FCC News Brief - February 27, 2018

Georgia Ackerman writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Conservation partners are convening in Tallahassee for a three-day conference highlighting the ecologic uniqueness and future health of the Apalachicola River and Bay on March 14-16, at Florida State University.” Read Experts will talk science at Apalachicola River conference

Smantha Grenrock reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “The Florida torreya is the most endangered tree in North America. And it may soon disappear entirely… [R]esearchers and conservationists from across the country are headed to the Torreya Tree of Life event this week to develop a rescue plan.” Read Team mobilizes to save rare Florida torreya

Kevin Robinson reports for the Pensacola News Journal – “An amendment barring offshore drilling in Florida could appear on the ballot this November, but it needs public support to get there.  Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, has submitted Proposal 91, which would prohibit oil and gas drilling for exploration or extraction in and beneath Florida’s state and coastal waters… The bill would only effect Florida’s “territorial waters,” which extend nine nautical miles on the state’s southern and western boundaries, and on the eastern coastal boundary, which extends to the edge of the Gulf Stream or three geographic miles, whichever is greater… Even if P91 passes, federal waters could still be subject to mining operations, especially in light of the Department of the Interior’s controversial new plan to open up about 90 percent of America’s continental shelf to drilling. Currently, there is a federal moratorium on drilling on Florida’s Gulf Coast, but it expires in 2022.” Read Public support could end drilling in Florida waters

Warren Clark and Deirdre MacNab write for The Florida Times Union – “On Jan. 30 the Jacksonville City Council approved Project Volt, an incentive package of $23.8 million over 10 years, hoping to lure a major solar panel manufacturer to Duval County. But just four months ago, the city’s utility company, JEA, dealt a blow to local families who want to install rooftop solar systems… They voted to slash from 10 cents to 3 cents the amount JEA pays families with rooftop solar systems for each kilowatt hour of energy they feed back into the grid. That is just a fraction of the electricity’s true value… The Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida calculates that installing a solar system on one’s home produces a 14.2 percent return on investment, fully paying for itself within seven years…. JEA’s move to slash rates will approximately double that payback period and dramatically reduce the incentive for homeowners to convert to solar. If JEA follows through…, it sends a clear message: We are not friendly to the solar industry. That’s a problem for a community hoping to lure a solar manufacturer through Project Volt… City Council should work not just to woo solar manufacturing with Project Volt but also to reverse JEA’s wrong-headed decision to slash what it pays families with solar panels… who generate surplus electricity. If you agree, contact City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche.” Read JEA’s new policy is unfair to solar energy

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “Has nasty water in the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon affected your outdoor activities? Or your health? U.S. Rep. Brian Mast wants to know about it. The Palm City Republican is asking his constituents to fill out a survey on South Florida water issues, including the harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and the reservoir project designed to cut them… Mast is vice chairman of the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee working on legislation for infrastructure projects and the next Water Resources and Development Act, which provides money to water projects nationwide.” Read Tell Rep. Brian Mast what you think about Lake Okeechobee discharges, Indian River Lagoon

Lawrence Hurley reports for Reuters – “The U.S. Supreme Court… turned away a challenge led by states and environmental groups to an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that lets government agencies transfer water between different bodies, such as rivers and lakes, without needing to protect against pollution… Under the landmark Clean Water Act, permits are required for the ‘discharge of any pollutant’ into ‘navigable waters.’ Opponents of the EPA rule said water transfers can pollute otherwise pristine water bodies and should require permits… Some local government entities, such as the South Florida Water Management District and New York City, supported the regulation in part because obtaining permits and staying compliant is costly… The Supreme Court has been asked before to decide the underlying legal question of whether permits are required for water transfers but has yet to rule on it.” Read U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to EPA water regulation

Tom McLaughlin reports for the Northwest Florida Daily News – “Politicians in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. may choose to ignore the potential menace of sea level rise, but the United States military doesn’t have that luxury.” Read Military on front of line of battle with sea level rise

