FCC News Brief - July 15, 2017

Susan Salisbury reports for the Palm Beach Post – “The Sierra Club is objecting to Florida Power & Light’s plans to replace its aging Lauderdale Plant in Dania Beach with an updated, more efficient $888 million natural gas plant. Frank Jackalone, Sierra Club’s Florida Staff director, said…, ‘FPL seems determined to lock Floridians into a reliance on expensive, dirty, climate disrupting fossil fuels. The PSC should not let FPL build out more costly fracked gas infrastructure without presenting a thorough public analysis on why they’d rather keep burning fracked gas than expand low-cost solar and other clean energy sources that would shield Florida’s families from price spikes and protect our natural resources from harmful pollution’… In recent years, FPL has built new natural gas plants in Riviera Beach, Cape Canaveral and at Port Everglades in Hollywood.” Read Sierra Club urges rejection of FPL’s Dania Beach plant makeover

Furniture Today shares – “IKEA… announced plans to install solar panels atop its future Jacksonville store opening Fall 2017… [This] will be the fifth IKEA solar array in… Florida. The Jacksonville store’s… solar array will… produce approximately 2,753,070 kWh of electricity annually… - equal to the emissions of 409 cars or providing electricity for 204 homes yearly… Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. president [said,] ‘We have a mission to create a better everyday life for the many, and IKEA Jacksonville can add to this goal and keep us Florida’s largest non-utility private solar owner.’… This installation will represent the 49th solar project for IKEA in the United States, contributing to the IKEA solar presence atop nearly 90% of its U.S. locations… Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, IKEA has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns approximately 300 wind turbines, including 104 in the U.S. ” Read IKEA to Install Solar Panels Atop Future Jacksonville, FL Store Opening Fall 2017, Array Will Be Retailer’s 5th in State

Brooke Baitinger reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Florida Power & Light is planting large devices across Florida that look like trees and harness the power of the sun to create electricity… In Davie, West Palm Beach and Miami, FPL also has installed solar ‘canopies,’ larger devices that provide shade over cars in parking lots, in addition to generating electricity. FPL’s pilot program, called SolarNow, kicked off two years ago, allowing customers across the state to opt into a $9 extra charge on their monthly bill to fund public solar-power generation. More than 450 Boynton customers opted into the program. Tall, bright blue and Y-shaped, Boynton’s solar trees have USB ports and outlets where parkgoers may plug in to charge their cellphones… FPL soon will put the finishing touch on the new trees in the park: educational boards that explain how light goes into the panel and is converted into energy… FPL… will pay the city about $4,000 per year to lease the land used for the solar structures… Other… cities are joining in on the effort to promote solar energy.” Read ‘Solar trees’ sprout across Florida in push to promote solar energy

Peter Schorsch reports for Florida Politics – “Later this month, the St. Petersburg’s Energy Natural Resources and Sustainability Committee (ENRSC) will vote on a proposal to ‘ban the (plastic) bag.’ If approved, the issue would be taken up by the City Council for consideration.” Read Will St. Pete become a second Florida city to ban plastic bags?

Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida – “The number of people buying hunting and fishing licenses hasn’t kept pace with population growth in the state, and wildlife officials are concerned that could impact the future management of public lands… To get more Floridians, particularly Generation Xers and millennials, to embrace outdoor activities, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is [coordinating] marketing and outreach efforts… The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a $367.2 million budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. Revenue from recreational license sales, along with excise taxes on equipment and boat fuel, accounted for more than $49 million for the commission in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.” Read Florida hunting, fishing licenses not keeping up with population

Florida Politics reports – “ ‘Representing the Gulf Coast in Congress, I saw the long-lasting negative effects the BP oil spill had on our state’s economy,’ [Gwen Graham] said… ‘…Banning drilling off our beaches is vital to our military, economy, and environment.’… Graham supported Nelson’s efforts to fight drilling and co-sponsored bipartisan proposals with Reps. Patrick Murphy and David Jolly to ban exploration off Florida’s beaches… Adam Putnam has flip flopped on the issue over the course of his long career in politics. In 20006, he led congressional Republicans in an effort to expand drilling as close as 50 miles from Florida’s beaches. And as Trump and congressional Republicans have pushed for drilling off Florida’s beaches, the gubernatorial candidate has remained silent on the issue.” Read Gwen Graham now taking on Adam Putnam over drilling

The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board writes – “[A]s last week’s G-20 summit in Hamburg showed, Trump is increasingly isolated on the international stage. Instead of a leader, America under Trump is increasingly on the sidelines watching. In their final communique Saturday, leaders of 19 of the world’s 20 biggest economies reaffirmed their commitments to address global warming… The statement by the Group of 20 and the adoption of an action plan for the 19 nations to meet their greenhouse gas emission targets was a victory itself, for it showed that the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement would not scuttle the landmark accord… The leaders of France and Germany have used Trump’s withdrawal as a rallying cry for energizing Europe. China, one of the world’s heaviest polluters, responded to Trump’s decision by positioning itself to become a world leader in clean-energy manufacturing and investment. For China, that will mean more jobs, expanded trade and newfound influence in the world. ‘Whatever leadership is,’ one French diplomat told the New York Times, ‘it is not being outvoted 19 to 1.’… Trump is ceding America’s clout on the international stage as other nations are filling the void, and he is shrinking from the environmental challenge at home just as cleaner energy promises to boost jobs, improve public health and reduce costs for consumers and businesses alike… [T]his is coming at a price to America’s influence, among its allies and adversaries alike.” Read Under Trump, U.S. retreats on climate change, environment

Zachary Basu reports for CNBC – “More than 200 cities and at least 12 states have announced their plans to support the Paris Agreement, despite President Donald Trump’s June bombshell to withdraw from the accord… A recent report from the Congressional Research Service noted that a climate alliance could be interpreted as states entering into treaties with foreign nations, and it cited one constitutional provision and one legal precedent that may preclude states from making such deals… [T]hese constitutional limits apply only to ‘legally binding pacts,’ according to the U.S. State Department… ‘The Paris Agreement among nations isn’t legally binding…,’ Tamminen (Former secretary of the California EPA under Arnold Schwarzenegger) said… The two most notable cases of rebellion – the governor-led United States Climate Alliance and #WeAreStillIn, a commitment signed by city, university and business leaders – are also not legally binding… Domestic climate coalitions at the state level can use “cap-and-trade” policies as a constitutionally-viable alternative… There is no legal precedent that can prevent states from linking their cap-and-trade systems with countries like China and regions like the EU, according to Tamminen… The Climate Leadership Council… has stated its support for a carbon tax… The Council’s four-pronged strategy would replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, taxing $40 per ton of carbon dioxide and raising an estimated $200 billion to $300 billion a year. Unlike a traditional carbon tax, however, all of the revenue raised would be returned to the American public in the form of monthly dividends, ensuring that households and families are not shouldering the burden of the tax. The plan also includes border adjustments for the carbon content of imports and exports to countries without comparable carbon pricing systems, punishing nations who “free ride.” The final pillar is the dismantling of old carbon regulations to allow U.S. businesses to become more competitive.” Read States fighting Trump on climate find new foe: US Constitution





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Upcoming Environmental Events    

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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