Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “John Hankinson…died Friday…Hankinson [was] director of EPA’s Southeast region…[A]fter the BP oil spill in 2010, [he was] director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force…Hankinson…was (recently) organizing further efforts in a never-ending push to get rid of the Rodman Dam on the Ocklawaha River… ‘He could comfortably negotiate complex deals to clean the water with captains of industry or sit down and find common ground with regular folks…around the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster,’ said Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation…For the stint as EPA director…Hankinson introduced himself to the small army of staffers…by playing blues for them…Hankinson was instrumental in preservation purchases of wetlands and forest across Florida…” Read John Hankinson saved Florida environments while playing harmonica
North Florida Land Trust Shares – “North Florida Land Trust is urging Florida lawmakers to do the right thing and properly fund land conservation. In 2014, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved The Florida Water and Land Acquisition Amendment to provide increased funding for acquiring and improving Florida’s conservation and recreation lands. However, lawmakers have failed to restore the meaningful funding to programs like Florida Forever and Florida Communities Trust. NFLT and the Florida Conservation Coalition are calling on the legislature to dedicate a minimum of 25 percent of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund each year to Florida Forever and Florida Communities Trust. From those funds, NFLT calls for $50 million per year to be allocated for the Florida Communities Trust program…[W]e urge voters to contact their lawmakers and ask them, at the very least, to dedicate 25 percent of the LATF to preserving our state’s lands. NFLT and the Coalition agree that the funds must be used for land acquisition and conservation easement projects that are on the approved Acquisitions and Restoration Council’s priority list…The legislature should also increase funding of the LATF for conservation easements through the Rural and Family Lands program...” Read North Florida Land Trust urges legislators to do the right thing and properly fund land conservation
Jonathan Webber writes for the Pensacola News Journal – “Researchers from the Science for Nature and People Partnership studied fracking wells in four western states. In a new report, they documented an astonishing 55 spills per 1,000 wells in any given year…Even a fraction of this amount is unacceptable for Florida…Chevron and ExxonMobil…have hired some of Tallahassee’s most well-connected lobbyists to shut down the proposed fracking ban legislation. But for the people of Florida, it’s our drinking water and public safety at stake…[T]he majority of Floridians…live in a city or county that has either banned fracking locally or called for a ban on fracking at the state level…I recently met with a prominent state legislator to talk…about the ban bills…[H]e told me that he thinks the bills are effectively dead because the oil and gas industry is too powerful. What he’s saying is: you and I don’t have a chance…Last time I checked, our lawmakers answer to us – not faceless multinationals that can buy an army of lobbyists…” Read Ban fracking in Florida
Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “In an email to senators [Senate President Joe Negron] said he was in Washington, D.C…and met with Florida [Senators]…as well as members of Congress, ‘senior budget staff, and high-level representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers.’…[H]e offered a summary of his meetings and used it to counter the push for a bill by Sen. David Simmons…to accelerate repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike in order to…increase water storage in the lake… ‘After completing these meetings…here are five things I know: 1. If Florida advances funds to complete the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike…the federal government will not repay…Florida…3. Once the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation is complete…the Army Corps…is not committed to storing one more gallon of water in Lake Okeechobee.” Read Sen. Negron goes to Washington; reports there will be no repayment for dike repair, no raising lake levels
Dan Sweeney reports for the Sun Sentinel – “State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez…has proposed four bills that would: - Allow property owners to generate solar power and sell it to renters on their property – Stop utilities from raising rates to cover the cost of cleaning up environmental damage caused by the utility. – Require utilities to charge 25 percent less for the first 500 kilowatt/hours of energy usage. – Repeal a law allowing utilities to charge customers extra to finance the building of nuclear power plants before the plants are built…[A]s a Democrat, the senator faces long odds of success in the Florida Legislature, where Republicans dominate both chambers and the utility companies employ an army of lobbyists.” Read Bills seek to cut customers’ energy costs
Steve Newborn reports for WLRN – “One bill…would restrict the rights of cities and counties to pass laws that haven’t been given the OK by the state. And it is being backed by the speaker of the Florida House.” Read Bill to Restrict Rights of Cities, Counties Backed by House Speaker
Jerry Iannelli writes for the Miami New Times – “Last year, Miami-Dade officials sanctioned FPL and warned that the canals used to cool the plant’s wastewater were leaking into Biscayne Bay…[Recently,] the Monroe County Commission passed a resolution urging FPL to stop using the canals for good…[T]he resolution says, the county wants FPL to ‘discontinue the use of the cooling canal system in favor of a more modern mechanical draft cooling tower system.’” Read Florida Keys Demand FPL Stop Using Leaking Turkey Point Cooling Canals
Darryl Fears reports for The Washington Post – “The Trump administration…announced an offshore oil and gas drilling proposal in the Gulf of Mexico that appears to mirror a plan offered by his predecessor a few months ago…Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed leasing 73 million acres off Florida, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi over five years starting in August… ‘Bottom line, we think this is a terrible idea, whether it was done by the Obama administration or the Trump administration,’ said Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program. ‘It’s time to keep oil in the ground.’” Read Trump’s new Gulf of Mexico oil and gas drilling proposal looks a lot like Obama’s
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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