John Ferro reports for USA Today – “A federal program intended to compensate local governments for property tax revenue lost by the creation of national wildlife refuges shortchanged Collier County almost $500,000 in 2016…Wakulla County, which takes in most of the 95,000-acre St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge…had the largest unpaid tab in Florida at $6.9 million…Lee County – home to four national wildlife refuges…was owed $254,870 in 2016 but was paid just $63,428…Congress has not fully funded the payments program since 1981. Over the past 35 years nationwide, Congress has come up $714 million short in payments…Over the decades, land values have gone up. But Congress’ appropriations have not kept pace. And unlike other federal payments in lieu of taxes, those from the refuge fund are dependent on how much Congress appropriates.” Read Congress shorts Collier and others on compensation for wildlife refuges
Ryan Mills reports for the Naples Daily News – “An overhaul of how Florida manages its beaches would change the state’s system for distributing money to coastal communities, encourage long-term planning and increase the minimum commitment to rebuild shores to $50 million each year. The plan [was] proposed by State Sen. Jack Latvala…, chairman of the Senate appropriations committee…” Read Florida Senate budget chief Latvala proposes overhaul of beach aid program
Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “U.S. Rep. Brian Mast wants President Donald Trump to add the Everglades to his infrastructure priority list. Mast…took the floor of Congress Thursday to urge Trump to create an “Everglades Infrastructure Taskforce” and secure full funding to accelerate projects to completion…Mast pointed out that Trump ‘has touted his record of building world-class projects ahead of schedule and under budget,’ and challenged him to do so with the Everglades…” Read Brian Mast calls for Donald Trump to create Everglades task force
Eve Samples writes for the TC Palm – “Our eight-member board made buying land south of Lake Okeechobee our No. 1 priority for the legislative session…Our editorial board’s two other priorities…call for closing the write-in loophole in state elections law and a reform of a bad law that allows phosphorous– and nitrogen-rich human waste to be applied in watersheds across Florida…” Read Why a land buy south of Lake O is our board’s No. 1 priority
Dale White reports for the Herald Tribune - “A regional water authority owned by Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, which already maintains 400-day emergency supply, intends to eventually double its storage capacity.” Read Peace River Authority wants to double water storage capacity
The Ocala Star Banner reports – “The Southwest Florida Water Management District has declared a Phase I Water Shortage…for portions of Lake, Marion and Sumter counties…Marion County Parks and Recreation has issued a notice advising boaters to use caution when launching and retrieving vessels due to low water conditions at some lakes and rivers in the county…[T]he water district noted…that current groundwater levels in Lake County are extremely abnormal and levels in Marion and Sumter counties are classified as severely abnormal. In addition, short- and long-term flows of the Withlacoochee River and 12-month and 24-month rainfall levels in all three counties are severely abnormal.” Read Agencies issue low water, water shortage alerts
The Associated Press reports – “[A] Florida panther has been found dead from an apparent vehicle strike in southwest Florida…A total of five Florida panthers have been found dead in 2017, with three road fatalities.” Read Florida Panther found dead, hit by vehicle
Coral Davenport reports for The New York Times – “The White House is fiercely divided over President Trump’s campaign promise to ‘cancel’ the Paris agreement…Bannon, Mr. Trump’s senior adviser, is pressing the president to officially pull the United States from the landmark accord…But…he is clashing with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and…Ivanka Trump, who fear the move could have broad and damaging diplomatic ramifications…Next week,…Trump plans to sign an executive order directing…Pruitt to start…unwinding…Obama’s E.P.A. regulations for cutting greenhouse pollution from coal-fired power plants. Those regulations are the linchpin of the last administration’s program to meet the nation’s obligations…under the Paris agreement…According to leaked budget documents, the president will also propose killing off nearly two dozen E.P.A programs, including…climate partnership programs with local governments, Energy Star grants to encourage efficiency research in consumer products and climate-change research. Those would be part of a broader budget submission that would cut the E.P.A.’s funding by 25 percent…and its staff by 20 percent…Tillerson is a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, which, like many major global corporations, endorsed the Paris agreement…[U]nder the Paris deal,…numerical targets are not legally binding, and there are no sanctions for failing to meet them…It would be possible for the Trump administration to stay in the deal and submit a less ambitious target.” Read Top Trump Advisers are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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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