*The Florida Conservation Coalition hopes everyone stays safe during Hurricane Irma. Please prepare your disaster supplies and check your County website for important information. *
Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “Florida Power & Light urged its customers… ‘to prepare for potentially prolonged power outages’ as Hurricane Irma is on a path to make landfall within the utility’s giant 5 million-customer region – which encompasses nearly half the state… Since 2006, when state regulators ordered all utilities to harden the electricity grid and better coordinate their storm preparation and recovery effects, FPL has spent $3 billion to fortify its grid. FPL reports that by the end of 2017 that effort includes burying more than 60 additional main power lines underground and ‘installing more than 4.9 million smart meters and 83,000 intelligent devices to help predict, reduce and prevent power outages, and restore power faster if outages occur.’… Preparation and safety tips are available at FPL.com/storm.” Read FPL warns of ‘prolonged outages’ from Hurricane Irm
The US Fish & Wildlife Service reports – “Research shows that land conservation has an impressive economic value by boosting local economies through tourism and jobs, saving money on health care, filtering drinking water, providing natural disaster mitigation, and more.” Read Investing in Nature
Lucas Daprile reports for the TC Palm – “The Army Corps of Engineers began discharging Lake Okeechobee water to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers Tuesday to allow extra water storage ahead of Hurricane Irma… The Corps said it will discharge lake water at this rate for only three days because it needs to close its structures to protect them against storm surges that might form from high winds on Lake Okeechobee… Discharging massive amounts of lake water… was the primary driver of toxic algae blooms in 2016.” Read Army Corps discharges Lake Okeechobee water to St. Lucie, Caloosahatchee ahead of Irma
Harriet Heywood writes for the Citrus County Chronicle – “On Aug. 22, a federal appeals court denied the Southeast Market pipeline and Sabal Trail project approval, since FERC did not do the requisite climate study… The partners on this project, Spectra Energy, Duke Energy, and now Enbridge along with their enablers in the national and state legislatures, were all petitioned to halt the project in the interest of preserving our aquifer, our tourist industry and in recognition that a solar revolution is on the horizon in our state and around the country if the crony capitalists would just get out of the way… The recent judgment denies the application and puts the responsibility on FERC to complete the greenhouse gas impacts of the project… Sabal Trail should stop the gas until the study and judgments have been completed…” Read Sierra Club Sabal Trail victory
Abby Smith reports for Bloomberg BNA – “President Donald Trump’s pick to be the EPA’s top legal counsel is a staunch critic of the Obama-era regulations he could play a crucial role in unraveling. Matt Leopold… has accused the Obama administration of overstepping its bounds in issuing broad rulemakings like the Clean Power Plan and the 2015 Clean Water rule, commonly known as Waters of the US., or WOTUS. If confirmed, Leopold, currently a partner in Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A.’s Tallahassee, Fla, office, would lead EPA’s team responsible for shoring up the legal underpinning for undoing, replacing, or revising those regulations… He served as the general counsel of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection from 2013 to 2015… Leopold has… urged greater authority for states in environmental regulation… ‘… You rarely have someone like Matt who is supported by conservative leaders, as well as the likes of the Everglades Foundation and the Audubon Society,’ Gonzalez (Florida chairman of the Federalist Society) said. But other environmentalists are critical of Leopold… Linda Young, executive director of Florida Clean Water Network, told Bloomberg BNA that Leopold is ‘very pro-industry, very unsympathetic to public interest and involvement,’ and has ‘a flexible attitude about regulatory compliance.’” Read EPA General Counsel Pick Criticized Agency’s Rules
Jeff Turrentine writes for OnEarth – “When it comes to endorsing Trump’s plan to open up the Atlantic coast to oil and gas drilling, citizens in both red and blue states – as well as their elected officials – are speaking with one voice. They’re saying, “Hell, no.”… [C]an the president afford to defy the firmly expressed wishes of his base? Of Republican governors? Of business leaders and chambers of commerce in deep-red states? Of conservative stakeholders who are deeply (and rightly) worried about the potential destruction of the shores they call home? As Trump and Zinke (or more likely their staffers) sift through the tens of thousands of public comments, perhaps it will finally dawn on this administration that the environment simply doesn’t work as a wedge issue. Regardless of how they might vote or self-identify ideologically, American citizens have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want wildlife-threatening seismic blasts or unnecessary, and leak-prone, oil rigs off their own coastlines… We need to stop treating the protection of the environment as a “political” issue in the conventional sense of that word. We all breathe air and drink water… And we all contribute, through either our actions or our inactions, to the future condition of the planet that our children… will inherit.” Read Americans Red and Blue Unite Against Trump’s Plan to Drill the Atlantic
James Call reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “John Konkus is the Trump administration’s deputy associate administrator for public affairs at the EPA… Konkus has veto power over the agency’s grants and is waging a front-line war against “the double C-word” – raising questions among researchers whether they will see any funding if they mention climate change in grant requests. Konkus’ vetting has resulted in the cancellation of about $2 million worth of projects.” Read Report: Tallahassee political operative ferrets out, rejects EPA climate change grant requests
Matt Egan reports for CNN Money – “ ‘We conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public,’ the researchers wrote in the peer-reviewed study… The Harvard researchers examined 187 public and private communications from Exxon about climate change between 1977 and 2014, ranging from internal documents and peer-reviewed studies to company pamphlets and editorial-style advertisements in The New York Times known as “advertorials.” The study found that the more public-facing the Exxon communication, the more doubt it expressed about climate change… Exxon’s internal communications broadly acknowledged that global warming is real, human-caused, serious and solvable,’ the research found. About 80% of Exxon’s internal documents that were examined acknowledged that climate change is both real and human-caused, compared with just 12% of advertorials published in the op-ed pages of the Times. Doubt was expressed by 81% of Exxon’s advertorials.” Read Harvard study: Exxon ‘misled the public’ on climate change for nearly 40 years
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.
Upcoming Environmental Events
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, 6:30 pm – Attend Stop the Drill! At the Bayview Senior Center (2000 East Lloyd St.) in Pensacola. Erin Handy of Oceana will update the group on the push to lease parts of the Gulf of Florida for oil drilling, and share how citizens and businesses can get involved in the battle to keep the rigs away. She’ll also inform the group on seismic testing.
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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org, (386) 855 – 5096) or Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson (email@example.com, (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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at email@example.com.
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.
For more information on the FCC visit https://www.wearefcc.org/