FCC News Brief - April 17, 2019

Quote of the Day: “What would the world be, once bereft 
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left, 
O let them be left, wildness and wet; 
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.” - Gerard Manley Hopkins

Read Florida toll-road package advances in Senate, faces gridlock in House- “A multibillion dollar, decade-long proposal spearheaded by Senate President Bill Galvano to funnel funding into three long-planned but dormant toll-road projects has advanced to the Senate floor, but its adoption in the chamber as well as in the House is uncertain. Senate Bill 7068 was unanimously approved Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee and now awaits presentation on the Senate floor. A House committee bill carrying the proposal has two panels to go before it is ready for a chamber vote. SB 7068, shepherded through the committee process by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, would create the Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Program to “advance construction of regional corridors to accommodate multiple modes of transportation and infrastructure to revitalize rural communities, encourage job creation in those communities and provide regional connectivity.” M-CORES would build the proposed 150-mile Heartland Parkway from Polk County to the Naples area, extend Suncoast Parkway about 150 miles north from Chassahowitzka to the Georgia state line and extend the Florida Turnpike about 40 miles west from I-75 to Suncoast Parkway. M-CORES would be funded through annual license plate tag revenues shifted into the State Transportation Trust Fund (STTF) from the state’s general fund and several other state Department of Transportation funds. SB 7068 calls for $45 million in fiscal year 2020 and $90 million in FY21 year and then $135 million annually through 2030 from the STTF, totaling more than $1.3 billion, to finance a state turnpike bond to pay for the bulk of the project…” John Haughey writes for the FL Watchdog.

Read DeSantis downplays chances of offshore drilling - “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday downplayed growing concerns that President Donald Trump is putting Florida’s coastal waters back in play for oil exploration. A political ally of the president, DeSantis said he will “be raising Cain” if drilling plans advance that include Florida waters, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico Range Complex, a military testing range that stretches from the Florida Panhandle to Key West. DeSantis said he anticipates “accommodations” will be made to shield Florida from drilling, as was first announced early last year by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. “We’re just not a state for that,” DeSantis told reporters after an appearance at the Tampa Bay Christian Academy in Tampa. “I think for other states there may be a different calculation. But for us, you know our entire state is coastline. You have a mishap; it has a cascading effect. Whatever jobs would be created (by drilling) could be undercut by chilling tourism.” DeSantis added he wasn’t worried, noting Trump “understands where Floridians are on this” because he is “an oceanfront homeowner in Florida,” alluding to property the president owns in Palm Beach County…” From the News Service of Florida.

Read The new plan for destroying invasive pythons - “Pythons have been breeding and eating their way through the Everglades for two decades with a haphazard strike force in pursuit — a multitude tracking by plane, with dogs, on foot, carrying shotguns, laying traps and earning bounties. Yet the invasive snake advances, erasing furry Florida natives from Everglades National Park, challenging the American alligator, and eyeing wading bird rookeries. This month, a group of federal, state and non-profit officials gathered in Fort Lauderdale to launch an “Interagency Python Management Plan.” It’s hoped the blueprint for python control, which has been talked about since at least 2016, will increase agency coordination, share successes and expand mitigation to all of South Florida and it’s myriad landowners. “I wish this had happened a long time ago, but it is finally taking place,” said Art Roybal, a US Fish and Wildlife Service senior biologist, who began his python fight more than a decade ago when a snake ate an endangered Key Largo woodrat. “We knew pythons were going to be an issue. I call them all-terrain eating machines.” Lead by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the python management planning group will meet four times a year with the expectation that a plan will be drafted in a year or two. While invasive lionfish, melaleuca and even a damaging climbing yam called the air potato have management plans, the python has so far escaped the extra scrutiny that outlines the species history, ecological and economic impacts, range, methods of control and how different agencies will work together…” Kimberly Miller reports for the Palm Beach Post.

Read Kids to state lawmakers: do something - now - about climate change, please- “Juhi Kore experienced first-hand the ravages of our changing climate as a seven-year-old growing up in Mumbai back in July 2005. That’s when her coastal megacity of 10 million people endured 37 inches of rain in a single day. The massive flooding led to more than 1,000 deaths, more than 14,000 destroyed homes and some $1.7 billion in damages. Kore says climate change was part of her education growing up in India. So she was surprised when she moved to the U.S. to see so little emphasis on the changes going on in the world’s climate and its potential to negatively affect the U.S. in the decades to come...Kore was one of several dozen young people who visited the Capitol this week to speak to lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle about their concerns about climate change, and what Florida’s elected leaders might do about it in Florida. It was part of a nationwide “Youth Lobby Day” organized by the environmental group Our Climate, a youth-led organization created to energize younger people about climate change…” Mitch Perry reports for the Florida Phoenix.

