Bob Graham and William K. Reilly write for The New York Times – “Seven years ago, a BP oil well blew out of Louisiana, causing the Deepwater Horizon drill rig to explode, killing 11 workers and releasing several million barrels of toxic crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. As co-chairmen of the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, we investigated the causes of the disaster and examined the offshore drilling industry to identify ways to reduce the risks it poses to workers, the public and the environment. Although Congress has refused to enact any of the commission’s safety recommendations, the Department of Interior adopted many of them after extensive input from industry, government and the public. President Trump’s April 28 executive order on offshore energy threatens to abolish these safety improvements… He took a further step last week to expand oil and gas extraction in the environmentally sensitive outer continental shelf. The commission members are unanimous in their view that the actions proposed in the president’s executive order are unwise.” Read Trump’s Risky Offshore Oil Strategy
John Davis reports for WGCU – “Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet approved a work plan in June that prioritizes several projects aimed at buying, conserving and managing environmentally sensitive land in Southwest Florida… Cornell (Southwest Florida Policy Associate for Audubon Florida) said the prioritization of these projects is a sign that there is still life in the state’s iconic conservation land buying program, Florida Forever… ‘… [I]n this legislative session (legislators) put zero dollars into Florida Forever. That’s a big disappointment and we think it’s very shortsighted on the part of the legislature and we would like to see it next year be much more robust.’” Read SW Florida Conservation Priorities a Sign of Life for ‘Florida Forever’
Paul Rusnak reports for Growing Produce – “[T]he $5 million, five-year grant received by the University of Florida Water Institute to promote water security for the region’s farmers and foresters should come as welcome relief… Project investigators will conduct field experiments in Florida and Georgia to develop farming practices that reduce water use and fertilizer loss while still resulting in a profitable crop yield… Building on this knowledge, a set of interactive computer models will be developed with input from farmers, foresters, springs, and river advocates, water managers, and other interested stakeholders in the region. The models will be used to predict impacts of different land-use, water use, and agricultural and forest production practices on water quantity, water quality, and the economy of North Florida and South Georgia… The project’s Extension team will conduct on-farm demonstrations and develop smartphone apps to help farmers implement promising agricultural best management practices…” Read New Project to Promote Water Security for Florida and Georgia Farmers
Lindsey Kilbride reports for WJCT – “Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is optimistic a St. Johns River dredging project will bring big business into JAXPORT. The Florida Democrat’s support for the deepening goes against the concerns of local environmentalists, as the St. Johns Riverkeeper is suing over potential environmental impacts… Nelson said the pros outweigh the cons. ‘You always have to question, is the economic value to a community – in this case, dredging further in a channel that is already very deep – is that going to be a minimal disturbance?,’ Nelson said. ‘And my feeling is that it is.’” Read Florida Democratic Senator in Favor of JAXPORT Deep Dredge
Deborah Buckhalter reports for the Jackson County Floridan – “Local opposition to the deep injection well proposed by Waste Management at Springhill Landfill is gaining support from a number of organizations outside the county… The local (NAACP) group has secured the support of the state NAACP in the fight… [O]pponents of the well also have support from the Sierra Club, the Center for Health Environment and Justice, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and other individuals and organizations.” Read Opposition to disposal well grows
Sarah Kaplan reports for The Washington Post – “Any resident in Florida can now challenge what kids learn in public schools, thanks to a new law that science education advocates worry will make it harder to teach evolution and climate change.” Read New Florida law lets any resident challenge what’s taught in science classes
Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson report for The Washington Post – “An appeals court… struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s 90-day suspension of new emission standards on oil and gas wells, a decision that could set back the Trump administration’s broad legal strategy for rolling back Obama-era rules. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the EPA had the right to reconsider a 2016 rule limiting methane and smog-forming pollutants emitted by oil and gas wells but could not delay the effective date while it sought to rewrite the regulation… Even as one aspect of the administration’s push to promote domestic energy production faced a legal setback…, it advanced on a separate front. The Interior Department launched a new offshore-leasing planning process for 2019 to 2024, a move that could open up new areas for drilling in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. In a Federal Register notice…, the Interior Department invited public comment…” Read Federal court blocks Trump EPA on air pollution
Chloe Farand reports for The Independent – “ExxonMobil has repeatedly claimed to be involved in the fight against climate change, but official documents show it continues to spend millions supporting climate deniers.” Read ExxonMobil talks up tackling climate change ‘while still funding climate deniers’
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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 12, 8:00 pm – Attend a showing of “Apalachicola River: An American Treasure,” a documentary about Florida’s largest river, at Blue Tavern in Tallahassee. For more information and to indicate your interest in attending, click here.
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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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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