The Times reports – “Forty years ago in 1977 the Times ran a special report on the Endangered Apalachicola River…:…[T]he US Army Corps of Engineers have opened a new front in Florida’s never-ending environmental war. This time they are marching to a tune played by special interests in Georgia and Alabama and their target is the Apalachicola River…The first step…is the damming, dredging and diking of the…River…It is…incredible that the Corps has apparently learned nothing from…past experience in Florida. Its water manipulation policy for the Everglades became a national disgrace…The infamous Cross Florida Barge Canal which created a national scandal was stopped in midconstruction…” Read 1977: Battle for the Apalachicola River
Chad Gillis reports for News Press – “How do you get rid of excess rain water without using the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries as dumping grounds? Try deep well injection, or aquifer storage and recovery, two technologies the South Florida Water Management District is considering as it moves forward with Everglades restoration projects…Deep well injection works by pumping water about 3,000 feet below the surface, to a brackish aquifer called the boulder zone. The big problem…is that the water is forever lost to the ocean and unable to be retrieved and used during periods of drought…ASR uses a reservoir to store billions of gallons of water on the surface and in more shallow, higher quality aquifers. Once treated, that water can be retrieved and used during the dry season…Drew Martin, with a local Sierra Club chapter, said the group is against ASR and will probably oppose deep well injection too.” Read State may pump stormwater below ground
The TC Palm Editorial Board writes – “Senate Bill 10 is a win for the Treasure Coast…[A] provision in the bill…would give state water officials until Dec. 31 to find landowners willing to sell the necessary acreage. If they can’t, the state would force U.S. Sugar to live up to a 2010 agreement which gave the state an option to buy 153,000 acres south of the lake. We fail to see anything improper in the state demanding that the company honor its agreement, if it comes to that…And…it need not come to that if U.S. Sugar and other agricultural interests come to the negotiating table before then.” Read Legislature must seize historic opportunity on Lake O land buy
Naples Daily News Editorial Board writes – “’In perpetuity.’ That small phrase has a big meaning as Southwest Florida moves forward to double down on its commitment to… conservation…In recent years, residents rallied several times when suggestions were made that lands intended for preservation might serve some other purpose…The latest round came at [a]…Bonita Springs City Council meeting when the road proposal with more lives than a cat steered into a collision course with the next most important conservation land acquisition for Southwest Florida – Edison Farms…[T]he council voted 5-0…to support acquiring all six sections of Edison Farms and to do so by preserving the land ‘in perpetuity.’” Read Two key words to preserve natural resources
Mitch Perry reports for Florida Politics – “Scott Pruitt is one step closer to being the next leader of the Environmental Protection Agency. On Thursday, Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11-0 to confirm Pruitt…Democrats on the committee boycotted the vote…The entire Senate will vote on his confirmation next week and the advocacy group Environment Florida is calling on the Sunshine State’s two senators to reject his nomination…Marco Rubio already declared his support.” Read Environment Florida wants Bill Nelson to reject Scott Pruitt as EPA head
Timothy Cama reports for The Hill – “A Republican lawmaker is rescinding his bill to sell off millions of acres of federally owned land. Rep. Jason Chaffetz…announced…that he would pull the legislation after backlash from conservation and sportsmen’s groups.” Read GOP lawmaker withdraws bill to sell federal land
Joseph Baucum reports for the Pensacola News Journal – “U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz…assures (that eliminating the EPA) would translate to a smooth transition in oversight and regulations from the federal government to individual states… ‘A lot of states just don’t have resources available to them,’ said Mary Jane Angelo, professor and director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program at [UF]. ‘Wealthier states would have better protection for their citizens’ health than poorer states.’…Alyson Flournoy, a law professor at the university…said without federal regulations, states would enter into ‘a race to the bottom.’ She explained that as an incentive to attract industry, a portion of states would relax standards in a short-sighted economic strategy that would ultimately sacrifice public health and the environment…Florida’s [ERC] approved new state standards that would…[have] required further approval by the EPA, but an agency spokeswoman said the state never sent it to the agency.” Read Obliterating EPA would create chaos, experts say
Hiroko Tabuchi reports for The New York Times – “Doug Palen, a fourth-generation grain farmer [in Kansas] is in the business of understanding the climate. Since 2012, he has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust…To adapt, he has embraced an environmentally conscious way of farming that guards against soil erosion and conserves precious water. He can talk for hours about carbon sequestration…Just don’t expect him to utter the words ‘climate change.’… ‘[I]t would be a huge mistake to think people voting for Trump were voting against the environment,’ Ms. Horn (author of a recent book on conservative Americans and the environment) said. If Trump follows an aggressive anti-environment agenda, she said, ‘there will be a big backlash in the heartland.’…Despite his conservationist streak, Mr. Palen has no affinity for environmentalists. He feels vilified…for his continued use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. (Some organic farmers control weeds by tilling the soil, which Mr. Palen argues causes more ecological harm.) And he remains suspicious of any expansion of government regulations that ignores realities of rural America…” Read In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at email@example.com.
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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