The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “The state’s growth and the algae outbreaks and other problems with water quality seen in recent years demand a renewed commitment to protecting ecologically sensitive lands from development. Yet between 2009 and 2014, state lawmakers slashed funding for Florida Forever by more than 97 percent… Voters responded by overwhelmingly approving a state constitutional amendment in 2014 that was supposed to set aside a third of revenue from an existing real-estate tax for land purchase, restoration and management. State lawmakers… have repeatedly failed to spend anywhere close to the $750 million that the amendment was meant to allocate, or even the $300 million spent on Florida Forever before the recession… State Sen. Rob Bradley… deserves credit for doubling the $50 million that Gov. Scott proposed spending on the program… But a companion bill has yet to get a hearing in the House, where GOP lawmakers have previously fought increased conservation spending… Protecting environmentally sensitive land shields Florida against the kind of flooding seen after Hurricane Irma and improves the condition of the aquifer that supplies our drinking water… Voters must demand state lawmakers do more than feign concern for the environment this year – they must adequately fund Florida Forever, or else pay at the ballot box this fall.” Read Demand full funding for Florida Forever
Anne Geggis reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Thanks to warmer temperatures, nearly all of the baby sea turtles hatching on a South Florida beach are… female. The dominance of the female reptiles on Boca Raton’s beaches appears to be the result of global warming, according to a Florida Atlantic University researcher whose new study was published in the journal Endangered Species Research. That could mean trouble for these hatchlings in about 20 years, when today’s baby turtles start looking for mates and find a dating pool that’s drying up. Unlike humans, the gender of sea turtles isn’t determined by sex chromosomes. It’s the temperature outside of turtle eggs while they incubate underground that plays a role in the gender, with… females being born when the nests heat up… ‘I haven’t found a male hatchling in three years,’ said Wyneken, who directs the university’s marine biology lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center… After examining thousands of hatchlings over the years, Wyneken estimates that out of every 100 female sea turtles, she’s found one male… The expectation is that the sea turtle population is going to keep increasing before a decline happens in the coming decades. For now, counts and studies suggest that having more females than male sea turtles might be, in the short term, resulting in more nests – and hatchlings…” Read Warmer weather is turning turtles on this South Florida beach female
Wesley LeBlanc reports for Clay Today – “South Doctors Lake ltd… donated 388 acres along [Black Creek and Doctors Lake]… to the North Florida Land Trust.” Read Nonprofit preserves sensitive lands in Clay County
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Gov. Rick Scott is remaking the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with a series of appointments who appear to have no expertise in managing wildlife.” Read Rick Scott’s picks for wildlife commission have no wildlife expertise
Sally Scalera reports for Florida Today – “The second of nine Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles is water efficiently… Watering efficiently is accomplished by supplying the correct amount of water at the right time… Here are some key points to follow…” Read Watering Plants Efficiently
HirokoTabuchi reports for the New York Times – “In a surprise statement undercutting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement last week that he would exempt Florida from President Trump’s offshore drilling plan, a senior Interior Department official said… ‘It is not a formal action, no,’ Walter Cruickshank, the [Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s] acting director, told a subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Instead, the bureau was pushing ahead with the required review of resources off the nation’s shores, including Florida’s, he said. A decision on whether to offer leases off Florida as part of the administration’s offshore program would come after that analysis. ‘The secretary’s decision will be reflected in the proposed program decision,’ Mr. Cruickshank said.” Read Drilling off Florida is Still On the Table, Interior Official Says
Brett Samuels reports for The Hill – “President Trump made it clear to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that he was upset by the decision to exempt Florida from expanded offshore drilling… Zinke did not coordinate with anyone, including the White House, before making his decision…” Read Trump unhappy over Zinke’s Florida offshore drilling exemption: report
Elizabeth Kolbert writes for The New Yorker – “In the decades to come, one can hope that many of the Trump Administration’s mistakes… will be rectified. But the destruction of the country’s last unspoiled places is a loss that can never be reversed.” Read The Damage Done by Trump’s Department of the Interior
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
January 26, 11:00 am – Attend a meeting of the Legislative Committee of the Constitutional Revision Commission in Tallahassee. A proposal to dedicate funds in the LATF to the Florida Forever Trust Fund will be considered. For more information, click here.
January 30-31 – Participate in the Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All Advocacy Day in Tallahassee. Citizens will gather together to support climate action and land conservation funding. They will receive free advocacy training and may receive free lodging. For more information, click here.
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We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest and most relevant environmental news for Floridians. 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 over 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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