FCC News Brief - August 24, 2017

Aliki Moncrief writes for the Naples Daily News – “[O]ur fast-paced growth should come as no surprise – everyone wants to live in paradise. But each time we auction off a slice of paradise, something is lost that we will never recover… State lawmakers set aside an astonishing $0 in the budget this year for Florida Forever land conservation. How do you protect paradise on $0 a year? You don’t… My hope is that lawmakers turn over a new leaf and begin to spend conservation dollars as Florida voters directed.” Read Maybe money does grow on trees after all

A.G. Gancarski reports for Florida Politics – “State Sen. Rob Bradley filed legislation with an eye toward using Amendment 1 money to improve conditions in the St. Johns River and Florida’s springs. This legislation follows up on legislation from the previous legislative session attempting to redress longstanding resource disparities between North Florida and the rest of the state… Bradley’s SB 204… would mandate a minimum of $50 million spent annually from Amendment One funds on projects that restore the St. Johns River [or the Keystone Heights Lake Region] and a minimum of [the lesser of 7.6 percent of LATF funds after debt service or] $75 million annually to restore Florida’s springs.” Read Rob Bradley seeks more money for St. Johns River, springs

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “[S]tate and federal officials should boost efforts to protect open spaces and save Florida’s big cats… That’s the problem the panther has long faced. It’s territory is disappearing. With every real estate sign heralding a new neighborhood under construction, the panther’s chance for a comeback shrinks. Panthers are left with less than 5 percent of the territory they used to claim in Florida… Panthers could soon get squeezed off even more land in southwest Florida. Nine property owners are asking for exemptions to federal protections for panthers and other endangered species for a new development that could spread across 152,000 acres in eastern Collier County. Roadkill is another way to gauge the consequences of panthers crossing paths with mankind. From 2014 through 2016, the number of Florida panthers killed by drivers (88) outpaced the number of panthers that were born (61)… [T]he public has until Aug. 29 to weigh in with comments on whether Florida panther protections should be changed.” Read Feds shouldn’t change Florida panther protections

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson reports for Sierra Club Florida News – “Facing dogged opposition, Bradford County Commissioners voted… to hire an outside expert to review a proposed phosphate mine that threatens to pollute groundwater, rivers and springs in the region… More than 50 people spoke against the project, many telling personal testimonies including damage to the water supply, health impacts and habitat destruction.” Read Residents speak out against proposed phosphate mine in Bradford threatening Santa Fe River, tributary and springs

Kevin Finch writes for The Florida Times Union – “My wife and I purchased… what is now Welaka Lodge & Resort. We cater to families, couples, reunions and, of course, fishermen and their wives. Our lodge is across from the mouth of the Ocklawaha River. Welaka in the past was known for its many fish camps that lined the river. We are now one of the few… Removing the dam would be a big boost to the St. Johns River economy especially in Welaka. Our guests do not fish the Rodman Reservoir… Many dream of taking their boat up the Ocklawaha all the way to the Silver River and beyond. That would be the same route the steam river boats navigated before the advent of railroads.” Read Removing Rodman dam could improve tourism in Putnam County

Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “Florida stands to lose up to $600 million… according to a tally of [EPA] budget cuts proposed by President Donald Trump. In a study… the Environmental Defense Fund concluded the state could be forced to not only scale back cleaning up messes, but even on alerting the public… Congress is set to take up the proposed cuts when it meets in September. And while the cuts have not received widespread support, Holstein said he fears closed-door, horse-trading in Washington could result in trims with implications that even lawmakers may not fully understand. Trump’s slashing would eliminate 50 programs completely and cut the agency’s workforce by 20 percent… In a press call…, mayors from Key Biscayne, Monroe County and Naples… joined the EDF in calling for Congress to fight the cuts…” Read Under Trump budget, Florida water could get a lot dirtier

Jerry Iannelli writes for the Miami New Times – “[T]he Trump administration has proposed cutting federal programs that monitor contaminant and fecal-mater levels in the Atlantic Ocean, keep tabs on phosphorous and mercury in the everglades and Florida Keys, and clean up leaking underground tanks. Florida has the nation’s highest number of leaking, corroded storage tanks that leach carcinogens like benzene into the soil… There is everything from cutting programs that monitor ocean toxins to making it harder to clean up toxic Superfund sites… Among those (programs) Trump wants to eliminate are the BEACH Act grant program, which helps communities monitor pollution and human waste in the ocean; the National Estuary Program, which protects areas including… Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Indian River Lagoon; and the South Florida Geographic Initiative, which prevents harmful chemicals from flowing into the Everglades. The budget also proposes eliminating nearly $30 million in “Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program” grants, which help communities clean up water sources polluted by agricultural or human runoff, the most common source of water pollution in the nation.” Read Trump’s EPA Cuts Will Destroy South Florida Beaches, Soil, and Rivers, Environmental Group Warns

Timothy Cama reports for The Hill – “The company that obtained a permit to build the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline might decide not to build it. A TransCanada Corp. executive told investors… that it is still assessing interest in Keystone among the oil companies that would pay to use the Canada-to-Texas line, as well as seeking remaining regulatory approvals, and it will likely decide in November or December whether to build… The company… needs approval from Nebraska for its route through the state… The executive said that it lost some potential customers with Obama’s 2015 rejection of the pipeline, though many have come back with the new approval… Keystone XL was planned to bring significant new capacity to oil extraction in Alberta’s oil sands and the Bakken region in the United States, which have seen massive growth in production over the last decade. But other pipelines, as well as oil transported over railroads, have been filling the void in Keystone’s absence.” Read Developer might not build Keystone XL pipeline





From Our Readers

The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.


Job Openings

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

Administrative Director for the Apalachicola Riverkeeper




Defend Attacks on the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

 Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Paynes Prairie in danger

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state




Upcoming Environmental Events    


August 31, 6:30 pm – Attend the “Get the Dirt Out Workshop” in Jacksonville. Become a water watershed protector when you join this program designed to educate citizens about Duval County’s “dirt laws” and train them to be watchdogs in their neighborhoods to keep dirt out of our waterways. For more information, click here. To register, click here.

September 5, 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. September’s lecture is on Springs Advocacy with guest speaker Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters Education Fund. 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.

September 12, 6:30 pm – Attend a screening of “Troubled Waters,” in Orlando followed by a panel discussion featuring Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine, St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, and Professor James C. Adamski. For more information and to register, click here.

September 12, 7:00 pm – Attend in Algal Bloom Awareness Presentation in Orange Park. Aquatic ecologist Robert Storm Burks will explain what causes blue-green algal blooms and why they may be toxic. Learn how to report algae occurrences using Water Rangers, a new web-based app. For more information, click here.

September 16, 9:00 AM – Participate in the Big Talbot Island Cleanup. For more information, click here.

September 23, 9:00 AM – Attend “Solar Rocks for the Equinox” at Rum 138 (2070 SW County Road 138) in Fort White. The event will feature solar experts and exhibitors to showcase affordable solar energy solutions. The event is free and open to the public. Live music and local food options will be available. For more information, contact Chris Mericle (cjmericle@gmail.com, (386) 855 – 5096) or Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson (merrillee.malwitz-jipson@sierraclub.org, (352) 222 – 8893).



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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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