FCC News Brief - December 11, 2018

Read Vero Beach, Stuart officials fail to make case selling open space is essential - “They’re a developer’s dream: large open areas owned by the public, particularly those inside city limits. They’re parks, ports, shuffleboard courts, golf courses and other allegedly “underused” public assets. In many cases, the property was paid for long ago by taxpayers. In some cases, cities don’t properly maintain the property...The Treasure Coast doesn’t have to become South Florida, where governments have succumbed to developers’ pretty renderings of “redeveloped” public space and promises of more jobs and tax receipts. “Instead of looking at short-term benefits, local governments should be protecting and enhancing park lands to benefit both current and future residents,” said Vivian Young, communications director for 1000 Friends of Florida, a statewide nonprofit co-founded by the late environmentalist Nathaniel Reed whose mission is to help build better communities and save special places...Alma Lee Loy, former Indian County commissioner and longtime leader, said it another way. “The 'highest use' is the man who wants to sell something and put the money in his pocket,” she told the Vero Beach City Council recently. “The best use is the one who is going to leave a legacy for the people who come in the future...From the Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board.

Read Trump Rule Would Limit EPA's Control Over Water Pollution - “The Trump administration is expected to put forth a proposal on Tuesday that would significantly weaken a major Obama-era regulation on clean water, according to a talking points memo from the Environmental Protection Agency that was distributed to White House allies this week. The Obama rule was designed to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about a third of the United States. It extended existing federal authority to limit pollution in large bodies of water, like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, to smaller bodies that drain into them, such as tributaries, streams and wetlands. But it became a target for rural landowners, an important part of President Trump’s political base, since it could have restricted how much pollution from chemical fertilizers and pesticides could seep into water on their property...Real estate developers and golf course owners — businesses in which Mr. Trump worked for decades — were also among the chief opponents of the earlier rule, since it could have limited how they used their land. “The opponents of Waters of the United States are going to be pleased with this new rule,” said Myron Ebell, who led Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. transition team and who viewed the memo. “It looks like it’s going to significantly reduce the federal jurisdictional footprint on these waters, to significantly below what it was before the rule.” Environmentalists have denounced the proposed change as a threat to public health that will lead to more pollution in American waters, even as Mr. Trump has repeatedly vowed his commitment to “crystal-clean water.”..” Coral Davenport reports for the New York Times.

Read Why Congressman Francis Rooney supports a carbon tax other conservatives reject - “ When you think Republican, you don’t usually think tax increase and climate change action. But Republican Congressman Francis Rooney isn’t usual. He’s made his top priority since getting to Washington, D.C., obtaining funding for Everglades restoration, and now he’s one of a handful of representatives co-sponsoring a tax on producers of fossil fuels. House Resolution 7173, dubbed The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, the bill would impose a fee on carbon dioxide emissions...The purpose of the tax isn’t to raise money for the government, Rooney said. “I really do feel we need to take measures to disincentivize the burning of coal,” he said. “The main reason for doing it is to drive natural gas and alternative energy.” Other co-sponsors of the bill include Floridians Charlie Crist, and Ted Deutch, both Democrats. That’s a natural alliance, Rooney said, because Florida is threatened by sea level rise more than most states. Rooney envisions a system where the money raised by the tax is routed back to taxpayers, perhaps in the form of tax credits toward things like the payroll tax for Social Security or unemployment insurance. Workers would see less money withheld from their paychecks under that scenario, he said. Separate legislation will be required to accomplish that, he acknowledged…” Brent Batten reports for the Naples Daily News

