FCC News Briefs - August 8, 2017

Robert Knight writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “Currently exceeding 20 million permanent residents, and more than 100 million tourists each year, Florida’s renewable and nonrenewable resources are being bulldozed, covered over, and depleted faster with every year that passes. At an average density of 350 people per square mile, there is less and less space for native habitats and the wildlife they support… While 75 percent of Floridians voted for the environmental protection intended by the Land and Water Legacy Amendment in 2015, our state government has been nothing but a great… disappointment… Please cast your next vote for the environment and for Florida’s sustainable future… With Tallahassee’s continuing success at promoting more development, there will never be enough dollars to undo the damage to Florida springs and other environmental wonders.” Read Never enough money to undo damage to natural Florida

The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “A massive phosphate mine proposed in Bradford and Union counties would transform the landscape and potentially threaten water resources above and below ground. The mine, proposed by… HPS II Enterprises, received significant attention and concern last year. But the plan has been flying under the radar since, in part due to a moratorium on mining applications enacted by Union County commissioners as they work on stronger land-use regulations. But the Bradford County Commission is about to again consider the proposal, starting with a decision that could come Aug. 17 on hiring a consultant to advise about its regulations and the permit. Residents across the region need to start paying attention, as the mine has potential impacts beyond the counties in which it would be located. Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird has called the mine the biggest threat to the Santa Fe River that he has seen in his 30-some years with the county. The mine has been proposed on more than 10,000 acres straddling the New River, a tributary of the Santa Fe… Our region’s springs and other natural resources face enough threats without creating huge new ones… Union County commissioners did the right thing in implementing a moratorium, but now need to put strong regulations in place. Bradford county would be well served by taking similar actions, or at the very least hiring outside help to ensure they fully know their options and the mine’s impact before moving ahead with considering its approval.” Read Mine poses threat to river, aquifer

Katherine Pyne reports for My Suncoast – “The Florida Water Management Districts have identified 40 springs projects that will receive funding as part of the 2017-2018… budget.” Read $50M to go toward Florida springs restoration projects

Isabella Gomes writes for the Miami New Times – “[A]s South Florida’s waterways have become increasingly polluted – and hammered for three years in a row by massive toxic algae blooms – Peterson has seen local demand for his boats sink. ‘I’d never had a down year before, but over the last four years, I’ve lost 10 percent in sales in Florida,’ he says. In the past 18 months, Peterson estimates Hell’s Bay has lost a million-and-a-half dollars in revenue, a heavy blow that has forced him to market his boats to consumers in Georgia, North Carolina, and Louisiana… Other Florida-based boat manufacturers… [reported] huge drops in business of up to 80 percent… ‘… Fishing here has gone to hell in a hand basket,’ says Ed Tamson, Florida’s representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership… Florida Bay became hypersaline without the influx of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee, killing off acres of seagrass, the nurseries in which many native fish species lived and spawned… Recreational anglers have been forced to contract their fishing grounds and pole closer to one another. With more concentrated fishing, many worry the added pressure will only further decimate the fish population.” Read Florida Boat Companies Lose Millions as Polluted Waters, Fish Shortages Hammer Business

Bob Palmer writes for The Gainesville Sun – “For five years, researchers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have presented highly flawed recommendations to city and county commissions all over the state. Many commissions concluded that IFAS’ advice constituted ‘sound science’ and voted accordingly, ignoring contradictory evidence from concerned citizens deemed less ‘scientific’ than IFAS. However, it’s now apparent… the upshot of heeding IFAS’ advice has been further degradation of already impaired springs, rivers and estuaries… A key issue… [is] the “summer ban” – whether local governments should outlaw summer application of lawn fertilizer because heavy summer rains might wash it into the aquifer or nearby water bodies. IFAS representative insisted that summer bans were counter-productive because grass is healthiest in the summer, when its robust roots will absorb any fertilizer before rains wash it away… [F]ertilizer nitrogen can end up in a number of places besides leaching: in the grass itself, in soil, in run-off, into the air as nitrogen gas, or unchanged into the air via “volatilization.”… IFAS never studied these other possible fertilizer destinations. Citing only its leaching data, IFAS routinely testified that 99-plus percent of the nitrogen was ‘taken up by turf.’” Read IFAS “science” protects lawns, not springs

Brian Armstrong writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Our district scientists have been studying waterways for more than 30 years. We follow where the science leads without any presumption of what the outcome will be… Scientific data shows the impacts to water quality are unrelated to groundwater withdrawals. Water quality impacts are attributed to several factors including septic tanks, storm water and urban/residential fertilizer.” Read Armstrong: Springs need our help

The Florida Times Union Editorial Board writes – “Will rising seas mean that bridges are suddenly too low for certain masts? Once those boats can’t travel under the bridges, will property values fall? And will that start a run?... [T]his is risk management. And it’s big for Florida’s economy and quality of life. By the end of the century, according to Zillow, about 934,000 Florida properties worth more than $400 billion could be submerged… An economist at Freddie Mac warned of a housing crisis for coastal areas worse than the Great Recession.” Read Florida is Ground Zero for impacts of sea level rise

Sierra Club writes for EcoWatch – “The Senate voted to confirm Donald Trump’s nominees… for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson. Chatterjee has a long track record of advocating on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. In his time working for Sen. Mitch McConnell, he spearheaded the push for Senate approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, sought to undermine U.S. leadership on the Paris climate accord, led McConnell’s campaign to convince states to oppose the Clean Power Plan, and worked to lift the ban on crude oil exports. As a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, Rob Powelson has at times been supportive of clean energy policies. However, he has shown a deep allegiance to the gas industry throughout his tenure, and has recently compared anti-gas activists to terrorists.” Read FERC Confirmations Threaten to Continue Agency’s Status Quo as Rubber-Stamp for Pipelines





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Job Openings

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

Administrative Director for the Apalachicola Riverkeeper




Tell NOAA: Protect Marine Life from Dangerous Seismic Airgun Blasting

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 8, 12:30 pm – Attend an Orlando City Council meeting to support Orlando committing to 100% renewable energy. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

August 9, 6:30 pm – Attend a free screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” in Orlando. For more information, and to register, click here. Seating is limited.

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 12, 4:00 pm – Participate in the Hot City-Cool City Walking Tour in Pensacola. During the walk, participants will explore old and new ways that cities can adapt to the higher temperatures and heavier rainfall of our changing climate. For more information email 350pensacola@gmail.com, call (850) 687 – 9968, or 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.

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




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