FCC News Brief - July 26, 2017

The Naples Daily News Editorial Board writes – “Three Collier state representatives sent protesting emissaries to a recent County Commission meeting. Their message: Don’t raise taxes, especially for land conservation. That’s ironic. If lawmakers were delivering for constituents in Collier County, commissioners might not have been in a position to have to weigh tax increases… (Rep.) Donalds’ statement that preserved land doesn’t aid ‘quality of life’ mystifies us. Undeveloped land is essential to replenishing our aquifers to provide water, which most certainly is essential to quality of life. A November report… raised concerns about water demand doubling by 2070; it cited the need for preservation of land. A recent… report card on estuaries… gave no waterway an “A or B” grade. Preserved land can help cleanse water prior to discharge, most certainly improving waterways and thus our quality of life… During their statements to commissioners, Donalds and (Rep.) Rommel dismissed the need for preserve land by noting some 70 percent of Collier is in federal, state or local government hands, so that’s enough. That literally is a decades-old viewpoint. That same 70 percent argument was made in 1996 when a sales tax for land acquisition was considered. In those intervening 21 years, voters in Collier have supported land preservation ballot measures by 77 percent in 2000, 60 percent in 2002; 73 percent in 2004; 82 percent in 2006, and nearly 75 percent in 2014 on Amendment 1. The latter is the land conservation measure that passed by 75 percent on a statewide ballot, a vote the Legislature immediately ignored in its next budget.” Read The irony of state representatives’ Collier tax arguments

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “The federal government needs another month to decide if and how it will help the state build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb algae bloom-causing discharges… The state legislation authorizing the reservoir set a deadline for the Corps and the district to start working together by Aug. 1. The Corps, as a federal agency, isn’t bound by the state Legislature’s deadlines… Specifically, the Corps and the district are supposed to work together on a report needed for the federal government to pay its $800 million half of the cost. Congress previously authorized a shallow reservoir on the proposed site as part of the Central Everglades Planning Project. So the district and the Corps now must develop a “post-authorization change report” to build a deepwater reservoir instead. The report is to be sent to Congress by Oct. 1, 2018… The leaders of two Florida environmental groups say the letter isn’t a delaying tactic but an indication the Corps wants to participate in building the reservoir.” Read Army Corps of Engineers to south Florida Water Management District: Give us another month

Steve Patterson and the Florida Times-Union, WTLV report – “Algae from parts of Clay County’s Doctors Lake had toxin levels higher than many researchers consider safe for swimming, test results posted online by state officials show… ‘With the weekend coming, more and more people are in harm’s way with no official warning,’ Rinaman said…” Read Algae on Doctors Lake had worrisome toxin levels, tests show

Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “The city of Tallahassee is proposing to shut down its hydroelectric generating station on the Ochlockonee River in favor of cheaper solar power. The C. H. Corn Hydroelectric Generating Station is one of only two hydropower plants in Florida. The city operates the station under a lease with the state, which owns the plant site at Lake Talquin in western Leon County… Federal wildlife officials are raising concerns about the fate of some fish species with the dam remaining in place… The Florida Department of Environmental Protection would assume control of the dam and reservoir for the state. The generating turbines would be closed and locked and water releases from Lake Talquin through the dam would be maintained by DEP.” Read Tallahassee to shut down one of two hydroelectric plants in Florida

Eric Staats reports for the Naples Daily News – “A Texas-based company has wrapped up a look for oil in the Big Cypress National Preserve, for now at least, but the agency in charge of monitoring the work doesn’t know the extent of any environmental damage… Burnett Oil Co. crews drove 30-ton trucks with giant tires into the preserve’s backcountry to press vibrating steel plates against the ground and record seismic signals.” Read Company finishes oil search in Big Cypress; damage assessment underway

Adam Smith reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King… made his case for how economic growth and fighting climate change go hand in hand. His rivals for the Democratic nomination, Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum and possibly Philip Levine, make climate change and environmental protection top priorities too. From King:… I will work to conserve and protect valuable lands and coasts, like the people asked for when they showed overwhelming support for Florida Forever.” Read Gov. candidate Chris King: Climate change is biggest threat to Florida’s economy

Timothy Cama reports for The Hill – “The chairman of the House Science Committee argued… that climate change is real and has numerous benefits in areas like agriculture and shipping. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas),… wrote… that… ‘Our climate is too complex and the consequences of misguided policies too harsh to discount the positive effects of carbon enrichment,’… Researchers have frequently argued that any benefits to global warming would be far outweighed by drawbacks.” Read GOP Science chairman extolls ‘benefits’ of climate change

Christina Nunez reports for National Geographic – “Our roads could generate energy, melt snow, direct traffic, and even drive our cars, if some of Scott and Julie Brusaw’s visions become reality.” Read A Twist in the Drive to Pave Roads with Solar Panels





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Upcoming Environmental Events    

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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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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