Read Restoring the Indian River Lagoon is complicated. Here’s why  - “For half a century, human activity has hammered our river by flooding it with nutrients. That lets algae get ahead, these tiny plants blocking sunlight and stifling the growth of seagrass. That then takes away the hiding places for shrimp and crabs and little wiggly things. The mullet and glass minnows and other baitfish don’t like the murky water either. In turn, this decline hurts our manatees and dolphins. It starves out the redfish, the snook, the seatrout we were once famous for. We don’t like it either. We’re taking action. Our politicians see votes in advocating for the lagoon. We’ve taxed ourselves to put some real money into the solution. Fixing the river has become a civic virtue, a political good, an endeavor seen by our community as essential to our economic future and quality of life. But fixing the river is hard. The Marine Resources Council pins down the problem this way: “How do you manage and restore a 156-mile lagoon that spans 42 cities and five counties?” There’s no single answer. No one agency or program or project is going to do it. Like the lagoon itself, its repair is complicated. How complicated? Let’s list the sources of the problem and then the three things that control the outcome: what’s to be done; how it gets paid for; and who controls the activity. Problem sources? Property owners. Wastewater utilities. Vehicle emissions. Electric utilities. Livestock waste. Fertilizer application. Bad septic systems. Leaking sewer lines. Stormwater systems that fail in storms or can’t handle the rainfall. Runoff from streets and driveways. Lawn clippings. Untraceable stormwater and groundwater sources. Agricultural operators. Lawn maintenance operators. Fertilizer sales outlets…” John Byron writes Opinion for Florida Today.

Read Four months later, red tide is still in our waters. Experts can’t say when it will end - “ [This year’s red tide outbreak] has seen ebbs and flows, survived two tropical systems and continues to take a toll. Until recently, the sight of piles of dead fish had gladly gone away. But there was an ominous reason, as declared by Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker: “They’re all dead.” Yes, Florida red tide has been around for centuries. Yes, red tide is naturally occurring and there may or may not be some man-made influences making the current 14-month long event more severe than it needed to be, depending on whom you ask...Scientists and researchers say blue-green algae that spills from Lake Okeechobee are fueling the red tide hitting Anna Maria Island and other parts of Manatee County. When blue-green algae, which is fueled by fertilizers that spill into the lake, hits saltwater and dies, it becomes a nutrient for red tide. “We found that nutrient sources supporting K. brevis blooms are multiple, diverse, and complex.,” government scientists wrote in a report summarizing research conducted from 2006 to 2012. “We quantified and evaluated known nutrient sources for relative significance. The greatest nutrient sources were the decay and recycling of the cyanobacteria (blue-green alga) Trichodesmium bloom biomass and nutrient release from zooplankton grazing ...” Mark Young reports for the Bradenton Herald.

Read Pentagon relies on antiquated, dangerous methods for hazardous waste disposal - “It’s a shocking case of arrested development. In a nation that prides itself on high technology, our federal government is burning and detonating hazardous waste in the open air, using stone age disposal methods long ago outlawed for private companies. Currently, at more than 60 sites across the United States, millions of pounds of unneeded explosives such as bombs, artillery shells, propellants, tactical missiles, rockets, pyrotechnics, igniters, cartridges, rounds, incendiaries such as napalm, land mines, flares and smoke canisters are burned and exploded in the open air...Eglin Air Force Base is the OB/OD disposal site for waste explosives and munitions generated at Hurlburt Field, Tyndall Air Force Base, Pensacola Naval Air Station, and Navy Support Activity Panama City, as well as Eglin itself. A Florida DEP permit allows nearly 9 million pounds of these wastes to go up in smoke and come down in air and water pollution. While sites in other states are prohibited from OB/OD of certain wastes such as depleted uranium, red and white phosphorus, incendiaries, riot control gear and 50 mm rounds, there are no such prohibitions at Eglin. And transport of hazardous waste from the other four facilities shares the roads we all use daily…” Enid Sisskin writes Special to the Pensacola News Journal.

Read Sludge’s new destination: Polk County landfill - First Crystal River. Then Alabama. Now it appears a Polk County landfill will be the final destination for the Fort Myers sludge. The city, which was prepared in early September to send 30,000 tons of toxic sludge to a Crystal River area limerock quarry for processing, cancelled the plan when Citrus County residents pitched a fit and commissioners threatened to sue if the city followed through on it. At first Fort Myers representatives said they were going to send the material to the LafargeHolcim facility in northwest Citrus for processing, then have it barged to a company-owned cement plant in Theodore, Alabama. Even as Citrus County pushed back, the Southwest Florida city would not relent. The city’s consultant, PPM Consultants, issued a memo Friday saying the material will be trucked to a waste solidification facility in Mulberry, where it will be blended with sawdust and Portland cement before final disposal in a  Bartow landfill. Mulberry and Bartow are in Polk County, east of Tampa. The sludge, deposits from an old water plant, was deposited on city-owned property decades ago. In time, a neighborhood grew up around it but city officials did not disclose the material was tainted with arsenic, according to various Fort Myers media reports…” Mike Wright reports for the Citrus County Chronicle

