Steve Newborn reports for WUSF – “One of the main backers of Florida Forever – and its predecessor, Preservation 2000 – was former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. He said state lawmakers are ignoring the will of the people… ‘I hope that there will be a public outcry on this, and that the result of that will be that the Legislature will reform itself,’ Graham said, ‘and beginning next year will give proper recognition to the will of the people – which is to save the natural Florida.’” Read Bob Graham: Lawmakers Ignoring ‘Will of the People’ on Florida Forever Funding
Tom Palmer writes for News Chief – “It has been another year of voter betrayal in Tallahassee. Legislators once again refused to fund the Florida Forever program despite a 2014 voter mandate to do so… [L]egislators came up with all kinds of arguments for not taking action as sore losers do when the activists tire of legislative inaction and go around them and appeal successfully to the voters… [T]here are many missing links in the network of state conservation lands that need to be filled in. Leaving the gaps unfilled make as much sense as building only half a road… If this often remote land were developed, study after study shows these sprawlvilles use more government revenue than they generate… It is certainly true the Florida Forever program has purchased 2.5 million acres… We got 703,890 acres of significant aquifer recharge protection areas. We got land to protect the habitat of 320 rare species to protect Florida’s natural heritage. We got 725,090 acres that protect lakes, rivers and bays. We got 388,160 acres that reduce the threat of flooding in existing developed areas… In addition, the land provides plenty of places for Florida residents and tourists to enjoy the state’s great outdoors by camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, paddling and simply enjoying nature… [I]t’s time to recruit candidates to run in 2018 to try to unseat these so-called representatives and replace them with people who have a different view of what it means to be responsive to the will of the voters. The fate of Florida Forever should be an issue in the gubernatorial race.” Read Legislature turns its back on voters
Peter Schorsch reports for Florida Politics – “Noah Valenstein, Gov. Rick Scott’s former environmental policy coordinator, has the inside track to become the next secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection… Valenstein, now the executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, is the top pick over interim secretaryRyan Matthews… Valenstein has lobbied for the Department of Environmental Protection and worked for the Florida House of Representatives (including as deputy policy chief for environmental issues) before leaving for private legal practice. He’s been a board member of the Everglades Trust, worked for the Everglades Foundation… and consulted on policy for Scott’s re-election campaign… The governor and Cabinet have agreed to aim on a DEP hire during the May 23 Cabinet meeting.” Read Sources: Noah Valenstein set to become next DEP head
The TC Palm Editorial Board writes – “Those of us who live here know full well the aesthetic, environmental and economic value of the state’s pristine beaches, which helped to generate tourism revenues of $109 billion in 2016. Only a fool would agree to put such a valuable commodity at risk to unearth oil and natural gas.” Read Keep Florida closed to offshore drilling
The Associated Press reports – “[A] Florida panther has been found dead from an apparent vehicle strike in southwest Florida… A total of 13 Florida panthers have been found dead in 2017, with 10 road fatalities.” Read Panther found dead in southwest Florida
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “Since March, 25 hunters working for the South Florida Water Management District… have bagged dozens of pythons… The two-month pilot project on state land that ends in three weeks has also come in well under budget, with hunters earning about $29,000, or about $370 per snake. At that rate, the hunt could go down as one of the most cost-effective efforts so far in the losing battle to control the voracious invader…” Read South Florida python hunters bag a ton of snakes – cost-effectively
The Saint Peters Blog reports – “Gov. Rick Scott named two to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.” Read Rick Scott names two to Southwest Florida Water Management District
Laura Koran reports for CNN – “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed an international declaration highlighting the importance of the Paris Agreement in tackling climate change…, even as the Trump administration considers withdrawing from the agreement.” Read Tillerson signs declaration stressing climate change threat
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
May 18, 6:30 pm – Attend a potluck and screening of “The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida” at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park (225 S. Interlachen Ave., Parish Hall) in Winter Park. RSVP to CFLGrassrootsProgressives@gmail.com or call (407) 951 – 8183. Please bring a dish to share at the potluck before the movie.
May 20, 10:00 am – Participate in a Hands Across the Sand event on Pensacola Beach in opposition to oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and in support of a transition to clean energy. Participants will meet at the Casino Beach Pavilion for live music, education, and inspiring speeches about protecting Florida’s beaches. At 11:00 am, the group will walk to the water’s edge to hold hands in silent remembrance of the 2010 oil spill. For more information, click here, call (850) 687 – 9968, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 20, 11:00 am – Participate in the Hands Across the Sand Event on Treasure Island at the Bilmar Beach Resort. Join hands to end our dependence on fossil fuels and look ahead to a clean energy future. There will be a press conference at 11:00 AM and an after party at Sloppy Joes. For more information, click here.
May 21, 3:00 pm – Attend a free “Solar Co-op Information Meeting” for the Alachua County Solar Co-op at the Alachua Library Branch (14913 NW 140 Street) in Alachua. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
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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.
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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of 80 conservation-minded organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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