FCC News Brief - February 4, 2017

Margaret Spontak writes for the Ocala Star Banner – “Evidence indicates that the St. Johns River Water Management District has failed to establish Minimum Flows and Levels for Silver Springs and the Silver River for 16 years since it was added on the SJRWMD priority list, and 45 years since the state first mandated that MFLs be established for priority water bodies in 1972. The fault [falls]…also on the state, which has dramatically reduced SJRWMD budgets and slashed water district scientific staff and consultants statewide. It also falls on a governor who has targeted SJRWMD employees for removal that did not rule favorably on permits submitted by his supporters…Before allocating this latest expansive request for water use, SJRWMD must determine the MFLs for the Silver River and Silver Springs, which will probably demonstrate the need for a recovery strategy. Issuing a major new consumptive use permit before this is done is not in the public interest.” Read SJRWMD’s failure to protect Silver Springs and the Silver River

Robert Knight writes for The Gainesville Sun – “In the face of irrefutable evidence that the Floridan Aquifer is already depleted and polluted, the St. Johns and Suwannee water management district governing board members voted to prolong and exacerbate the damage for another 20 years…What is in the plan is a slap-in-the-face for the tax-and rate-paying public - $390 million dollars worth of public works projects that enrich developers, engineers, utilities and corporate farms. The…spending…is not going to solve the existing problems at our springs. State officials have no excuse…They have been repeatedly informed about the…decline of north Florida’s [waters]…An honest…plan…[includes]…: - A cap on groundwater pumping that avoids significant harm to the region’s…water resources – Measurement and reporting of all human groundwater uses – A reasonable fee for all groundwater extractions that encourages water conservation and allows the free market to determine priorities between potable use and irrigation” Read Water plan won’t heal springs and lakes

Sebastian Kitchen reports for The Florida Times Union – “After a decade of discussion and planning, the head of JaxPort expects this will be the year construction begins on the $864-million project to deepen the ship channel of the St. Johns River…Environmental advocates have expressed repeated concerns about the expected construction damage to the river and the ecosystem…The St. Johns Riverkeeper withdrew its opposition to the state permit, but expected to move the challenge to federal court. The Army Corps included mitigation in its plans, but the Riverkeeper contends it is insufficient.” Read Port director: Channel dredging of St. Johns River could begin this year

Newswise reports – “ ‘Florida voters have approved far more referenda, compared to other states, and on average support more expensive conservation programs,’ said Melissa Kreye, a post-doctoral researcher in the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation and a study author.” Read Study: Voters Want to Preserve Forests, Water

Ron Littlepage writes for the Florida Times Union – “There is no doubt that Gov. Rick Scott is going to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Bill Nelson…His intention became clear…when Scott dressed himself up as a friend of the environment, which is a popular position to take if you’re running for a statewide office in Florida…Scott has done much to harm the state’s natural environment…He oversaw the dismantling of Florida’s growth management laws. He neutered the state’s five water management districts and peopled their boards with friends of developers and agricultural interests who never met a consumptive use permit they didn’t like. He turned the [DEP] into a ‘yes, sir’ machine that…added ‘climate change’ to…words you can’t say…” Read Scott’s claims on environment and spending are hogwash

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Now the agency (EPA) started by a Republican president, Richard Nixon, faces an uncertain future…What if, like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, the nation’s top environmental regulatory agency had never existed? Florida would probably be a much stinkier place, for one thing. Breathing might be difficult in the Tampa Bay area. And going to the beach could endanger your health…In 200, the [EPA] forced…Tama Electric Co., to…clean up the emissions from its power plants in Hillsborough County. Some residents bitterly joked those plants were responsible for…an ochre haze that stained the sky, left a film of soot on cars and choked residents with respiratory problems…But the EPA has also repeatedly failed to protect Florida’s wetlands…Perhaps the greatest impact the EPA has on Florida is in funding.” Read What would happen to Florida if the EPA really did go away?

Victor B. Flatt reports for The Charlotte Observer – “No person should be allowed to harm another person for profit or benefit…[I]t is the core of environmental law, common law, and society generally. We all know that one person can’t run over another because he is late for work…Though the technical causes may be more complex, we similarly know that we can’t produce cheaper electricity at the expense of causing a child to have an asthma attack, or possibly die…The core value of environmental law is to protect both the least and the greatest among us. We are a poor country indeed if we sacrifice that value for the convenience of a few.” Read Environmental law protects us all

Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner report for Reuters – “U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has drawn heavily from the energy industry lobby and pro-drilling think tanks to build its landing team for the Environmental Protection Agency…” Read Trump’s new EPA transition team draws from oil industry groups





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 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 resourcewisdom@gmail.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 lwvcc@colliercounty.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.




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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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