Jessica Lipscomb reports for Miami New Times – “This past Wednesday, gas officially began flowing through 482 miles of the (Sabal Trail) pipeline… In September the [Sierra Club] filed a lawsuit challenging the pipeline’s construction, saying the project would damage ecosystems in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and arguing that poor, minority communities would be disproportionally affected… [A] federal judge has yet to issue a ruling… Despite the fact that the Sierra Club lawsuit is pending, the federal government issued an order Friday allowing Sabal Trail to begin service… There’s still hope that the lawsuit will halt pipeline operations or at least force Sabal Trail to better address the impacts to local communities. Another group, the Waterkeeper Alliance, is asking Congress to reform FERC, saying the group has become far too friendly to the industry. And… concerned Floridians can still help the Sierra Club act as a watchdog.” Read Sabal Trail Pipeline Begins Natural Gas Service to Florida Despite Environmental Concerns
Robert Knight writes for The Gainesville Sun – “Due to an inter-dependence on groundwater-resources, natural environments, especially springs, suffer as the human economy grows. If an acceptable balance between these competing aquifer uses is not achieved, then the combined health of humans and the environment is diminished as well… This year, the St. Johns River Water Management District finally adopted a minimum flow rule for Silver Springs… Analysis by the Florida Springs Institute finds that groundwater pumping in and around the Silver springshed needs to be reduced by more than 90 million gallons per day to comply with the district’s minimum flow target. Despite this deficit…, the St. Johns district continues to issue new groundwater pumping permits… Please raise your voice and speak for the springs by turning off your irrigation system. Install a rain barrel if you must water your plants and talk to your neighbors about using less groundwater.” Read Rain alone won’t save our springs
Deborah Strange reports for The Gainesville Sun – “[Alachua] county’s Environmental Protection Department has a two-pronged approach. The first, which the Board of County Commissioners approved last week, affects buildings in unincorporated Alachua County. Property owners will see an assessment on their tax bills that will raise money to address existing contributors to pollution. Another set of regulations, months away from completion, would define higher standards for new development throughout the area, possibly requiring builders to use more engineered soil beneath new construction. The goal is to reduce the amount of nutrients… that make their way into the aquifer, springs and rivers, carried there by stormwater… Developers are pushing back against the regulations, arguing they would drive up housing costs but have only a small environmental benefit… The stormwater assessment applies to structures, like rooftops, parking lots and other surfaces impervious to water… Agricultural structures are exempt, and the county doesn’t have jurisdiction to impose mandates regarding agricultural wastewater… The county expects to generate $1.3 million in revenue from the 2017-2018 assessment. Half of that will go toward drainage improvements to reduce flooding. Of the remaining half, 75 percent will go to cleaning polluted water, and 25 percent will go to promoting water quality awareness… ” Read Alachua County crafts rules to tame stormwater, cut pollution
Ron Cunningham writes for The Gainesville Sun – “[W]e seem to be entering an era when government is poised to be an accomplice… of a whole new host of offenses against nature, public health and the taxpayers… [I]n the Age of Trump, EPA now stands for the Empowering Polluters Agency. Likewise, Gov. Rick Scott has purged so many DEP (Department of Environmental Powerlessness) and water accommodation district enforcers, engineers and scientists that Tallahassee has practically become a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Sugar, Big Ag and Big Development Inc… Until voters start tossing out the politicians who abet the poisoning of our water and put the health of our children (not to mention our multibillion – ‘dollar tourism industry) at risk, it will be left to public interest groups and environmental activists (and their lawyers) to try to keep government honest. So why not commit an act of civil disobedience today? Donate some green to the greens.” Read Citizens need to act to protect environment
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis shares – “Large-scale interventions to water resources, such as irrigation, dams and reservoirs, and water withdrawals, have been essential to human development. But interventions tend to solve water scarcity problems at a local level, while aggravating water scarcity downstream… From 1971 to 2010, the study found, human impacts have drastically reshuffled water scarcity hotspots, with impacts on approximately one-third of the global population.” Read Water management interventions push scarcity downstream
Ayanna Runcie reports for the Miami Herald – “The Florida Department of Health shut down a two-block stretch [of Sunny Isles Beach] until further notice after water samples showed that bacteria levels were too high. The beach did not meet the recreational water quality standard for enterococci, a bacteria in animals’ intestines, meaning there was too much human or pet poop for it to be safe to swim. This comes about two months after the department issued an advisory against swimming on South Beach, also due to unsafe enterococci levels.” Read Once again, too much poop shuts down South Florida beach
Brad Plumer reports for The New York Times – “The Energy Department is closing an office (the Office of International Climate and Technology) that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology… Other changes to the Energy Department being contemplated by the Trump administration, like sweeping reductions in spending on research into renewable energy, nuclear power and carbon capture, will still require approval by Congress. Even some Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition to those proposed cuts.” Read Energy Department Closes Office Working on Climate Change Abroad
Milenko Martinovich reports for Stanford University News – “Numerous public opinion polls show that Americans believe climate change is a major problem that needs to be dealt with. Yet, despite these beliefs, an effective, sustained grassroots movement to influence climate change policy has not developed in the United States. Why? Stanford sociology Professor Doug McAdam tackles this puzzle…” Read Stanford sociologist attempts to explain puzzling lack of grassroots climate change activism in U.S.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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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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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