Cyd Hoskinson reports for WJCT – “A key component of the strategy (to increase funding for land conservation next year) involves mobilizing the citizenry, says [1000 Friends of Florida’s] Ryan Smart. ‘Almost every county in Florida has lands on the Florida Forever or rural and family lands list that are important to lots of people in your area,’ he said… ‘If you’re willing to take that action and set up a meeting, call our office and we will get you all the information you need about how to discuss the program, what properties are in your area, anything you need. We’ll even come to the meetings with you if we can.’” Read 1000 Friends of Florida Vows to Keep Fighting for Conservation Funding
Sarah Mueller reports for WFSU – “ “Father” of Florida Forever and Budget Chairman Sen. Jack Latvala says he was okay with defunding land conservation to get (Sen.) Negron his reservoir. But he said he’ll put funding for land conservation in the budget next year. … But Will Abberger with the Trust for Public Land has heard ‘wait until next year’ from legislators before… ‘… In any given year since the amendment was passed about a quarter to a third of the funding has been used for existing agency operations,’ he said. ‘For buying pick up trucks, funding salaries and buying computers and just the everyday things that the agencies have to do to operate. That was not what voters approved in 2014.’” Read Florida Forever or Florida Never More?
Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said… he was ‘shocked’ by the lack of conservation lands spending in the 2017-18 budget that passed the state Legislature. The governor and Cabinet approved two conservation easement purchases covering 5,200 acres for $8.5 million. An Agriculture Department official suggested last week that the program could run out of money by the end of the year… ‘I never in a million years dreamed the only land conservation program in the state of Florida would be coming out of the Department of Ag, and nothing for Florida Forever,’ Putnam told reporters… after the Cabinet meeting… Friends of Florida State Parks… [joined] the League of Women Voters and Progress Florida in requesting a veto because of the lack of Florida Forever funding… Putnam said he’s grateful for the funding the department has received from the Legislature and ‘will continue to put it to use… And hopefully in a future legislative session, these programs will be more adequately funded,’ he said.” Read Putnam: ‘Never dreamed’ there would be no Florida Forever land-buying funding
Susan Salisbury reports for my Palm Beach Post – “After just nine months, construction is complete on the $4 billion 685-mile (Sabal Trail) natural gas pipeline slated to begin delivering fuel to... plants by May 31. But controversy over the massive project continues… [O]n May 18, the Sierra Club asked FERC to delay the flow of gas until completion of a legal challenge it filed last year in federal court seeking a review of the agency’s approval of the pipeline… Oral arguments in the case filed by The Sierra Club, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Flint Riverkeeper were held before the D.C. Circuit on April 18. Questions were raised about FERC’s consideration of the pipeline route’s impact on low-income and minority communities, greenhouse gas emissions from power plants the pipeline will supply and the 14 percent rate of return allowed…” Read FPL pipeline done, but when will it pump natural gas?
The TC Palm Editorial Board writes – “You flush the toilet and the waste has to go somewhere. Florida’s iconic springs are about the last place it should end up. Yet according to a TCPalm investigation, semi-treated human waste routinely is spread as fertilizer on farms near sensitive springs… The Florida Legislature did nothing to address this issue during its recent legislative session… We call on legislators to consider proposing measures next session to tighten rules on where, and how much, Class B and Class AA waste can be dumped.” Read Keep human waste out of our waters
Isadora Rangel reports for the TC Palm – “A reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee… could be expedited under a bill Florida lawmakers are pushing in Congress. The measure gets rid of one step in the approval process for Everglades restoration projects: congressional approval. The Army Corps of Engineers would be allowed to begin work on any ready-to-go project without waiting for lawmakers to pass legislation that’s supposed to come up for a vote every two years – but usually doesn’t. Congress still would need to allocate the money… [SB 10] tells the South Florida Water Management District to ask the Army Corps by July 1 to begin a report needed for the reservoir, and the agencies would have to begin working on the document by Aug. 1. If that report is finished within five years of Nelson’s bill becoming law, the reservoir wouldn’t need congressional approval… U.S. Rep. Brian Mast… filed a different bill to expedite the reservoir. It directs the corps to expedite work on reports needed for projects to increase water storage around Lake O and minimize discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers… ” Read Lake Okeechobee reservoir could happen quicker under bill
Jan Engoren reports for the Sun Sentinel – “[S]tudents at Palm Beach Day Academy… are raising native Florida apple snails in their classrooms and will eventually release them in natural wetland areas in which their population has been declining. Called the Apple Snail Adoption Program, the experience provides the opportunity for students to learn the importance of native species and conservation, help propagate and restore native Florida apple snail populations and remove invasive exotic snails at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge… [T]he snail kite, an endangered species bird, feeds predominantly on the apple snail… [T]he introduction of the non-native apple snails, mostly through people disposing of their aquarium contents,… has created problems for the snail kite.” Read Students adopt snails to release into Loxahatchee Wildlife Refug
Marlene Cimons reports for Think Progress – “We often talk about how climate change exacerbates social and economic inequality, but rarely do we consider the opposite: that inequality itself can be a driver of climate change… Susan Holmberg… [is the] author of a new report that shows how unequal societies inflict more environmental damage than more economically even societies.” Read If you want to solve climate change, you need to solve income inequality
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
June 6, 6:00 pm – Attend 350 Pensacola’s From the Ashes Event at the West Florida Public Library (239 N. Spring St.) in Pensacola. The event will start with a film screening of From the Ashes, a film that explores the stories of dying coal communities and the new path ahead. A panel discussion including local energy, employment, and environmental professionals will follow the film. For more information, contact Christian Wagley at (850) 687 – 9968.
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