Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Pete Antonacci, who last week made headlines telling scientists to stay in their lane rather than criticize his water agency’s work on Everglades restoration, is getting a new job. After less than two turbulent years as executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, he’s been tapped to take over Florida’s beleaguered business-recruitment agency, Enterprise Florida… Onetime lobbyist Antonacci… has no prior experience at recruiting businesses, just as he had no prior experience at running a water agency overseeing flood control and the Everglades restoration project… With Antonacci now apparently heading to Tallahassee, what will happen with the scientists and the massive, and long-delayed, Everglades restoration program is unknown.” Read Water agency boss who bucked scientists put in charge of Enterprise Florida
Jess Daddio reports for Blue Ridge Outdoors – “At the Georgia state line, the Chattahoochee and Flint come together to form the Apalachicola. Florida’s Apalachicola Bay is responsible for roughly 10 percent of the nation’s oyster supply, and its waters are a safe haven for sensitive species… But the oyster business here is suffering, due in large part to the pitiful amount of freshwater coming into the bay from upstream… The (ACF Stakeholders) group brought together more than 50 individuals representing the water needs of cities, counties, industries, businesses, fishermen, farmers, environmental, and recreation groups from [Florida, Georgia & Alabama.] After seven years of deliberation and research, ACFS published its Sustainable Water Management Plan for the basin, one that met the basin needs of the aforementioned groups. Though the plan was submitted to each of the states, the governors hardly batted an eye… For now, the future of the ACF basin remains in limbo. It is almost certain that the Supreme Court’s final ruling in Florida v. Georgia will agree with Special Master Lancaster’s recommendations… [P]ending the final approval of the Army Corps’ control manual, another lawsuit is in the foreseeable future, likely involving Florida, Georgia, and the Army Corps of Engineers.” But no matter the litigation that ensues, without a tri-state, transboundary, multi-stakeholder management plan (like that proposed by ACFS) that requires increased water efficiency in all parts of the basin, it is likely that the industries, municipalities, and species who depend on this water will continue to pay the price. Read Three States, One River: Fighting for the Chattahoochee River
Kate MacFall writes for Florida Politics – “Heads up, citizens: the federal government is about to review the endangered status of one of our state’s rarest species – the Florida panther – and now is the time for all of us to make our voices heard… Biologists know that the leading cause of species extinction around the world is habitat loss and human persecution. With developers encroaching more dramatically in southwest Florida, the panthers need the protection the Endangered Species Act provides more than ever.” Read Time to speak up for Florida panther
David Smiley reports for the Miami Herald – “Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado has released his final proposal to fund scores of pricey government projects through a new property tax, increasing his previous request by $25 million and doubling down on money for pumps, sea walls and other measures to brace the city against rising seas – a plight administrators now believe could cost taxpayers close to $1 billion. How they’ll pay the entire bill won’t be decided now, or maybe for decades. But commissioners and voters could soon be asked to approve a significant amount of seed money… [T]he city is seeking bids from engineering firms to craft a new stormwater master plan to replace a 2012 study that failed to include sea-rise projections… Even if commissioners approve the bond, they’ll still have their work cut out for them in bracing the city of nearly 500,000 for a changing climate… [M]iami administrators now believe they’ll need around $900 million to pay for all the drainage, roadway, parks and coastal upgrades necessary to keep the city functioning as Biscayne Bay and the Miami River swell.” Read Regalado doubles down on sea-rise projects as cost estimates approach $1 billion
Alex Daugherty reports for the Miami Herald – “Miami Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo joined Democrats in an unsuccessful effort to keep ozone regulations proposed by Barack Obama that would lower acceptable ozone levels and require oversight from the Environmental Protection Administration. Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo… voted against the Ozone Standards Implementation Act… Miami Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart voted in favor… Carlos and Ros-Lehtinen are part of a group of… the Climate Solutions Caucus.” Read Curbelo, Ros-Lehtinen vote against rollback of Obama’s ozone standards
Juliet Eilperin and Chris Mooney report for The Washington Post – “President Trump… nominated Sam Clovis… to serve in the Agriculture Department’s top scientific post… In a 2014 interview…, [Clovis] said he was ‘extremely skeptical’ about climate change and added that ‘a lot of the science is junk science.’… Clovis – who started at USDA as a senior White House adviser just after Trump was inaugurated – possesses a B.S. in political science, an MBA degree and a doctorate in public administration… The post for which he is being nominated, the Agriculture Department’s undersecretary for research, education and economics, has traditionally been occupied by a string of individuals with advanced degrees in science or medicine.” Read Trump just nominated a climate change skeptic to USDA’s top science post
Joel Clement reports for The Washington Post – “I am a scientist [and] a policy expert… Nearly seven years ago, I came to work for the Interior Department, where, among other things, I’ve helped endangered communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. But on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments… [T]he letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies. I am not an accountant… Some of my colleagues are being relocated across the country, at taxpayer expense, to serve in equally ill-fitting jobs. I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities.” Read I’m a scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration.
Science Daily reports – “Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is not enough to limit global warming to a level that wouldn’t risk young people’s future, according to a new study by a team of scientists who say we need negative emissions. Measures such as reforestation could accomplish much of the needed CO2 removal from the atmosphere, but continued high fossil fuel emissions would demand expensive technological solutions to extract CO2 and prevent dangerous warming.” Read Removing CO2 from the air required to safeguard children’s future
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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