FCC News Brief - September 18, 2017

Ryan Smart writes for the Citrus County Chronicle – “[T]he most important thing we can do to protect Citrus County’s exceptional springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries is to conserve land within their watersheds and recharge areas… We must remember, especially when some argue that too much land in Citrus County is conserved already, that… we conserve land to accomplish specific goals: - To protect the quality and quantity of water in our springs, rivers, and lakes. – To protect the diversity and abundance of marine life in our estuaries and coastal waters. – To protect our water supply by reducing impervious surfaces within recharge areas. – To protect the special natural places that are intertwined with our economy, identity, and culture… If we want to stop the trend of declining springs, if we want to enjoy crystal clear waters, and if we feel personally affected when the springs we swam in as children are now too dry or polluted for our children to enjoy, then we need to invest in land conservation. The current Florida Forever priority list identifies approximately 7,000 acres of land in Citrus County, which needs to be acquired to protect Crystal River, King’s Bay, Homosassa Springs and the Rainbow River. I hope you will call, write or visit with your state representative and sate senator and ask them to support legislation restoring significant annual funding to Florida Forever in the 2018 Legislative session.” Read Land conservation vital to saving water

Sean McGlynn writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “This year Apalachee Audubon’s Program Series is devoted to the Apalachicola River Ecosystem to promote education and awareness of its current plight. Our goal is to break the political stalemate, reverse the degradation of the Apalachicola River and alter the detrimental water management practices, for the betterment of the ecosystem, and for the people of the Apalachicola River basin who rely upon that system. We are partnering with the Apalachicola Riverkeeper and the Florida Conservation Coalition, among others, to bring you these nine monthly programs and a March Symposium, comprising three days of lectures, films, workshops and folk music, culture and art dedicated to science and policy, and of course, oysters, all themed Apalachicola.” Read Apalachee Audubon series champions Apalachicola ecosystem

Susan Glickman writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “[W]hen EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says it’s insensitive to Floridians and Texans to talk about climate change during hurricane emergencies, I say he missed the boat as to what’s truly insensitive. What’s insensitive is not talking about the links between warmer surface water temperatures and more intense weather events. What’s insensitive is dismantling the Clean Power Plan that was put in place to reduce climate-changing carbon pollution… Climate change is causing sea level rise that adds to the threat of coastal flooding. We have needed to act to reduce emissions for a long time… The Arctic is melting… As goes the Arctic, so goes Florida. We must take serious action now to both adapt to the climate change impacts that are inevitable from carbon pollution already in the pipeline and to reduce our emissions and future impacts by transforming to a low-carbon economy… [W]e’ve known about the problem for a long time. In 1965, three weeks after his inauguration, President Lyndon Johnson said: ‘This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through… a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.’… This is not new news… Climate change is happening and we’re seeing it play out before our eyes. It would be insensitive to continue to ignore the signs and fail to take action.” Read Now is exactly the time to have that discussion about climate change

Christine Stapleton reports for the Palm Beach Post – “The aging, worrisome dike around Lake Okeechobee withstood Hurricane Irma but in the weeks ahead water levels could reach 17 feet – the highest level in 10 years – as storm water continue to drain into the lake… [T]he corps announced… that it will not release lake water into the swollen Caloosahatchee because it would make flooding in the region worse. The corps will begin releasing lake water into the St. Lucie Estuary on Friday morning… ‘With so much of hurricane season remaining, we want to slow the rise to the extent possible so we retain storage for future events,’ said Col. Jason Kirk… The dike originally was designed to hold back the lake’s water from flooding nearby farms and communities only during major storms and floods. But as agriculture and the region’s population grew, so did the need for water, and officials realized they could use the dike to hold water inside the lake – like a dam. Because dams are permanent barriers that continually hold back standing water, they are built to higher safety standards. Decades of pressure from abnormally high water levels weakened the dike…” Read With Lake Okeechobee on way to 10-year high, corps releases water east

Jess Bidgood reports for The New York Times – “Last October, Hurricane Matthew poured historic flooding into St. Augustine, inundating downtown, where Spanish colonial-style buildings and Gilded-age spires gleam over the bay, and leaving residents ripping out walls and replacing sodden furniture. Now, the city is cleaning up after Hurricane Irma, which whipped trees out of the ground and poured more water into homes and businesses that were just getting back to normal after Matthew… ‘It is the oldest continuously occupied city in America. It is how we started,’ Mayor Nancy Shaver said. But, she said, ‘I’ve never had people ask me the questions they’re asking me now: Is this the new normal? What are we going to do with the city?’” Read After Irma, a Grim Sense of Déjà vu in St. Augustine

Monica Pais reports for Courthouse News – “The city of West Palm Beach… claims in court that four different federal agencies green-lighted a roadway project that will imperil protected wetlands and the endangered species that live within them… [T]he city claims the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Interior Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Federal Highway Administration failed to comply with federal law when they gave their blessing to a proposed extension of State Road 7... The proposed project would extend the existing road by 8.5 miles, in the process damaging ‘an immaculate remnant of the Everglades that serves as a major source of public drinking water,’ the city says.” Read West Palm Beach Says Feds Approved Road Project that Imperils Protected Wetlands

Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin report for the Washington Post – “The Environmental Protection Agency plans to reconsider parts of an Obama-era effort to regulate… coal ash…Containing a toxic mix of mercury, cadmium, arsenic and heavy metals, it can pollute waterways, poison wildlife and cause respiratory illness among those living near the massive storage pits plant operators use to contain it. A rule finalized in 2015 by the Obama administration imposed new standards on coal ash disposal sites by ramping up inspection and monitoring levels and requiring measures such as liners in new waste pits to prevent leaking that could threaten adjacent drinking water supplies… Ken Kopocis, the former top official in EPA’s water office under President Barack Obama, said… ‘We bent over backwards for industry…’ He noted the dangers coal ash pits pose, particularly in light of the severe storms the country has experienced in recent weeks.” Read EPA will reconsider Obama-era safeguards on coal waste

Mead Gruver reports for the Associated Press – “The Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians sued to block four leases that would allow mining to continue at the Black Thunder and North Antelope Rochelle mine, the two biggest in the U.S. by production… In analyzing the leases, the BLM found that burning the coal deposits would result in 382 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, or about 6 percent of the U.S. total in 2008. But the BLM argued that because utilities could simply get their coal from mines that don’t lease federal deposits, blocking the leases would have no net effect on climate change. The appeals court wasn’t persuaded, ruling that the BLM didn’t provide sufficient data to back up that argument. It told a lower court to seek more analysis from the agency.” Read Environmentalists get win in US coal-climate change lawsuit




From Our Readers

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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    

September 18, 6:00 pm – Attend the Northern Miami-Dade Solar Co-op Information Session in Miami Shores. For more information and to register, click here.

September 20, 6:00 pm – Attend the Volusia County Solar Co-op Information Session in DeLand. For more information and to register, 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 21, 6:30 pm – Attend “An overview of the condition of the Apalachicola River and Bay and an update on the litigation and restoration,” by Dan Tonsmeire, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, at The King Life Sciences Building, FSU, in Tallahassee.

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).

September 26, 6:00 pm – Attend “Is Pensacola a Strong Town? – An Evening with Chuck Marohn” in Pensacola. Chuck will discuss how communities in northwest Florida can become more fiscally responsible, manage growth more responsibly and protect taxpayers from long-term expenses. For more information, and to register, click here.

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.

October 19, 6:30 pm – Attend “Natural Treasures of the Florida Panhandle,” a presentation by Bruce Means, Coastal Plains Institute, at The King Life Sciences Building, FSU, in Tallahassee.



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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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