The New York Times Editorial Board writes – “Following its approval of the big budget deal on Feb. 9, Congress began writing the dozen appropriations bills that direct federal dollars to specific agencies. These bills are likely to be incorporated in one giant omnibus spending measure to be negotiated over the next few weeks by House and Senate leaders in advance of the March 23 expiration of the continuing budget resolution that has kept the government going. Given its urgency, the bill is fertile ground for the kind of mischief the Republicans in particular have been notorious for over the years – loading up must-pass bills like this one with provisions, known as riders, that in most cases could not survive on their own and thus need protective cover… The Democrats are effectively 49 in number, the Republicans 51. By holding his party together, [Mr. Schumer] can deny the Republicans the 60 votes they need to overcome a filibuster – ensuring a clean bill, and a cleaner environment. Public interest groups have counted nearly 90 of these riders, but here are several of the worst…” Read The Dirty Little Deals That Would Foul the Environment



From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Associate Director for the Center for Earth Jurisprudence



Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Solar in Jacksonville      

Tell Congress to Stop Attacking Protections for Dolphins and Whales

Save Endangered Sea Turtles from Drowning in Shrimp Trawls

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


Upcoming Environmental Events    

February 27, 4:30 pm – Participate in an evening paddle along the Guana River in Ponte Vedra Beach. For more information and to register, click here.

February 28 – April 17 – Solar United Neighbors is hosting several solar co-op information sessions around Florida throughout the next few months. Attendees will learn about solar equipment, financing, and the benefits of joining a solar co-op. For a complete list of sessions, click here.

February 28, 6:00 pm – Attend Shore Stories at the Amavida Coffee St. Andrews Cafe (2997 W. 10th St.) in Panama City. The event will feature 6 short films discussing the perils of offshore oil drilling and conclude with a question and answer session with representatives from the Gulf Restoration Network and Surfrider Foundation. For more information, contact Christian Wagley at Christian@healthygulf.org or (850) 687 – 9968.

March 1, 6:00 pm – Attend Shore Stories at Grayton Beer Company (217 Serenoa Rd.) in Santa Rosa Beach. The event will feature 6 short films discussing the perils of offshore oil drilling and conclude with a question and answer session with representatives from the Gulf Restoration Network and Surfrider Foundation. For more information, contact Christian Wagley at Christian@healthygulf.org or (850) 687 – 9968.

March 2 & 3, 6:30 pm – Watch “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” at the Voices of Pensacola Building (117 E. Government Street) in Pensacola. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. Finger food and wine will be served before the movie. For more information, click here or contact Mary Gutierrez at earthethicsaction@gmail.com.

March 3 – 4, 10:00 am – Attend Florida Springsfest in Silver Springs. Enjoy music, art, mermaids, Glass Bottom Boat rides, environmental presentations, and more. For more information, click here.

March 8, 6:30 pm – Attend Newts of the Apalachicola National Forest in Tallahassee. Rebecca and Ryan Means will discuss the plight of the endangered newts of the Apalachicola Forest. For more information, click here.

March 14-16, 8:30 am – Attend The Endangered Apalachicola Conference in Tallahassee. The Apalachicola ecosystem has incredible biodiversity and once provided for a booming oyster industry. Unfortunately, this ecosystem is now struggling to survive due to a lack of fresh water. The problem is so dire, Florida is suing Georgia over its water use! The Florida Conservation Coalition invites you to come learn more about this endangered ecosystem. After Thursday’s overview of challenges facing the Apalachicola, FCC Chair and former Florida Governor, Bob Graham, will host a special keynote dinner. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

March 26, 6:00 pm – Attend a talk by Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper, on The Green Amendment: Our Right to a Healthy Environment at the Working Food Community Center (219 NW 10th Avenue) in Gainesville. Doors open at 5:30 PM.


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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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