Mitch Perry reports for Florida Politics – “Bill Nelson is prepared to invoke a procedural rule in an attempt to block the Donald Trump administration’s latest efforts to rollback several safety standards put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster… Nelson says he will invoke… the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the power to overturn an agency’s final rule. Legislators seeking to block an agency rule from taking effect can file a so-called Resolution of Disapproval within 60 days of a final rule being sent to Congress. If a Resolution of Disapproval is approved by a majority in both the House and Senate and signed into law by the president, the agency’s rule would be overturned. ‘… I hope that during that time every Floridian remembers what happened to us when the beaches of Pensacola beach were blackened with tar and oil and we lost a whole season of our guests, our tourists who come to this extraordinary state…,’ Nelson said. ‘... I hope that every Floridian will remember, whether you were a hotelier, restaurateur, whether you are the dry cleaners, whether you had the taxi services, when you got hit in your pocketbook, I hope that every American who rightly has an interest in protecting our beaches, our oceans, our marine life, decides to write in and complain to Secretary Zinke exactly what he’s putting at risk with this proposal.’” Read Bill Nelson threatens to block rollback of offshore drilling regulations
Jennifer Rubiello writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “2018 can be the year Florida bans fracking; it can be the year Florida’s college campuses join cities in making visionary commitments to 100 percent renewable energy; and it can be the year where Floridians demand and elect local, state and federal leaders who are ready to solve the climate crisis and make Florida a world leader in the race toward a cleaner, healthier future. But we’ve got our work cut out of us, and the clock is ticking. Despite the progress we’ve made, the United States needs to step up the pace on climate action. As Floridians, we need to thank the leaders of the Sunshine State who have already acted, and call on those who haven’t to get a move on.” Read 2018 has great potential for environmental change in Florida
Steve Patterson reports for the Florida Times Union – “City money would be paired with about $125,000 worth of labor and material being privately donated to build a very visible example of a living shoreline, a system to protect waterfronts without building concrete bulkheads. The project is being billed as a public education tool for a type of protection that isn’t seen often at many waterfront homes… (Jacksonville) Zoo officials have touted attendance close to one million annually, and the project on 180 feet of Trout River waterfront would have an observation deck where visitors could see the system working… People are trained to think a bulkhead will be sure protection from waves, but ‘resiliency with an actual shoreline is really stronger,’ Herrick (CEO of Onsite Environmental Consulting) said.” Read Project showing ‘living shoreline’ at Jacksonville Zoo headed for City Council review
Adam Smith reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Latvala was a domineering player in the Legislature, a shrewd negotiator who built coalitions with Senate Democrats and fellow moderate Republicans to thwart particularly conservative initiatives of the Florida House and other Republican senators. We asked about the power dynamic in Tallahassee without Latvala in the center of things. Most predicted a significant shift to the right – with consolidated power for more conservative Senate leaders and a big obstacle to Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran gone. ‘There is no one strong in the Senate to balance out the House. It’s clear the House will run over the Senate – again,’ said a Republican… [A] Democrat noted how Republicans tend to swing toward the center when elections approach. ‘With so many GOP members and the governor looking toward their next job, it will be a rush to wipe out years of anti-education and environmental votes.’” Read Florida Insider Poll: What’s the Tallahassee political landscape after the ouster of Jack Latvala?
Mitch Perry reports for Florida Politics – “South Hillsborough County environmental activist Mariella Smith has officially filed to run as a Democrat in the Hillsborough Commission District 5 race… Smith has marshaled citizen activists to stand before the County Commission countless times over two decades… Her most recent activist effort involves fighting against a Hillsborough County company that has asked the county for permission to spread tons of human sewage waste over its property along the Manatee River system.” Read ‘Smart growth’ candidate Mariella Smith running for Hillsborough County Commission
Henry Fountain reports for The New York Times – “The Arctic is not as cold as it used to be – the region is warming faster than any other – and studies suggest that this warming is weakening the jet stream, which ordinarily acts like a giant lasso, corralling cold air around the pole… The reason a direct connection between cold weather and global warming is still up for debate, scientists say, is that there are many other actors involved.” Read Why So Cold? Climate Change May be Part of the Answer
James Temple writes for MIT Technology Review – “For decades, scientists have warned that climate change would make extreme events like droughts, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires more frequent, more devastating, or both. In 2017, we got an up-close look at the raw ferocity of such an altered world… We’re also seeing with greater clarity how these dangers are interlinked, building upon one another toward perilous climate tipping points… After three relatively flat years, greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels and industry picked up again in 2017, rising an estimated 2 percent… [I]t means that our collective climate efforts haven’t even prevented greenhouse-gas levels form increasing, at a point when we need to be radically cutting them… [I]t will become increasingly difficult to pull out of this (climate change) spiral, making it increasingly urgent that we begin serious efforts to do so soon.” Read The Year Climate Change Began to Spin Out of Control
Kendra Pierre-Louis writes for The New York Times – “[H]ere are three things you can do to help reduce your personal contribution to climate change while pursuing goals you might already have, like moving more, spending less and tracking your progress… If your goals for 2018 include getting more exercise, consider committing to walking or bicycling distances under a mile. Roughly 20 percent of car trips in the United States fall into this category… [W]aste less food.” Read Three New Year’s Resolutions That Can Help Fight Climate Change
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
January 9, 12:00 pm – Attend Springs Academy Tuesday, a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs, in High Springs. January’s lecture is on Springs Biology with special guest Dr. Stephen Walsh of the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 – 2427.
January 15-16 – Participate in Florida Coasts & Ocean Citizen Advocacy Day in Tallahassee. This is your opportunity to speak out for clean water and healthy beaches. Citizens will support the plastic bag ban bills, water quality monitoring, beach access, and more. They will receive free training and food. For more information and to register, click here.
January 20, 9:00 am – Participate in the annual Newnan’s Lake Cleanup in Gainesville. Volunteers will meet at Earl P. Powers Park (5910 SE Hawthorne Rd) on the southwest edge of the lake. Current Problems will provide cleanup supplies such as bags, grabbers, gloves, nets, and scales. There will be snacks and drinks for volunteers. For more information, contact Megan Black at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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