Laura Layden reports for The Naples Daily News – “Potential buyers have until... July 28 to submit their ‘highest and best offers’ in writing (for the HHH Ranch in North Belle Meade)… An offering memo for the ranch lays out three residential development options for the property… Mining is another option… The land is owned by [the Husseys.] The couple got caught up in a lengthy legal battle over their property rights after Collier County changed its growth rules by banning rock mining and cutting the number of homes that could be built on their ranch… After a settlement was struck in 2008, allowing for more intensive development on the ranch, environmentalists challenged it, but an appeals court panel sided with the Husseys… Environmentalists see value in the land for water storage, habitat protection, bird-watching and other passive recreation. It’s a prime area for Florida panthers and red-cockaded woodpeckers… In May, Collier County commissioners received a proposal from the Husseys to sell the property to the county outright or to work out a public-private partnership. Under the partnership, the Husseys would receive mining rights and profits from the venture, while the county would own the land… Commissioners voted unanimously to consider the Husseys’ offer and to fund two appraisals before deciding to go ahead with either of the options… The county has not identified a use for the property, but it could fit several of its priorities, including a site for a sports complex and land for affordable housing… [T]he Florida Wildlife Federation nominated the property to be considered for acquisition through Conservation Collier… On the Conservation Collier application, the Husseys valued their property at $75 million, and the program doesn’t have nearly enough money to cover that kind of price tag… Collier commissioners voted against raising property taxes this year to build up its fund to buy preservation land…” Read Owners call for offers to buy HHH Ranch in Collier; environmentalists on alert
Nick Evans reports for WFSU – “The Nature Conservancy has been working for thirty years to restore a long-leaf pine habitat near Torreya state park… [T]he organization took another step in that effort by releasing seven indigo snakes. North Florida Program Manager David Printiss says the reptiles are apex predators… The project, in the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, includes a total of 12 snakes this year, and another 30 next year. The last time observers spotted an indigo snake in the preserve was 1982.” Read Environmentalists Bring Indigo Snakes Back to Florida
Sydney Pereira reports for the Miami Herald – “Florida Power & Light Company has cleared another hurdle in the licensing process to build two nuclear power reactors at Turkey Point. An independent board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled… that the risk of contaminating drinking water from a plan to pump wastewater deep underground would be ‘small.’… and the concentration of the four contaminants of concern would fall below the federal standards for drinking water.” Read Nuclear review board signs off on plan to pump wastewater underground at Turkey Point
Florida Politics reports – “Frank E. Matthews, a lawyer-lobbyist with Tallahassee’s Hopping Green & Sams firm, died… after a ‘valiant battle against leukemia,’ the firm announced…” Read In memoriam: Frank Matthews, Hopping Green & Sams lobbyist
Eric Staats reports for the Naples Daily News – “A Florida panther was found dead… along a road near Naples… The panther… was the 13th reported killed on a Southwest Florida road this year; most of those panthers were killed in Collier County. The FWC lists 17 reported deaths.” Read Vehicle kills Florida panther on Collier Boulevard near Naples
Jessico Lipscomb reports for the Miami New Times – “The young gator sellers didn’t know it at the time, but Blackledge had a secret agenda: His real name was Jeff Babauta, and he’d been sent by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to round up alligator poachers. On a two-year undercover sting in the heart of the state’s gator country, “Blackeldge” would become a trusted figure, buying and selling hundreds of gators – but all along, secretly tracking everyone. On May 24, FWC finally dropped the hammer on “Operation Alligator Thief” and made nine arrests, accusing hunters of everything from bilking the state out of tens of thousands of dollars to illegally stealing scores of gators to even grilling up a federally protected bird for lunch. After one of the agency’s longest and most ambitious undercover operations, the state even threw racketeering charges at four of the men.” Read An Undercover Sting Illuminates the Dark Side of Florida’s Booming Alligator Industry
WJHG reports – “Governor Rick Scott announced the reappointment of Jerry Pate and Ted Everett to the Governing Board of the Northwest Florida Water Management District.” Read Governing Board of the Northwest Florida Water Management District re-appointments
Hiroko Tabuchi reports for The New York Times – “Over the past six years, rooftop solar panel installations have seen explosive growth – as much as 900 percent by one estimate. That growth has come to a shuddering stop this year, with a projected decline in new installations of 2 percent, according to projections from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. A number of factors are driving the reversal… But the decline has also coincided with a concerted and well-funded lobbying campaign by traditional utilities, which have been working in state capitals across the country to reverse incentives for homeowners to install solar panels.” Read Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure from Utility Lobbyists
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
July 22, 1:00 pm – Attend a free, public solar information meeting at the Seminole County Mail Library (215 North Oxford Road) in Casselberry. The meeting is hosted by the Seminole County Solar Co-op. For more information, click here.
August 1, 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. August’s lecture is on Springs Stresses with Dr. Robert Knight. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 - 2427.
August 10, 7:00 pm – Attend Chasing Coral – Movie Night in Tallahassee. Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Divers, photographers and scientists set out on an ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. For more information, click here.
August 15, 7:00 – Attend a free, public solar information meeting at the Coral Gables Adult Center (2 Andalusia Ave.) in Coral Gables. The meeting is hosted by the Central Miami (North) Solar Co-op. For more information and to register, click here.
August 16, 7:00 – Attend a free, public solar information meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church (7701 SW 76th Ave.) in Miami. The meeting is hosted by the Central Miami (South) Solar Co-op. For more information, click here.
August 20-23 – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute for its annual Florida Springs Field School; four days of outdoor activities and springs education in the Ocala National Forest! Field trip locations include Silver Springs State Park, Salt Springs, Juniper Springs, and Silver Glen Springs. For more information, click here or call (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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