Read To nurture nature, neglect your lawn - “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring,” the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush.” I say that poem to myself every day now because I can’t think of any place more beautiful than the American South in springtime. The flowering trees — dogwoods and redbuds and serviceberries, the crab apples and peaches and cherries — are in full glory, and the woody shrubs, cascading with blossoms, are like something out of a fairy tale: forsythia and quince and lilac and bridal veil spirea...A few of these flowers aren’t native to Tennessee, and some of the non-natives can be invasive. Those I pull up or mow under, but the others are beneficial, early-blooming wildflowers that pollinators love...Anybody who’s paying attention would see them for the gifts they are: flowers that arrive, through no effort at all, to feed the bees and the butterflies. But Americans generally aren’t paying attention. Too enraptured with the idea of a lawn that unrolls from the street to their very door, a carpet of green that remains green even when grass is supposed to be dormant, they see these homely little wildflowers as intruders, something to be eradicated...Grass requires a lot of chemicals and a lot of water to thrive. The wildflower seeds that are carried on the wind to my uncultivated yard are also carried on the wind to my neighbors’ highly cultivated grass...But let’s be clear here: “Chemical” is just another way of saying “poison…” Margaret Renkl writes Opinion for the New York Times.

Read Let nature heal climate and biodiversity crises, say campaigners - “The restoration of natural forests and coasts can simultaneously tackle climate change and the annihilation of wildlife but is being worryingly overlooked, an international group of campaigners have said. Animal populations have fallen by 60% since 1970, suggesting a sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is under way, and it is very likely that carbon dioxide will have to be removed from the atmosphere to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Trees and plants suck carbon dioxide from the air as they grow and also provide vital habitat for animals...The United Nations announced a Decade of Ecosystem Restoration at the start of March. “The degradation of our ecosystems has had a devastating impact on both people and the environment,” said Joyce Msuya, the head of the UN Environment Programme. “Nature is our best bet to tackle climate change and secure the future.” Recent research indicates that about a third of the greenhouse gas reductions needed by 2030 can be provided by the restoration of natural habitats, but such solutions have attracted just 2.5% of the funding for tackling emissions…” Damian Carrington reports for The Guardian.

Read Endangered Florida panther dies after being hit by car in Collier - “An endangered Florida panther has died after being struck by a vehicle. It's the seventh fatal collision this year, out of nine total panther deaths. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the remains of a 1-year-old female panther were found Sunday in Collier County, east of Immokalee. Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild…” From the Associated Press.

Read Central American farmers head to the U.S., fleeing climate change - “The challenges of agricultural life in Honduras have always been mighty, from poverty and a neglectful government to the swings of international commodity prices. But farmers, agricultural scientists and industry officials say a new threat has been ruining harvests, upending lives and adding to the surge of families migrating to the United States: climate change. And their worries are increasingly shared by climate scientists as well. Gradually rising temperatures, more extreme weather events and increasingly unpredictable patterns — like rain not falling when it should, or pouring when it shouldn’t — have disrupted growing cycles and promoted the relentless spread of pests. The obstacles have cut crop production or wiped out entire harvests, leaving already poor families destitute. Central America is among the regions most vulnerable to climate change, scientists say. And because agriculture employs much of the labor force — about 28 percent in Honduras alone, according to the World Bank — the livelihoods of millions of people are at stake…” Kirk Semple reports for the New York Times.

From Our Readers

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Job Openings:

Sustainability Administrator - City of Fort Lauderdale

Marine Science Faculty Position- Florida Keys Community College

Education Specialist - Nature’s Academy

Executive Director - Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Upcoming Environmental Events:

