FCC News Brief - September 12, 2017


*Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Irma. This storm has damaged the homes of our friends, but only strengthened the resolve in our hearts to keep working for a brighter future for Florida. Do something nice for your neighbor today.*


Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Will Irma hurt the panthers in the swamps and… the sea turtles out in the ocean? Biologists say: Stop worrying. The animals know how to take care of themselves – maybe better than we do… Panthers are highly adaptable animals… ‘They will get wet when it rains and they will hunker down when the winds pick up,’ Land (FWC panther team leader) said… ‘Panthers don’t build homes, so their rest sites will be rather unaffected. Trees may fall but the odds of a falling tree hitting a panther are slim.’ Land… added, ‘I don’t recall seeing any change in panther movements during the last 30(-plus) years of tropical systems whacking south Florida. Sea turtle nests are often wiped out by storm surges – but… ‘Each nesting female sea turtle deposits several nests throughout the season,’ Kerr (of FWC) explained.” Read Hurricane Irma: Panthers, manatees may be readier than we are

The Tampa Bay Times reports – “A group of friends who went exploring in a nearly empty Sarasota Bay during the strange “reverse storm surge” effect of Hurricane Irma helped save two stranded manatees, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is reporting.” Read Manatees stuck when Irma drained water from bay are rescued

The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board writes – “Applause to Gov. Rick Scott for responding so quickly and decisively to Irma… Once the wind dies down and the water recedes, we hope he can be just as decisive in abandoning his tunnel vision when it comes to the threat of climate change. His shortsightedness, and that of other climate “skeptics” have kept this nation from doing all it could to slow the escalation of such weather-driven catastrophes as this. Irma is not occurring in a vacuum. It comes just weeks after Hurricane Harvey… It comes as forest fires ravage the West… It comes after the hottest year on record, 2016. Which directly followed the two previous hottest years… We can’t stop Mother Nature. But we must acknowledge that a portion of the wrath we’re seeing is our fault. And we must shift – soon – or live in fear of more, and greater, Irmas to come.” Read Gov. Scott’s Irma leadership undercut by his climate denial

David Smiley reports for the Miami Herald – “Miami’s Republican mayor called on President Donald Trump and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency… to acknowledge that climate change is playing a role in the extreme weather that has slammed his city and the continental U.S. this summer… ‘If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.’… Research… suggests a warming climate is increasing the intensity of hurricanes… Regaldo is currently campaigning for a $400 million general obligation bond, nearly half of which would go toward storm drain and pump improvements. The projects are part of a roughly $1 billion, long-term plan to make Miami more sustainable in the face of rising seas. He has said… that he hopes the federal government will help the city pay for parts of the initiative. ‘You know, for those who say we don’t believe in the bond issue because we can do that later, no, it’s happening now…,’ he said.” Read Miami’s mayor on Hurricane Irma: ‘If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is’

DeeVon Quirolo writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “Hernando County is creating a new comprehensive land-use plan to guide development through 2040. The draft plan released last fall was well done… It addressed the need to protect public health from environmental hazards, protect our groundwater aquifer, conserve water and plan for climate change. It sustained protection for Hernando County’s natural resources by promoting energy efficiency, green building, wildlife corridors and a viable Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program. However, the Hernando County Commission recently directed the Planning Department to revise the draft plan to remove important environmental components we should all support. The map and section on ecological linkages to protect wildlife corridors were removed. The Environmentally Sensitive Lands program was weakened… The mining section… ignores impacts to residents, businesses, historic sites, endangered species and habitat… We recommend a ban on new mines… Nature tourism is our biggest economic engine, generating 10 times as much as mining, an incompatible activity… A November 2016 report… noted that demand for water will double in the state by 2070 but that compact development, more land preservation and water conservation measures could reduce that trend by 27 percent. County commissioners would be wise to heed this information and abandon recent cuts to the plan that protect our environment…” Read Proposed revisions would weaken environmental protections in county’s comprehensive plan

David Bauerlein reports for the Florida Times Union – “For the second straight year, the (Jacksonville) City Council president… is putting her clout behind finding ways to improve the city’s sprawling system of parks. Brosche… cited a recent study by the Trust for Public Land that ranked Jacksonville 90th out of the 100 largest cities for the overall quality of its parks system… City Councilman Scott Wilson, chairman of the special committee formed by Brosche, said two of the biggest challenges for the parks system are paying for maintenance and organizing activities that will draw people to the parks… The parks system would get some multimillion dollar improvements in the 2017-18 budget proposed by Mayor Lenny Curry, which City Council will vote on this month.” Read Jacksonville tries again to make its parks into nation’s best

Dominique Mosbergen reports for the Huffington Post – “President Donald Trump has finally made his choice for NASA’s next chief, but the nominee has been met with opposition from scientists as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle… The three main points of contention? He’s political, lacks scientific credentials and doubts that humans contribute to climate change.” Read Trump’s Pick to Head NASA Doesn’t Believe Humans Cause Climate Change

Jeff D. Colgan writes for The Washington Post – “Among Hurricane Harvey’s devastating effects were environmental accidents. In Crosby, Tex., for example, a chemical plant lost electrical power, leading to a massive fire… [T]hese accidents reveal a new consequence of climate change… Harvey released over a million pounds of extra air pollutants across the Texas Gulf Coast. Further, the Associated Press reported that 13 Superfund sites… were flooded and possibly leaking pollutants’ no EPA officials were immediately on site… Between 1953 and 1967, the U.S. Army maintained secret bases in Greenland as precursors for a larger ballistic missile complex… The bases were eventually abandoned with minimal decommissioning, leaving large quantities of wastes buried in the ice sheet. Those included tens of thousands of liters of diesel fuel, a substantial quantity of… PCBs, and even some low-level radioactive waste. Climate change is poised to remobilize these pollutants into the surface water, creating a risk that they will spread and enter the food chain…” Read Harvey caused a chemical plant explosion. Is that the next face of climate change?





From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

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Paynes Prairie in danger

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Upcoming Environmental Events    


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

September 20, 7:00 pm – Attend the premiere of the “Hidden Secrets of Florida Springs” documentary in Winter Park. For tickets and more information, click here.

September 22-23, 9:00 AM – Attend the Florida Wildflower Symposium in Orlando. This is Florida’s only event focusing exclusively on native wildflowers and the wildlife depending on them. The event features field trips; garden walks; presentations on conservation issues, bees, butterflies and other wildlife; and hands-on workshops on propagation and wildflower meadow installation. For more information, click here.

September 22, 9:00 AM – Attend a Conservation Lands Workshop in Punta Gorda. For more information and to register, 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).

October 7, 9:00 am – Attend the 2017 Everglades Symposium: Citizen Empowerment in Miami. For more information and to register, click here.

October 11, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library Community Room in The Villages. Gary Kuhl and Amy Giannotti will be speaking. Gary Kuhl is a former Executive Director of the SWFWMD and Amy Giannotti is the Water & Lakes Manager in Winter Park, FL. For more information and to RSVP, email resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

October 11, 7:00 pm – Attend “Losing the Grand Canyon: FAF Presents an Unforgettable Evening with Kevin Fedarko” in Orlando. Kevin is one of 24 who have hiked the entire 800-mile journey through the Canyon. What he learned along the way should concern all of us in Florida who love our environmental treasures. The evening will be moderated by Diane Roberts and tickets are $100. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.



Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. Our hope is that you will use this information to more effectively and frequently contact your elected representatives, and add your voice to the growing chorus of Floridians concerned about the condition of our environment and the recent direction of environmental policies.

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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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