Read This huge Gopher Tortoise may be ‘largest on record’ in Florida - “ Gopher tortoises, a species native to the southeastern United States, are known for their large size, but one massive gopher tortoise found in Sanibel, Florida has even scientists scrambling for their measuring tools...Gopher tortoises are so named because of their ability to dig large, deep burrows, according to the Defenders of Wildlife. These burrows they dig are widely used by other species throughout the ecosystem, including burrowing owls, eastern indigo snakes, and gopher frogs, making gopher tortoises a keystone species with a pivotal role to play in their native community. The tortoise is estimated to be at least 50 years of age, possibly older. He was likely able to reach such a size, in part, due to the protected habitat where he resides within the state park. Gopher tortoises are listed as a threatened species in the state of Florida, according to CROW, with habitat destruction and fragmentation being a major factor that contributes to their vulnerability…” Stephanie Valera reports for Geek.com


From Our Readers

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Upcoming Environmental Events:

December 12, 6:00PM-8:00PM - “Evenings at the Homestead: Toxic Puzzle Film" - (Sanibel) - The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation will host "Evenings at the Homestead: Toxic Puzzle Film" on Dec. 12 at from 6 to 8 p.m. in the pavilion at the Bailey Homestead Preserve. This award-winning documentary "Toxic Puzzle," is about the hunt for a link between toxic algal blooms and ALS and Alzheimer's, and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with a panel of experts. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with refreshments available. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through Eventbrite here. For more information contact the SCCF at 239-472-2329.

December 17, 2018 – 2:00PM-5:00PM– Alachua County Legislative Delegation – (Gainesville) – Attend the Alachua County Delegation meeting at Santa Fe College NW Campus (Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd St. Gainesville, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To be placed on agenda, email Adriana Mitchell, Mitchell.adriana@flsenate.gov .

December 17, 2018 – 12:00PM-5:00PM– Volusia County Legislative Delegation– (Daytona Beach) – Attend the Volusia County Delegation meeting at Daytona Beach City Hall (301 S Ridgewood Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32114). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

December 17, 2018 – 1:00PM-2:00PM– Pasco County Legislative Delegation– (Land O’Lakes) – Attend the Pasco County Delegation meeting at the Pasco County School Board District Campus (7227 Land O'Lakes Blvd, Building #3, Land O'Lakes, FL 34638). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To be placed on the agenda, email harrison.patty@flsenate.gov by noon Wednesday December 12, 2018.

December 18, 2018 – 4:00PM-6:00PM– Clay County Legislative Delegation– (Green Cove Springs) – Attend the Clay County Delegation meeting at the Clay County Commission Chamber, (4th Floor, 447 Houston St., Green Cove Springs, FL 32043). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To be placed on the agenda, contact Tammy Still, (tammy.still@myfloridahouse.gov ).

December 18, 2018 – 1:00PM-2:00PM– Pinellas County Legislative Delegation– (Seminole) – Attend the Pinellas County Delegation meeting at the St. Petersburg College-Seminole Campus (9200 113th Street, Seminole, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  

December 18, 2018 – 9:30AM-4:00PM– Broward County Legislative Delegation– (Fort Lauderdale) – Attend the Broward County Delegation meeting at 115 South Andrews Avenue Room 430, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To be placed on the agenda, complete this Speaker Form.

