Buddy MacKay and Bruce Kaster write for The Gainesville Sun – “The (St. Johns River) water management district recently adopted an outrageous emergency MFL rule for Silver Springs and the Silver River… It was intentionally designed to allow increased groundwater withdrawals, just when another major inappropriate water permit is under consideration for Frank Stonach’s Adena Springs/Sleepy Creek property. This MFL is contrary to well-established science and inconsistent with the district’s past well-reasoned studies… Independent scientists… that reviewed the emergency MFL found it was the worst MFL ever developed by the district, both in terms of protection and in terms of the poor quality of scientific work including the groundwater model used… Our leaders at all levels have let us down. They have jeopardized Florida’s water resources for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. It is time for new and informed leadership. The campaign for our next governor has begun. Listen to what the candidates say about protecting Florida’s water resources. Then vote as if our future depends on it. Because it does.” Read Our water supply is in peril
Steve Patterson reports for The Florida Times Union – “A state administrative judge… upheld… rules for Silver Springs that activist organizations including the St. Johns Riverkeeper challenged as so lax they’d allow more harm… Water levels at Silver Springs… are nearly a third lower than in the 1930s, and springs advocates have blamed withdrawals from the aquifer that feeds the spring. Critics argued the district’s (MFL) rules compared water levels against a faulty standard. Early’s ruling avoided saying what the standard should be. ‘The positions of both parties… have merit. However, the issue in this proceeding is not whether one position is more meritorious than the other,’ the judge wrote. ‘Rather, this proceeding is largely predicated on whether the decision of the district was arbitrary or capricious.’ He said the district’s standard had logic and should be allowed to stand… A separate challenge by another critic of the rule is scheduled for a trial next week. Another legal fight involving a permit request from a ranch wanting to take aquifer water [for] grazing land near the spring remains unresolved.” Read Judge rejects Riverkeeper challenge to rule on Silver Springs water levels
Evelyn S. Gonzalez reports for FIU News – “Florida leads the south in water efficiency, according to a study examining water use across the United States. While states in the north have become more water efficient, their southern counterparts have not. Florida is the exception with water use in homes, business and public spaces declining over the past 30 years… Broward and Palm Beach were the most efficient counties, while Hardee and DeSoto were the least efficient. These findings are consistent with the national findings that show increased water efficiency in urban areas while rural areas have become less efficient. ‘Florida is the third most populous state in the country and it is largely urban, which accounts for its higher water efficiency compared to other southern states,’ said FIU biologist John Kominoski, a co-author of the study. Adopting water-efficiency technologies and retrofitting existing water infrastructures are big reasons why urban areas have improved… ‘The Earth has all the water it will ever have,’ Kominoski said.” Read Florida sets the standard for water efficiency in the south
Melissa Ross reports for WJCT – “As the debate continues over whether to spend close to $700 million to deepen the St. Johns River, one former transportation executive says proceeding with the project is anything but a sure thing in helping the area increase its market share in container shipping… ‘Charleston went from shallower than Savannah to deeper than Savannah 12 years ago. They have continued to lose market share from that point. So just having deep water doesn’t do it,’ he said.” Read Transportation Consultant Raises Concerns on JaxPort Deepening Project
David Bauerlein reports for The Florida Times Union – “Jacksonville’s port authority moved… to slash the cost of deepening the St. Johns River, shortening its proposed dredging project by 2 miles to cut $200 million from the tab… St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, whose organization filed suit recently to block the dredging, said going to 11 miles doesn’t change the Riverkeeper’s challenge to the U.S. Army Crops… for its approval of the project. She said the Army Corps failed to fully evaluate the environmental consequences of dredging, whether it’s for 11 miles or 13. ‘The bottom line is the river is still getting a raw deal, and there’s no mitigation to offset the damage that will be done,’ she said. The port authority has been studying the shorter option… It requires the relocation 2 miles downriver of TraPac… Rinaman said relocating the TraPac terminal calls into the question the assumptions the Corps used in its study… so the Corps should go back and redo its economic analysis.” Read JaxPort announces shorter river deepening that would cut cost by $200 million
Frederica Perera writes for The New York Times – “Analysis of biomonitoring data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds dozens of toxic chemicals, pollutants and metals in pregnant women, many of which are also found in cord blood of newborns. These include pesticides sprayed in inner-city buildings and on crops, flame retardants used in furniture, combustion-related air pollutants from fossil-fuel-burning power plants and vehicles, lead, mercury and plasticizers. All have been shown… to be capable of damaging developing brains, especially while babies are exposed in utero or in their early life… Research has also conclusively shown that climate change… is linked to more heat-related disease, malnutrition, infectious disease, trauma and metal health problems from extreme natural disasters like flooding. Those consequences can directly or indirectly affect early brain development, the cognitive and behavioral functioning of children and their ability to learn… The problem is deep and systemic, resulting from lack of adequate government regulation requiring testing of chemicals before they are marketed, and from the failure to take prompt action once there is scientific evidence of harm.” Read The Womb is No Protection from Toxic Chemicals
UC Davis reports – “Soil can potentially store between 1.5 and 5.5 billion tons of carbon a year globally… Soil is… one of many solutions needed to confront climate change… [T]he nice thing about healthy soils… is that creating them not only helps fight climate change – it also brings multiple benefits for agricultural, human and environmental health… A well-fed army of microbes can go to work strengthening the soil so it can grow more food, hold more water, break down pollutants, prevent erosion, and yes, sequester carbon… Sustainably managed ranches… with their swaths of grasses and trees mixed with cow manure and hay, suck up carbon by their mere existence… Scientists estimate that U.S. rangelands could potentially sequester up to 300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in their soils, and croplands are estimated to lock up more than twice that amount – up to 770 million metric tons.” Read A climate change solution beneath our feet
Don Gaetz writes for the Pensacola News Journal – “Bob Graham… thinks our children shouldn’t graduate from high school without knowing the basics of how their government works and their obligations and rights as citizens. He believes that can’t happen unless their teachers know enough, themselves, to teach civics… So years ago Graham and former Congressman Lou Frey, a Republican, teamed up to create a way to teach teachers how to teach the rudiments of citizenship, not just the memorization of factoids but how to get kids engaged, excited and skilled in affecting what happens in their home communities and then their state and nation… The ex-politicians scraped up some money to write and distribute an effective interactive curriculum, coach teachers in how to use it and then keep track of the results… Every year the Legislature appropriates a comparatively few dollars, $400,000, for the Graham-Frey initiative out of $30+ billion state education budget. A few days ago Governor Scott line-item vetoed the funds for civics instruction, diverting the money to one of his own projects… Teaching, preaching and promoting the education of good citizens is a lifetime mission for a life already highly distinguished. But [Governor Graham] could use some help.” Read Gaetz: “Why don’t these damn kids know anything?”
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Upcoming Environmental Events
June 13, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs. June’s lecture is on Springs Chemistry. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. More information is available here or by calling (386) 454 - 2427.
July 11, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’tomors springs. July’s lecture is on Springs Biology. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. More information is available here or by calling (386) 454 - 2427.
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