Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida – “It appears doubtful the House will take up, as written, a $2.4 billion proposal by Senate President Joe Negron to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee to ease the impacts of polluted water releases into estuaries on the east and west coasts…[T]he House has little appetite to borrow money through bonding the state’s portion of the costs… ‘The House and Senate are going to see an EAA storage feature built. What the size is, what land that’s on, whether or not we need to buy more land, those are decisions that need to take place, in my opinion, during a planning process, and currently that is scheduled to start in 2021,’ (Rep.) Caldwell [said.]...Caldwell said there is no plan to turn the lake ‘into a deep water reservoir.’” Read House cool to Senate president’s water plan
Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “Members of a House subcommittee on Wednesday heard about Everglades restoration from a House chairman and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney with barely a mention of Senate President Joe Negron’s $2.4-billion reservoir proposal…[T]he focus of the presentations to the House Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee…was on…restoration projects that have been authorized by Congress…Rooney…told reporters…that his focus has been on securing federal funding for projects already authorized and planned, including a smaller water treatment system on state land south of the lake. ‘I’m just a simple business guy but why don’t we go ahead and build that?’ he said, noting that the A-2 reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee will cost $500 million…Environmentalists say [Simmon’s] proposal to raise water levels (in Lake Okeechobee) is a threat to surrounding communities and to wildlife…” Read House members discuss Everglades – but not Senate reservoir proposal
Ron Littlepage writes for The Florida Times Union – “In a recent ruling, the special master said that Florida is right, that the decreased flow of freshwater is harming Florida. However, the special master said he couldn’t order the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the flow, to do anything because the Corps wasn’t a party to the suit. Did I mention we taxpayers spent $100 million in legal fees to fight this war? Even with so much money going to lawyers, Florida picked the wrong target.” Read Wars are raging on state’s water, business incentives
David Adlerstein report for The Apalachicola Times – “(Rep.) Dunn seeks to halt the implementation of the Corps’ revised Master Water Control Manual for the river basin via passage of a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval. The resolution, which needs a simple majority,…has the backing of all 27 Florida members…Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio last week urged the Corps not to finalize water-control standards for the ACF basin in a joint letter to Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general and chief for the Corps in Washington, D.C. If the Senate and House pass resolutions of disapproval, and it is signed into law by President Donald Trump, the Corps would be prevented from implementing the terms of its revised water control manual…The special master found Georgia ‘is using absolutely no water conservation practices,’ Dunn said…The Corps can…revise that so that Georgia is managing its water resources more conscientiously and helping everyone downstream.’” Read Dunn: Water wars ruling ‘unfair, unjust’ to Florida
The Naples Daily News Editorial Board writes – “A clock that’s ticking in south Lee County demonstrates why Collier County commissioners made the right move…to reinstate a land-buying program immediately, with plans for voters to consider a long-term extension in the future…Lee County officials…are going through expedited steps to put together an offer to buy what we’d consider one of the most important tracts for preservation currently available in Southwest Florida. Earlier this year, the lender that now owns Edison Farms began soliciting offers for the south Lee property, which is rich with wetlands…Lee County…is moving quickly…knowing the county could be up against developers…Because Conservation Collier…was allowed to lapse in 2013 with no more tax money coming in for further acquisitions, Collier commissioners’ hands would be tied should such an important land purchase present itself suddenly in rapidly growing Collier. While all five Collier commissioners said they support Conservation Collier, two wanted to wait for voters to have a say first…That would be 2018. If approved by voters then, more than five years of renewed development would have occurred before land buys would resume – too long to wait in our view.” Read Kudos to commission for Conservation Collier
Mariel Carbone reports for WCTV – “The Tallahassee City Commission is moving forward with a proposed ordinance to ban fracking…No commissioners expressed opposition to the ordinance, allowing it to be scheduled for public hearing…on March 22.” Read City Commission moving forward with proposed ordinance to ban fracking
Monivette Cordeiro reports for Orlando Weekly – “Marion County deputies arrested two protesters who they say climbed 250 feet deep inside a piece of the 36-inch Sabal Trail pipeline near Dunnellon…Sabal Trail Resistance, a group organizing actions to stop the pipeline, says Ford and Segal-Wright were refusing to come out until an environmental impact statement for the pipeline was revisited…” Read Protesters arrested after climbing inside Sabal Trail pipeline
Asmita Sarkar reports for International Business Times – “Two snake catchers from an Indian tribe in Tamil Nadu have been invited by a python researcher in the United States to save wildlife in Florida from Burmese pythons. The American experts had tried everything…before they flew in Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal from the Irula tribe…The duo…come from a tribe known for their snake tracking skills. [They] have caught 30 pythons in four weeks whereas at least 100 trained hunters had caught only 1,000 snakes in 2016.” Read How Tamil Nadu’s snake trackers are saving Florida’s wildlife from pythons
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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 14, 9:00 AM – Participate in Florida Coasts & Ocean Advocacy Day at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. Join the Surfrider Foundation and Florida Coastal & Ocean Coalition in sharing your support for our ocean and beaches with your legislators! Advocate for clean water, healthy beaches, and an end to plastic pollution. For more information, 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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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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