FCC News Brief - April 8, 2019

Quote of the Day: “Accuse not nature: she hath done her part; do thou but thine.” - John Milton

Read Here are key differences in how Florida House, Senate want to spend your tax dollars- “The House passed an $89.9 billion budget Thursday, about $423 million less than the spending plan passed by the Senate on Wednesday, moves that will launch formal budget talks between the chambers. Although the overall number is relatively close, lawmakers remain far apart on funding for K-12 schools, universities, tourism advertising, hospitals affordable housing and roads. The differences must be resolved before the scheduled end of the legislative session, May 3, to prevent an extended or special session. On nearly every issue, the Senate wants to spend more. House Speaker Jose Oliva has set a goal of having less per capita spending than the current $88.7 billion budget. The House bill (HB 5001) passed by a 105-8 vote, with a handful of Democrats opposed. The Senate version (SB 2500) passed unanimously…” Gray Rohrer reports for the Orlando Sentinel.

Read Florida has more vital needs than a toll road - “Everyone who opposes wasteful spending in Florida’s budget should contact their representatives in Tallahassee and ask them to vote against plans to expand Florida’s toll road system into rural parts of the state. The plan in this part of Florida is to build a road from Polk County to the Naples area. There is already an adequate road network that serves existing rural communities. A new road will bypass those communities and promote urban sprawl, whose costs are never a bargain for taxpayers. The roads also threaten to fragment existing wildlife corridors important for the movement of Florida panthers and Florida black bears and threaten the peaceful life many rural residents value. Florida has many needs for its limited revenue. This isn’t one of them…” Tom Palmer writes Opinion for The Ledger.

Read Florida Department of Health emails show agency struggled to manage algae crisis - “With toxic algae fouling Southwest Florida’s inland waterways and coastline last year, state health officials faced a flood of worried questions as people turned to them for crisis leadership. Some were specific: Were Caloosahatchee blue crabs safe to eat? Was it dangerous to breathe near the algae-choked canals? How about swimming in the Gulf? Others were systemic: Who posts warning signs? Was any agency monitoring illness reports? Would water and air be tested for toxins? As red tide devastated wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico from Sarasota to the Ten Thousand Islands, a simultaneous outbreak of blue-green algae contaminated the Caloosahatchee watershed. Images of bloated dolphin carcasses and people jet-boating through algae blooms filled news reports. Social media seethed with rumors and petitions. Former Gov. Rick Scott declared two states of emergency - one for each bloom...Responsibilities and runarounds were common topics, even when officials from other agencies wrote the department. In August, for example, the Department of Environmental Protection’s John Calhoun asked about hot spot air testing: ”We are getting lots of calls from citizens requesting air testing around ponds with algae blooms. We usually refer to the County, who refer them to the local Health Dept, who refer them back to us and our Division of Air. Unfortunately, our Division of Air only does static monitoring of specific locations and doesn’t have the equipment to do local testing like that. Does DOH have any ability & capacity to do such localized air testing?”... Amy Bennett Williams reports for the Fort Myers News-Press.

Read Environmental groups reach tentative settlement with FPL over Turkey Point plant - “Environmental groups reached a tentative settlement agreement with Florida Power & Light over a lawsuit involving the Turkey Point nuclear plant. A joint statement released by FPL and three plaintiffs suing the power giant confirmed peace was in sight. Organizations suing include Friends of the Everglades, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Tropical Audubon Society. “The parties in the Clean Water Act lawsuit (FPL, FOE, SACE, TAS) have reached settlement in the suit and have requested a stay in the legal proceedings to allow the parties to present joint recommendations to DEP regarding permit conditions,” the joint statement reads. “The settlement also addresses water quality in Biscayne Bay in a manner that will be good for Florida and the natural environment in and around FPL’s Turkey Point generating facility in Miami-Dade County…” Jacob Ogles reports for Florida Politics.

Read Matt Gaetz has a climate plan. And it’s not what you’d expect- “Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican firebrand who has drawn the ire of liberals during his short tenure in Congress, is picking a fight with the GOP on climate change. On Wednesday, the two-term lawmaker introduced “a conservative re-imagining” of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) ambitious Green New Deal proposal to combat climate change – and challenged his party to support it… History, he warned, will judge Republicans harshly if they don’t take action to address the problem. The charge may surprise some, given that it comes from a lawmaker who wants to abolish the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – on Wednesday he called it an “$8 billion bloated entity.” Gaetz is also a fierce supporter of President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax” and has cast doubt on a report from his own administration warning of its devastating effects. At the same time, Gaetz is a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus and represents a district in the state’s western Panhandle that he said is still “above water” — a quip reflecting his strong belief in threats posed by climate change…” Allison Stevens reports for the Florida Phoenix.

