The Naples Daily News and The News-Press Editorial Boards write – “Voters and elected leaders in [Lee and Collier Counties] have an established track record of supporting use of property tax dollars to acquire sensitive Southwest Florida lands for preservation… Lee asked for reaffirmation from county voters last year on the merits of [its] land program and overwhelmingly received it… Lee commissioners were [fiscally prudent]… when they didn’t jump at a landholder’s offer to sell Edison Farms… for a figure substantially higher than three appraisals… Such fiscal responsibility is especially important now after county commission revised the 20/20 ordinance, allowing county staff to reach out to willing sellers, rather than waiting for a potential seller to come to the county… Lee commissioners wisely made it clear they want to buy Edison Farms, but not at any cost. For the next several weeks…, county staff will negotiate with the owner based on [the highest of three appraisals.]… The benefits of acquiring Edison Farms are clear. It can provide water recharge, protect coastal estuaries, offer passive recreational territory and ensure habitat for panthers, wood storks and more. Yet those same factors create tremendous development hurdles…” Read County commission reacts correctly to 20/20 acquisition
Frank Torres reports for the Orlando Political Observer – “[T]he Osceola County Commission passed an ordinance that prohibits oil and gas exploration practices that involve well stimulation. This includes the controversial practice known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.” Read Osceola Commission passes ordinance prohibiting Fracking
Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “Orange County’s landscaping companies with certified trained technicians will still be able to apply nitrogen fertilizers during the rainy season – now – but with some stricter rules and tougher penalties. The Orange County Commission updated its fertilizer laws Tuesday evening after a long public hearing that pitted environmental activists who wanted a full rainy season ban and the lawn care industry… The result is an ordinance that meets state requirements… without being as tough as Seminole County but with being tougher than many… Mayor Teresa Jacobs and virtually all of the other commissioners agreed that the county needs to and would do a better job of informing the public about the fertilizer laws most know little or nothing about… [C]ommissioners threw in a… pledge… that they would revisit the ordinance in two years, once more research was complete.” Read Orange County keeps landscapers out of nitrogen fertilizer ban
Samantha J. Gross reports for the Miami Herald – “South Miami commissioners voted unanimously to hold off on a measure that would require new homes in the city to be installed with solar panels, the first such law in Florida, saying they wanted to make sure the city was adhering to Florida building code laws before taking a final vote… The ordinance, which the commissioners had passed unanimously on first reading in early June, would require that 175 square feet of solar panel be installed per 1,000 square feet of roof area on new houses built in the city… Four similar ordinances exist in the United States, all of which are in California.” Read South Miami puts off vote requiring solar panels for new homes – wants ‘to get it right’
Jerry Iannelli reports for the Miami New Times – “South Miami… wants to become the first in Florida with an ordinance requiring every new residential home, building, or apartment complex to install solar panels. Residents building new homes would then pay less to Florida Power & Light…But ahead of a final vote on the plan, a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm has swooped in to blast residents with robocalls urging them to fight the bill… Why would the D.C. firm, Family Businesses for Affordable Energy, care enough to mount a counter-campaign against a city as tiny as South Miami? Stoddard has a theory: He’s convinced the shady robocalls are being paid for by the power industry. The mayor says the… phone calls echo FPL’s fraudulent solar amendment that was defeated at the ballot box last fall. But both FPL and the lobbyist firm deny that South Florida’s electric company is behind the calls.” Read South Miami Mayor Blames FPL for Robocalls Against New Solar Panel Plan
Lisa Conley reports for the Naples Daily News – “[I]n 2002, when the Esplanade received a permit from the FDEP to build and operate a marina located in Smokehouse Bay, it entered into a binding agreement to protect the water quality of the bay. The… agreement contained a paragraph requiring the marina to ‘implement a long-term water quality testing and monitoring program.’ It also warned the marina that ‘(it) would have to consider eliminating a number of boat slips’ should the water quality tests show violations of the state’s water quality standards. Recently, the marina asked the FDEP to remove that paragraph from the agreement, freeing it from its obligation to test and monitor the bay’s water quality… [Marco Island City Council] unanimously voted to oppose the elimination of the… monitoring requirements… Nevertheless, the FDEP granted the Esplanade’s request, forcing the city to file an appeal… [A]ccording to the FDEP’s own reports, the Esplanade has not conducted water quality testing for the past 10 years… [A] recent independent water quality review ‘makes clear that there are water quality issues in Smokehouse Bay, which may be directly attributed to operations at Esplanade Marina.’” Read Battle for the Bay: Marco pushes back against the FDEP
Betsy Lilliam reports for NA Wind Power – “[T]he Sarasota City Commission adopted a goal of powering all of Sarasota with 100% renewables by 2045. Sarasota joins St. Petersburg as the only cities in the state of Florida to make this commitment, the Sierra Club says. In addition to establishing a community-wide target for 100% renewable energy, the commission also voted to adopt a goal of powering all municipal operations in the city with 100% renewables by 2030 and at least 50% by 2024.” Read Two Southern Cities Commit to 100% Renewables
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “With state funding cut by more than half, most of the water quality monitors may be pulled from the Indian River Lagoon… [The Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA)] received $250,000 from the Florida Legislature each of the last two years, but last year Sen. Joe Negron… helped them get an extra $500,00 from the state Department of Environmental Protection. That extra money didn’t come this year. Actually, ORCA asked the state for just $655,000 this year, less than the $750,000 it received in 2016 to maintain all 25 Kilroys (, remote-controlled water monitors)… The Martin County Commission voted to pay for maintaining two Kilroys… ORCA officials plan to talk to other counties and cities along the lagoon about sponsoring Kilroys in their areas… Individuals and organizations interested in sponsoring a Kilroy should contact Falls:… by phone at 772-467-1600.” Read Cut by Florida Legislature, ORCA seeks money for Kilroy water monitors
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
July 11, 6:00 pm – Attend a public solar information meeting at the Bob Graham Center on the University of Florida Campus in Gainesville. The Alachua County Solar Co-op is open to new members until July 28th.
July 19, 6:45 pm – Attend a public solar information meeting at the Millhopper Branch of the Alachua County library system in Gainesville. The Alachua County Solar Co-op is open to new members until July 28th.
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