FCC News Brief - September 20, 2017

Bill Smith reports for News Press – “Lee County and the company that owns Edison Farms, a 3,922-acre parcel in southeast Lee County, have reached a deal that means the property will be preserved as part of the county’s Conservation 20/20 program… ‘This is what we call a crucial piece of the ecological landscape that we need to protect,’ Moher (president and CEO of The Conservancy of Southwest Florida) said. Looking to the flooding caused by Hurricane Irma, Moher said development on Edison Farms would have made storm-related flooding a whole lot worse, especially in the southeast county. ‘By protecting Edison Farms, every acre is going to store a million gallons of water and treat it for pollution,’ Moher said… Moher said the deal should be seen as an historic decision by the commission.” Read Lee County makes $42.4M deal to buy Edison Farms

Janet Begley writes for the TC Palm – “Florida cattle ranchers have made commitments to sustainability, and partner with state, local and national environmental agencies to monitor land, water and wildlife and make improvements to the environment. ‘People worry there are too many cows and they’re not good for the environment,’… rancher Sean Sexton said. ‘But they forget that 100 years ago, there were one million cows and about one million people. Now there are still one million cows but there are 20 million people. So you have to ask what is worse for the environment.’… [T]he South Florida Water Management District has an extensive land lease program with cattle ranchers where thousands of acres of land are leased to ranchers for grazing… [T]he… district relies on cattle ranchers to help manage some of [their] lands… [C]attle grazing lands… are important environments for native plants and animal habitat.” Read Florida cattle ranchers are stewards of the environment

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “Since the Corps started discharges Friday, about 4.1 billion gallons of lake water had entered the St. Lucie River on Monday. That’s enough to cover the city of Stuart with 2 feet, 3 inches of water. At the same time, the Suoth Florida Water Management District has been pumping water into Lake O from canals in the communities south of the lake for a week to alleviate flooding…” Read How long will Army Corps continue Lake Okeechobee discharges to St. Lucie River?

Eric Roston reports for Bloomberg – “Many coastal Florida counties burn [their trash]… Combustion reduces the solid waste to ash, and the heat that’s produced runs steam generators. Much of the waste left in Irma’s path will burn, the energy released adding to local communities’ electricity… Waste-fueled power plants were built mostly in the 1980s and early 1990s, encouraged by a 1978 federal law. Environmental scrutiny in later years led to widespread retrofits of pollution-control technologies to remove mercury and dioxin. Burning stuff up doesn’t make it entirely disappear, even once the ash is disposed of. Part of the mass of the original garbage is converted into carbon dioxide and released into the atmosphere. But this pollution may beat the alternative. If the same volume of waste were tossed into landfills, eventual emissions of methane, a more powerful greenhouse gas, would be even worse for the atmosphere.” Read Garbage From Irma will Fuel Florida’s Power Grid

Stave Bousquet reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “The Florida House… will announce the formation of a new Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness to analyze how the state handled Irma and to find areas of improvement… House Speaker Richard Corcoran… also called on all legislators – including all 40 senators – to forget the usual hometown projects in next year’s budget and to steer all discretionary spending toward hurricane recovery and mitigation efforts.” Read Irma spawns select committee in Florida Legislature

Ledyard King writes for the TC Palm – “Rubio, who has been touring his home state to survey damage and meet with constituents affected by Irma, said he is particularly concerned that some residents in Everglades communities ‘are fearful of coming forward’ despite their need for food, water, medicine and housing. An assistance center his office opened last week in Immokalee drew some 800 people in one day, many unable – or reluctant – to apply for help from government agencies. So Rubio invited faith-based groups and other non-governmental organizations to help. ‘So many of them may be eligible because they have children or other people in their household that are residents or citizens. But many won’t,’ he said. ‘The problem is that they lost their housing and many of them have lost their jobs because they work in agriculture or another industry that’s not even operating or, in some cases, may not operate for a significant period of time.’… Both major hurricanes are expected to inundate the national flood insurance program, which still has about $25 billion in debt… Congress is trying to figure how to reform the program…” Read Rubio: Irma should spark needed debate on future of flood program

Lizette Alvarez reports for The New York Times – “Florida is… the nation’s third most populous state, with 21 million people, jutting out precariously into the heart of hurricane alley, amid rising seas, at a time when warming waters have the potential to bring ever stronger storms. And compared with the 1920s, when soggy land was sold by mail, the risks of building here are far better known today. Yet newcomers still flock in and buildings still rise, with everyone seemingly content to double down on a dubious hand… Many saw last week’s storm as another dress rehearsal for the Big One. But it wasn’t much of a reckoning for a state mostly uninterested in wrestling with the latest round of runaway development, environmental degradation and the mounting difficulties from catastrophic storms… Many natural buffers, like mangroves, dunes and wetlands, that absorb wind or water have been paved over to make room for supermarkets, schools and shopping centers. Near Naples, Marco Island, where the storm made its second landfall, used to be a mangrove island that helped protect the mainland from winds and storm surges. But it became a lure for resorts and golf courses long ago… Under the leadership of Gov. Rick Scott… and the Republican-controlled legislature, state government today exerts less control and oversight over Florida’s growth, by design, than was true in recent decades…” Read Despite Rising Seas and Bigger Storms, Florida’s Land Rush Endures

T.J. Raphael reports for PRI – “Barbuda has been left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma. An estimated 95% of Barbuda’s structures are damaged, and the entire island of around 1,800 people has been evacuated… Ambassador Ronald Sanders, who served as Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the U.S. since 2015 [said, ‘]For the first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda – a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished.’… ‘We believe climate change is here to stay – it’s a reality, despite all of the naysayers,’ he says. ‘We know that these things have occurred as a result of the profligacy of the countries that are rich, and have abused the system. We unfortunately, who contribute less than naught point naught percent of pollution of the world’s atmosphere, are the world’s greatest victims.’” Read ‘For first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda’





From Our Readers

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Upcoming Environmental Events    


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 3, 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. October’s lecture is a Springs Overview – Past, Present, and Future with FSI Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454- 2427.

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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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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