Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “A Senate plan to bond $1.2 billion in state funds to build a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee (SB 10) grew to become a $3.3 billion bonding program that would incorporate dozens of water projects around the state, incentives for job development, and other provisions in an attempt to win wider approval…Sen. Linda Stewart…supported the bill…but wants the state to pursue using land the state already owns for the water storage…Sen. Travis Hutson…said he would support the bill but was also torn. And Sen. Debbie Mayfield…said her son was hospitalized after wakeboarding on the Indian River Lagoon…but she said she also has concerns about the proposal. ‘I have been assured there are more changes as we go forward,’ she said.” Read Negron’s water bill expand to $3.3 billion in potential bonds
Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Faced with a warning from House Speaker Richard Corcoran that he will not support bonding for water projects, the committee adopted a Bradley amendment (to SB 10) that does not create additional bonding capacity but transfers the remaining $3.3 billion of existing bonding authority from Florida Forever to the new Florida Coast-to-Coast Water Resources Initiative…Bradley’s amendment also…[makes] the following changes: - Creates a new revolving loan financing program to allow the state, water management districts and local governments to develop and operate water-storage and supply facilities. – Provides up to $35 million to address water projects in the St. Johns River and $2 million for wastewater and conservation efforts in the Keys. – Provides $20 million in funding as recommended by the governor to convert septic tank systems around the lake to sewer systems. – Creates a water reuse grant program to assist wastewater treatment facilities in expanding capacity to make reclaimed water available for reuse. – Directs the Army Corps…to accelerate repairs to the Hebert Hoover dike and increase storage in Lake Okeechobee as early as possible. – Requires that construction of the reservoir give priority to hiring qualified people from the agricultural area who have been displaced when productive agricultural land is used to store the water.” Read $3.3 billion for state water projects advances in Senate despite concerns
Joshua Sokol writes for The Atlantic – “[S]outhwest Florida’s human population has grown at one of the fastest rates in the nation, and it shows no sign of stopping. By 2040, the same few counties that host panthers will be home to 600,000 more people…Florida faces a challenge. It has already pulled panthers back from the brink of immediate extinction. But to really preserve them, it needs to knit together enough public and private territory to sustain their population, and it needs to keep them off the roads. And somehow, Floridians need to accept a large predator not just as a hockey team mascot but as something you might find on your back porch…People die in car crashes with deer, which are more likely because deer are overpopulated in the absence of their historic predators. Bring the predators back to eat the deer…and you get fewer deadly crashes. One recent study calculated that the return of pumas to the eastern U.S. could prevent 155 deaths and 21,4000 injuries over the next three decades.” Read Can Humans Coexist with Big Cats?
The Associated Press of Florida reports – “[A] Florida panther has been found dead from an apparent vehicle strike in southwest Florida…A total of six Florida panthers have been found dead in 2017, with four road fatalities.” Read Panther found dead in southwest Florida
Davia L. Johnson reports for the TC Palm – “The South Florida Water Management District…released its annual South Florida Wading Bird Report which showed the lowest wading bird nesting count since 2008.” Read Steep decline in wading bird nesting, SFWD annual report shows
The Gainesville Sun reports – “A four-page budget memo obtained by the Washington Post showed the Trump administration may seek to eliminate the National Sea Grant College Program, which provides grant funds and other support for university-based efforts to strengthen coastal economies and communities…The proposal is part of a broad effort to reduce funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a leading climate science agency…Of the 33 university-based programs, the University of Florida holds one of the lonest-tenured Sea Grant programs in the country, spanning 45 years…The program has been one of the innovators in artificial reefs and assisted in the infamous BP oil spill in 2010.” Read Florida Sea Grant could face Trump budget ax
Jerry Iannelli writes for the Miami New Times- “[FPL] wants to expand the (Turkey Point nuclear) plant and inject its radioactive waste into the… “Boulder Zone” of the Floridan Aquifer, which sits perilously close to Miami-Dade’s drinking water…[T]he plant is the only station to use so-called cooling canals instead of the typical smokestack-style cooling towers used at every other nuclear plant on Earth. Those canals are leaking, and environmentalists are fighting to force FPL to stop using them…[T]hose leaks have created a gigantic plume of saltwater around the plant that’s seeping into the Biscayne Aquifer, Miami’s major drinking water source. Last year, FPL came up with a plan to fix those leaks, but environmentalists quickly pounced on it, arguing the fix could seriously hurt the Everglades by diverting water from the vital ecosystem…Despite those concerns, the South Florida Water Management District…issued what is essentially a rubber stamp for FPL to begin the project…” Read State Approves FPL’s Pollution Fix, but Activists Say Plan Could Suck Water from Everglades
John Romano writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “[B]ills would allow Florida Power & Light to charge customers up front for speculative fracking ventures…[I]t’s known as privatizing the profits while socializing the risks. This is how the nuclear cost recovery clause has cheated ratepayers since 2005. Customers of Duke Energy, alone, lost $3.2 billion on nuclear power plants without gaining a single kilowatt of power…Even FPL’s first stab at fracking with customer financing – which the state Supreme Court shut down last year because the Legislature had not approved it – operated at a $5.8 million loss.” Read Lawmakers and utilities – once more into your wallets, dear friends
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
April 1, 10:30 am – Attend Solar: Unlimited Energy for the Sunshine State, a free educational program on solar power, at the Coastal Region Library (8619 W. Crystal St.) in Crystal River. For more information, please contact Nancy Kost at (352) 628 – 0698 or email@example.com.
April 18, 5:00 pm – Attend the Suncoast Climate Change Symposium at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium (8350 N. Tamiami Trail) in Sarasota. The symposium will host presentations on climate change and its consequences for Florida, featuring Dr. Harold Wanless of the University of Miami, noted geologist and sea-level rise expert. The sustainability manager for the City of Sarasota will also discuss Sarasota’s “Climate Adaptation Plan.” Tickets are $15 for the general public, and free for students. To purchase tickets, 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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