January 14, 2018 – 9:00AM-11:00AM– Suwannee County Legislative Delegation– (Live Oak) – Attend the Suwannee County Delegation meeting at Live Oak City Hall (101 White Ave SE, Live Oak, FL 32064). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

January 14, 2018 1:00-3:00PM– Columbia County Legislative Delegation– (Lake City) – Attend the Columbia County Delegation meeting at the Florida Gateway College Administrative Building 1 Board Room (149 SE College Place, Lake City, FL, parking near Library). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 14, 2018 4:00-6:00PM – Baker County Legislative Delegation– (Macclenny) – Attend the Baker County Delegation meeting at the Macclenny City Hall, Commission Room (118 E Macclenny Ave, Macclenny FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 15, 2018 – 9:00AM– Martin County Legislative Delegation– (Stuart) – Attend the Martin County Delegation meeting at Indian River State College Chastain Campus, Wolf Technology Center (2400 E Salerno Road, Stuart FL 34997). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

January 15, 2018 – 5:00PM-9:00PM– Brevard County Legislative Delegation– (Palm Bay City) – Attend the Brevard County Delegation meeting at Palm Bay City Council Chambers (120 Malabar Road, Palm Bay City, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  Deadline to appear is noon January 7, email Anna Budko, Anna.Budko@myfloridahouse.gov.

January 15, 2018 – 9:30AM-4:00PM– Broward County Legislative Delegation– (Fort Lauderdale) – Attend the Broward County Delegation meeting at 115 South Andrews Avenue Room 430, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To be placed on the agenda, complete this Speaker Form. Topics for this meeting include the environment and growth management.

January 16, 2018 – 1:00PM– Dixie County Legislative Delegation– (Cross City) – Attend the Dixie County Delegation meeting at Dixie County Commission Chamber, County Courthouse, (214 NE Hwy 351, Cross City, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 

January 16, 2018 – 9:00AM-12:00PM– Indian River County Legislative Delegation– (Vero Beach) – Attend the Indian River County Delegation meeting at Indian River County Administration Complex, (1801 27th St, Building A, Vero Beach, FL 32960). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, a request form and corresponding materials must be delivered to Sen. Mayfield's office no later than January 9. To receive a request form, email Margaret Mitchell at Mitchell.Margaret@flsenate.gov .

January 16, 2018 10:00-11:30AM – Lafayette County Legislative Delegation– (St. Mayo) – Attend the Lafayette County Delegation meeting at County Commission Chamber, Lafayette County Courthouse (120 W Main St, Mayo, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 16, 2018 – 4:00PM– Gilchrist County Legislative Delegation– (Trenton) – Attend the Gilchrist County Delegation meeting at County Commission Meeting Facility, (210 S. Main Street, Trenton, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 

January 19, 2019 - 10:00am-12:00pm - Rising Sea Levels- Are we losing our coastal cities? (Deerfield) - The Deerfield Progressive Forum will host Dr. Colin Polsky, Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies and Professor of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University, for a discussion of sea level rise and its impacts on Florida. For 39 years progressives in South Florida have been enlightened by a series of weekly talks presented by nationally distinguished speakers on provocative current issues. Lively discussion follows each talk. The Deerfield Progressive Forum meets every Saturday morning from December through March from 10:00 AM-noon in Century Village, Deerfield Beach. For more information, visit their site here.

January 22, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Preview Webinar - The 60-day 2019 Florida Legislative Session starts on March 5 and is scheduled to end on May 3 of 2019.  The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others.  1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that may be up for consideration during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and will discuss how this could impact state and local governance and planning in Florida. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162191) and .15 CEUs for Florida Environmental Health Professionals. 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

January 28, 2018 – 2:00PM-5:00PM– Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation– (Boynton Beach)– Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at Lakeside Medical Center, (39200 Hooker Highway, Belle Glade). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, complete this form and return by mail or email to Christine Shaw, Cshaw1@pbcgov.org.

January 28, 2018 – 2:30PM-6:00PM– Orange County Legislative Delegation– (Orlando)– Attend the Orange County Delegation meeting at the Orange County Administration Center, Commission Chambers (201 South Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, email LD@ocfl.net to request an appearance form.

March 27, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Update Webinar - This free webinar is scheduled for a little more than three weeks into the 2019 Florida Legislative Session. The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others. 1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that are being considered during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and other legislation that may surface as the session progresses. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162194). 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, Florida Environmental Health Professionals, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved. Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

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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