, she said it’s important to have an ordinance presenting the City’s stance.” Read Tallahassee City Commission to consider a ban on fracking
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “Martin County commissioners…voted 4-1…to set up a multi-county summit to gather information about and discuss Senate President Joe Negron’s proposal to buy up to 60,000 acres south of Lake O for the reservoir…Commission Chairman Doug Smith suggested the event could be a special meeting of the 16-County Coalition made up of commissioners from the counties of the South Florida Water Management District…Commissioner Sarah Heard voted against the summit ‘because of the way it would be configured. Fourteen of the 16 counties in the coalition are against [Negron’s plan]…’…The commission’s action does not reverse its decision a week ago to support Negron’s plan, said county spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro.” Read Martin County commissioners propose 16-county Lake Okeechobee summit
Kate Payne reports for WFSU – “North Florida Congressman Neal Dunn wants to throw out a federal plan that would reduce freshwater flowing into the struggling Apalachicola Bay… ‘With my friend and fellow congressman Al Lawson I have introduced legislation to nullify the newest water control manual and send it back to the Corps for rewriting,’ Sunn said.” Read Rep. Dunn Files Legislation to Challenge Georgia’s Water Use
Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “A determined and costly battle has begun against a sulfurous monster in the Indian River Lagoon, using a massive weapon of muck destruction…Created by decades of pollution, [muck] smothers the seabed in layers several feet thick and reeks of rotting eggs…[M]uck…will be allowed to dry enough so that heavy equipment can shovel it off to the landfill…Last year, Brevard County voters approved a half-cent increase in sales tax that will raise more than $300 million in a decade for lagoon restoration; two-thirds of that revenue will be spent on dredging millions of cubic yards of muck…[Muck] is made of ingredients of sewage, stormwater runoff and rotting vegetation, and it continually recycles those pollutants in the Indian River.” Read Dredge begins removing muck from Indian River
NHL reports – “Florida Panthers announced…that they will hold Panther Conservation Night on Friday, March 1- when the Panthers host the Minnesota Wild…” Read Florida Panthers to Host Panther Conservation Night
Jerry Iannelli writes for the Miami New Times – “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…has laid out exactly how much carbon dioxide humans could pump into the air before the world would permanently warm to nightmarish levels. Analysts estimated last year that the globe can continue pumping out CO2 at its current rate for only five more years before the IPCC’s “carbon budget” is used up and the globe is locked into two or three degrees of global warming. According to Naomi Klein’s 2014 book, This Changes Everything, U.S. energy companies already possess enough stores of fossil fuels to overrun the carbon budget five times. Now Pruitt…will be running the EPA for four of the next five years.” Read Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA Head, Will Be Very Bad for Miami
The Tallahassee Editorial Board writes – “If a bill filed…in the Florida Legislature becomes law, elected and appointed officials throughout the state essentially will be given a green light to discuss public business in private. There will be no notification of such meetings. No minutes will be recorded. There will be no records for the public to inspect. If this sounds like a brazen departure from Florida’s open government statutes, it is.” Read Bogus ‘meetings’ bill deserves quick death
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.
Upcoming Environmental Events
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
March 7-9 – Attend FGCU’s Biodiversity Conference in Fort Myers. For more information and to register, click here.
March 10, 7:30 PM – Attend the Panthers vs. Wild Hockey game and support conservation efforts for the Florida panther. To buy your tickets, 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.
Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
For more information on the FCC visit https://www.wearefcc.org/