Read Miami OKs its first legislation to protect from sea level rise- “The Miami City Commission made history March 28 by approving the city’s first piece of legislation related to protections from sea level rise. The move to add resilience methods into the Miami 21 zoning code was met with support from environmental organizations, community leaders and from residents who say the City of Miami is Ground Zero for sea level rise and climate change concerns. City officials’ first attempt at new rules with climate change and sustainability is an ordinance allowing new construction and redevelopment to raise habitable structures out of the flood plain with added “freeboard,” up to 5 feet above the Base Flood Elevation. The amendment will also allow additional first floor height for ground floor retail establishments so that they may better respond to potential changes to public infrastructure in response to sea level rise…” John Charles Robbins reports for Miami Today.


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.

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 8 & 9 - Everglades Action Day - (Tallahassee) - The Everglades Coalition is hosting an advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol (400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Join fellow advocates from all corners of the state and meet with legislators to discuss the importance of a healthy Everglades ecosystem for a clean water supply and for a strong economy. Your voice on Everglades Action Day ensures that the famed ecosystem remains a top priority for elected officials! New to advocacy? No problem. Training and materials will be provided. The Everglades Coalition will sponsor group transportation to make it easy for all to get to Tallahassee (we have an east coast and a west coast bus). Click here to register, see you in Tallahassee! 

April 8 - 6:00 PM - Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series - (Pensacola) - Join us on Monday, April 8th beginning at 6 p.m. at Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden   Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 for Earth Ethics April Environmental Education Series.  Earth Ethics in partnership with Earth Day Network is celebrating and supporting those who “protect our species”. This month we welcome Dorothy Kaufmann, Director at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida. Ms. Kaufmann’s Giving Wildlife A Second Chance presentation will discuss the organizations care of injured or orphaned wildlife including medical care, fostering, rehabilitate and wildlife release. Stay up to date on the event on Facebook here. Or if your not on social media, let us know you’ll be joining us by getting your free tickets at Eventbrite here.

April 9 - Nationwide Youth Lobby Event - (Tallahassee) - Our Climate and NextGen Florida are participating in a Nationwide Youth Lobby Dayby organizing young people in Tallahassee on April 9. We'll head up the evening before to the Florida People's Advocacy Center (603 N Martin Luther King Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32301), then . We have opportunities to attend lobbying webinars with our team: Distributed Youth Lobby Day -- How to Lobby Your Elected Official Webinar, and information on how to plan a Distributed Youth Lobby Day near you. Register for the Tallahassee trip at bit.ly/flyld and share the opportunity with any young people in your life!

April 10 - 1:00pm- 2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group - (The Villages) - Villages Environmental Discussions Group (VEDG) will hold its next program on Wednesday, April 10, from 1:00 to 2:45 p.m., at Belvedere Library Community Room, (325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL 32162.) The guest speaker will be Ryan Armstrong, Manager of Bargains & Blessings Resale store, which is located at 301 N. Main St., Wildwood, FL. Ryan will discuss the work performed in 2014 by volunteers of the United Methodist Church, New Covenant United Methodist Church of The Villages, and men from House of Hope, who helped to renovate and transform the 8,000 square feet to create the resale shop. He will also describe some of the most important successes of this community resale shop. One may purchase quality, affordable furniture, major appliances, clothing, and household goods at the shop. Proceeds of these sales benefit local families who are aided by the Helping Hands Ministry. This program is FREE and open to all. Bring your neighbor and some questions. For additional information, send your note to raivedg@gmail.com.

April 12-13 - 10th Annual Florida Wildflower Symposium - (Gainesville) - The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s signature annual event, focusing exclusively on the state’s native wildflowers and their ecosystems. The purpose of the event is to immerse participants in an educational experience that exposes them to the reality of Florida’s environmental challenges while giving them the tools to affect change. The symposium will offer field trips to local natural areas, hands-on workshops, and educational presentations by experts on planting and growing native wildflowers, creating habitat for pollinators, and much more. Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center 2142 Shealy Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608. For more information and registration, visit the website here.

April 13 - 11:00AM-3:00PM - Earth Day Celebration - (Fort Walton Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. for an Earth Day Celebration at Liza Jackson Park, 338 Miracle Strip Parkway SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. The theme for Earth Day 2019 is  "to protect our species”. We will have vendors that will support the theme, but others will include recycling, hybrid vehicles, solar energy, water education, plastic pollution, and more! This year Earth Day FWB is partnering with Drive Electric Earth Day website. Interested in being a vendor? Click here. Interested in being a sponsor? Click here. Stay up to date on the event’s activities at the Facebook event site here,   and website here.

April 13 - 9:30 AM-4:00 PM - Recognizing the Rights of Nature in Florida Law - (Apopka) - Speak Up Wekiva has organized a workshop featuring the Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to discuss a campaign to bring Rights of Nature to Florida’s charter counties. This particular meeting is for community organizers who have an understanding about the Rights of Nature movement and are ready to take action in Florida.  Space is limited-please email ChuckforFlorida@gmail.com to RSVP and ask for more information.

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.

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.

Petitions

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

Thinking of going electric? Nextcar Pledge

Another Gulf is Possible

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

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

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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