Jan Hasselman writes for Earthjustice – “[This week’s] court decision finding legal flaws in the Army Corps’ permitting process for the Dakota Access pipeline was rightly hailed as a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its allies, and a vindication of the concerns the pipeline has raised from the very beginning.” Read DAPL Ruling: What was Decided, What’s Next?
Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Wednesday approved a pair of conservation purchases along with a new state land acquisition list. They approved buying 407 acres around Blue Springs on the Santa Fe River in Gilchrist County for $5.2 million. The property includes 1 mile of riverfront and six springs… Also on Wednesday, the Cabinet approved the purchase of a conservation easement for 6,171 acres of Crews Ranch property… The Crews Ranch purchase is through DEP’s Florida Forever program. The property is adjacent to a Nature Conservancy preserve and is close to the Avon Park Air Force bombing range and the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge… The Cabinet also approved the 2017 Florida Forever priority list of nearly 2.2 million acres. The list includes the new Lochloosa Forest project with 4,700 acres in Alachua County and another project addition of 17,041 acres along Ochlockonee Bay in Franklin County. Environmentalists have criticized the 2017-18 state budget… because it includes no funding for the Florida Forever program… (DEP Secretary) Valenstein told the Cabinet there is $75 million available from past budget allocations for state land purchases.” Read Cabinet approves conservation purchases, new land-buying list
The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “In a series of votes this year, boards at two of the [water management districts] put a higher priority on promoting development than protecting the environment… Both districts have relied on questionable science to justify their decisions. Both have discounted the impact of groundwater pumping in the decline of the waterways. Putting Florida’s endangered springs at further risk is not just environmentally reckless; it’s economically irrational. The 100 largest springs in the state attract 7 million people a year, and pump at least $300 million into the economy… Scott and legislative leaders are quick to point out that they have steered tens of millions of dollars into restoring springs in recent years… But whatever progress is made in restoring and protecting springs will be undermined by decisions allowing them to be drained in the name of development.” Read Don’t drain Florida’s endangered springs for development
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Phosphate giant Mosaic expected to be finished by now with filling in the massive sinkhole that opened up at its Mulberry processing plant last August. But it’s not. Company officials announced Wednesday that the hole beneath its phosphogypsum stack is wider than they had thought – 80 to 100 feet wide, instead of 45. That means it will take a lot more grout than expected, which means completely filling in the hole will take longer. No one knows how much longer.” Read Filling sinkhole taking longer than expected, Mosaic says
Florida Politics reports – “Companies will now be required to promptly notify the Department of Environmental Protection of a pollution incident under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott… SB 1018 requires companies to submit a notice of a reportable pollution release to the [DEP] within 24 hours of the release… The state agency is then required to publish the notification to the Internet within 24 hours of receiving it. It must also create a system that allows parties to subscribe and receive emails of notices received by the DEP.” Read Rick Scott signs pollution notification bill into law
Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Duke Energy performs slightly better than Florida Power & Light Co. in helping customers reduce consumption of electricity, but both rank poorly among the nation’s utilities in promoting energy efficiency, according to a nonprofit group’s study published Wednesday.” Read Duke, FPL rank poorly among nation’s largest utilities in energy efficiency
Susan Salisbury reports for the Palm Beach Post – “Florida Power & Light Co. doesn’t have the financial ability to complete the proposed Turkey Point 6 and 7 nuclear reactors, three Miami-Dade County cities assert in a filing with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. They contend that because of reactor company Westinghouse’s bankruptcy, the project is no longer feasible, and that it isn’t reasonable or prudent for FPL to charge customers for the reactors. THE NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday… on a hearing request by the City of Miami, the Village of Pinecrest and the City of South Miami.” Read Cities say FPL is not financially able to build two new nuclear reactors
Melissa Meeker writes for the Naples Daily News – “While the recently approved Everglades reservoir bill may help alleviate [discharges from Lake Okeechobee], the reservoir is far from a panacea and it’s important to set expectations about what it will accomplish. Under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)…, the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee was one of several projects designed to increase the flow of water to the Everglades while providing adequate flood control, agricultural water supply and nominal benefits to the estuaries. It was never the primary strategy for reducing discharges. As the southeast district director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection while the CERP plan was under development, I worked with the South Florida Water Management District and the Army Corps of Engineers to formulate the plan… Even if construction on the reservoir had proceeded as planned, it was never designed to handle massive discharges from Lake Okeechobee… It would have stored only a fraction – up to 360,000 acre-feet… We need to stay focused on the two objectives at hand: storing and treating water north of the lake and getting more freshwater to the Everglades.” Read Solution to restoring the Everglades and reducing lake discharges aren’t same
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
June 17, 9:00 am – Attend the Barr Hammock Preserve Celebration in Micanopy. This is the grand opening of the Southern Entrance to Alachua County’s Barr Hammock Preserve. There will be guided nature walks and a cycling tour following the ceremonial “vine” cutting. For more information, click here.
June 20, 2:00 pm – Join Sierra Club at the Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting as they support stronger restrictions on summer application of fertilizer. For more information, click here.
June 21, 2:00 pm – Attend 1000 Friends of Florida’s webinar: Florida Forever Advocacy: A Game Plan for 2018. Speakers at this webinar will share strategies for Florida’s environmental groups and concerned citizens to support full funding for Florida Forever in 2018. For more information and to register, click here.
June 23, 6:00 pm – Attend the Lost Springs Film Screening and Discussion in Gainesville. Matt Keene’s new documentary, “Lost Springs,” chronicles the Ocklawaha River’s hidden springs that return to life every three to give years when there is a drawdown at Rodman Reservoir. Filmmaker Matt Keene, springs artist Margaret Rolbert, boat captain and environmental activist Karen Chadwick, and St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman will share stories about the lost springs and the fight for their restoration. For more information, click here.
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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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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