April 17 - Rally to help Gov. DeSantis keep his promise to ban ALL fracking! - (Various locations statewide) - “Since the legislative session began in Tallahassee in early March, both the House and the Senate have had numerous opportunities to amend flawed fracking bans. Rep. Raschein took an important step towards a full ban by amending her bill to improve the definition of hydraulic fracturing, but both bills still do not include matrix acidizing in their definition of fracking. It is clear now that Governor DeSantis is the key to getting these bills amended to ban ALL forms of fracking, including matrix acidizing - and we need to hold him accountable to the promise he made on the campaign trail to ban fracking.” ReThink Energy Florida has planned rallies in the following locations: Tallahassee, Old Capitol Building, 400 S Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399 (event details here), Pensacola (more details to follow), Spring Hill, Senator Simpson’s District Office, 4076 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606 (event details here), Sarasota, Unconditional Surrender “The Kiss” Statue, Island Park Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236, (event details here), Port St. Lucie, US 1 & Spanish Lakes Road, Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 , (event details here), Lake Worth, Old Lake Worth City Hall, 7 N Dixie Hwy, Lake Worth, FL 33460 (event details here), Broward, 2610 W Oakland Park Blvd, Oakland Park, FL 33311 (event details here), Hialeah (April 18-Thursday), The Leah Arts District, 1501 E 10th Ave, Hialeah, FL 33010 (event details here). If there isn’t a rally currently planned in your area and you’d like to help plan one, contact Kim at kim@rethinkenergyfl.info.

April 20 - 6:30 PM - Film screening of “Woman at War” - (Pensacola)- Join Earth Ethics, Inc, in partnership with Pensacola Cinema Art, for a viewing of “Woman at War”. This is a foreign Indie film based in Iceland that conveys a global message relatable to all Earth Warriors. “Woman at War is confronting some of the heaviest dilemmas of our time (e.g. how do we bring new life into a broken world).” Although fantastical, the climate change theme and how we deal with these issues is prominently displayed throughout the film.Join us at Studer Community Institute, 220 W. Garden Street (former Sun Trust building), Pensacola, FL. You must RSVP through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/woman-at-war-movie-viewing-tickets-58810076522 in order to reserve your seating. Seating is limited to 30 spots. Tickets, to paid at the door, are $7 and includes free popcorn, wine or water, and light refreshments. There is free off-street parking for attendees. Contact Mary at earthethicsaction@gmail.com for more information.

April 27 - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM - The Water Festival - (Deland) - The Volusia Water Alliance invites one and all to a street party celebrating water with a day of fun activities and performances in historic downtown DeLand. The festival will feature live mermaids, sidewalk chalk artists, dance and musical performances, a Blessing of the Waters (a Native American tradition), children’s games and activities, a Dog Zone, educational displays, and vendor booths. Visit VolusiaWater.org for more information. Admission is FREE. A few sponsorships and vendor spaces are still available. (West Indiana Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720) 

April 27 - 12:00pm - The League of Women Voters Broward County Annual Luncheon featuring former Governor Bob Graham - (Margate) - Members and non-members alike are invited to join the Broward County chapter of the League of Women Voters on Saturday, April 27 at the Carolina Golf Club (3011 Rock Island Road, Margate, FL). Keynote speaker Bob Graham, former Florida Governor and US Senator, founder of the Save the Everglades movement, and a beloved figure in Florida politics, will speak about how and why we should participate in our democracy today. Reserve your tickets by April 19 by visiting this link: Order tickets here. Send questions or special needs to info@lwvbroward.org.

May 16-19 - 39th Annual Florida Native Plant Society Conference - (Crystal River)- Our theme this year "Transitions" is pertinent to the Nature Coast region of Florida in a number of ways - sea level rise, migrations of ecosystems due to climate change, and the transition zone between north and south Florida.  You will be delighted by mind-expanding experiences, tempted by sumptuous meals (including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free) and amazed by the networking and social opportunities. As always, we will offer an abundance of presentations and workshops. 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429 . Click here for attendee and vendor registration.

June 10-14, June 24-28, 2019 - Camp Kids in the Woods at the Austin Cary Forest - (Gainesville) - Is your 6th-9th grade child looking for fun adventure this summer?  Consider Camp Kids in the Woods! Campers will conduct various field explorations led by local scientists from forestry, wildlife, and water resources. Highlights include: fishing, handling wildlife, exploring local ecosystems, a trip to a local spring, camping out one night at the Austin Cary Forest, building wildlife nesting boxes, and participating in games and scavenger hunts. After a week of fun in the forest, campers gain a better understanding and deeper appreciation of their natural world and what is required to be a good steward of the environment. Camp Kids in the Woods summer program is a collaborative effort between the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the USDA Forest Service. Session 1: June 10-14, 2019; Session 2: June 24-28, 2019. For more information and to register visit: www.campkidsinthewoods.org , or contact the Camp Director, Molly Disabb at kidsinthewoods@ifas.ufl.edu

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.


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Save the Heritage Trees at Martin Luther King Jr. Park - Winter Park

No Fracked Gas in Tampa Bay

Help Save Our Panthers

End collection & removal of tropical marine life from Phil Foster Park

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Another Gulf is Possible

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

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

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