FCC News Brief - February 7, 2019

Read Absurd and horrifying: Legislators attack Everglades oil drilling plan - “Broward County’s state legislators Wednesday denounced plans for an oil well in the Everglades as a threat to water supplies and wildlife, as local opponents geared up to continue the legal fight. “The idea of an oil well in the Everglades is equal parts absurd and horrifying,” said Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, whose district includes the west Broward site of the proposed well, in a statement issued by the delegation. “I look forward to this being refuted in court.” An appeals court Tuesday ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection to issue a permit for an exploratory well to Kanter Real Estate LLC, which owns about 20,000 acres in the Everglades. The company, which represents the family of real estate pioneer Joseph Kanter, proposed a single exploratory well about five miles west of U.S. 27 and 10 miles south of Alligator Alley, nearest to the city of Miramar...” David Fleshler reports for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Read Key West finalizes ban on sale of sunscreens that harm coral reefs - “City officials in Key West voted to ban sunscreens containing two ingredients that scientists have said harmful to the coral reef ecosystem. In a 6-1 vote Tuesday, the Key West City Commission banned the sale of sunscreens using oxybenzone and octinoxate beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. Mayor Teri Johnston said it's the commission's "obligation" to protect the reef, which is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S. Researchers say the chemicals lead to bleaching, DNA damage and death of the corals. The vote followed an hour of public comment, with almost every speaker supporting the ban. Commissioner Greg Davila dissented, saying residents should have the choice of sunscreens they want to use. Last year, Hawaii banned sale and distribution of similar sunscreens beginning in 2021…” From the Associated Press.

Read Florida’s toxic algae crisis: Toxins found in air concern researchers - “Governor DeSantis ran on the promise of protecting our environment. Since his inauguration in January, DeSantis has ordered significant changes to improve water quality and has emphasized environmental protection as a top priority. Environmentalists and scientists applaud his efforts, particularly in light of new research that suggests the toxic water crisis may be more extensive than previously thought...Scientists have warned it can cause liver damage, and possibly brain damage.  "If you see a bloom of cyanobacteria, you don’t want to go swimming in it. You don't want to eat any of the seafood in it," said University of Miami marine scientist Dr. Larry Brand. We’ve seen the toxins sicken and kill dogs that drank from the polluted St. Lucie River. But there's something else we can't see that is raising concerns among researchers. Dr. Mike Parsons is leading a series of air experiments at Florida Gulf Coast University. The initial findings are alarming because he found the toxins within the polluted water also drifting through the air in southwest Florida.  “When I first saw that, I was thinking, ‘Uh oh.’ I said, ‘This is concerning because we’re seeing it in the air,’” Dr. Parsons warned. “It means people can be exposed to toxins through the air....” Craig Patrick reports for FOX 13 News.

Read Health alert: Don’t swim or fish where 720,000 gallons of sewage were dumped into waters - “A pump station malfunction led to a massive release of wastewater, prompting the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department to announce a “precautionary advisory” against recreational water usage for part of Northeast Miami-Dade. The advisory recommends no swimming, fishing or boating in the area bounded by Northeast 163rd Street to the north; the Intracoastal Waterway to the East; Haulover Inlet, including Haulover Beach to the south; and mainland Miami-Dade to the west. Also, the advisory covers beaches in Bal Harbour, south of Haulover, and Oleta River State Park. The 720,000 gallons of wastewater were released into a storm drain that led to waterways after what the county agency said was “a mechanical failure at a pump station, 350 Sunny Isles Blvd…” David J. Neal reports for the Miami Herald.

Read New shark regulations expected to further protect Florida’s shrinking population - “While much of the world is focused on 2018 shark attacks, Florida is looking to protect sharks from people.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission later this month will consider new regulations that would restrict how anglers handle protected shark species when fishing from shore. Remember when you went fishing with your uncle at the beach, hooked a bigeye sand tiger and dragged it up to the beach for a social media pic?  Don't do that...Experts with the Florida Program for Shark Research Program and International Shark Attack File have estimated that the majority of sharks hauled onto land die soon after being released...Overall, shark numbers have plummeted around the world in recent decades.  To better protect these species, Bowling said anglers should spend as little time as possible handling protected sharks. "The more of the shark that's in the water the better," Bowling said of properly handling sharks. "If you can, position the shark so the current is flowing over the gills. Some species breath only when swimming, so they need to have water flow in order to breathe or they'll suffocate…” Chad Gillis reports for the Fort Myers News-Press.

Read Climate change is altering the color of the ocean - “A new study from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds that more than half of the world’s oceans will shift color by the year 2100, due to changes in the types and location of phytoplankton. The study, published Monday in the journalNature Communications, offers a new way to predict these changes, a model which could serve as an early warning signal for ocean health. “This is at the forefront of research,” says Amala Mahadevan, a physical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who was not involved with the study. She says that current methods for monitoring phytoplankton provide information about local or regional changes but this new method, which uses satellite data, may offer a clearer, better picture of ocean change. “If we were able to get a global picture, that would be very powerful…” Barbara Moran reports for WBUR News.

From Our Readers

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Job Openings:

Education Specialist - Nature’s Academy

Gulf Research Program’s Science Policy Fellowship

Executive Director - Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Upcoming Environmental Events:

February 7 - 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - North Florida Land Trust’s Annual Meeting - (Jacksonville) - North Florida Land Trust is hosting their Annual Meeting Luncheon to present their accomplishments of 2018 and to show what they have planned for 2019. This is the nonprofit land conservation organization’s annual report to the entire community, including supporters, donors, volunteers and business leaders who help to support the mission of preserving natural areas, historic resources and working lands of North Florida. The annual meeting is open to everyone and is Thursday, Feb. 7 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Friday Musicale at 645 Oak Street in Riverside. Tickets are $45 each and can be purchased at https://904tix.com/events/2019-annual-meeting. For more information or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Genevieve Fletcher at gfletcher@northfloridalandtrust.org or at (904) 479-1967.

February 11 - 6:00PM-7:30PM CST - “The Problem with Plastics” screening & discussion - (Pensacola) - Join Dr. Enid Sisskin Chair of the Natural Resource Committee for the League of Women Voters of the Pensacola Bay Area, as she discusses the “The Problem with Plastics”. The presentation is part of Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series on Monday, February 11th beginning at 6 p.m.at Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W Garden Street, Pensacola, FL. Stay up to date on the event or to RSVP at the Facebook event here. Or get your free event tickets from Eventbrite here. Light refreshments will be served.

February 13- 12:45PM-2:45PM - Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting - (The Villages) -Villages Environmental Discussions Group (VEDG) will host its next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m., at the Belvedere Library, 325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL. Our guest speaker will be Lisa Sanderson, Sumter County UF/IFAS Residential Horticulture Extension Agent II and Master Gardener Coordinator. Lisa will discuss simple home vegetable gardens. She will also describe plants that can be used to attract pollinators. Beginning gardeners and Master Gardeners are welcome to this FREE program. Questions? Email:  raivedg@gmail.com

March 11 - 6:00 PM-7:30 PM - ‘Environmental Justice: What, Why, You’ discussion - (Pensacola) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. in welcoming Wilma Subra, environmental scientist and advocate, guest speaker for Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series for March. Ms. Subra will discuss Environmental Justice issues in our community and across the state and nation. Subra served for seven years as vice-chair of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, for six years on the EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and for five years on the National Advisory Committee of the US Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. She appeared in the 2010 documentary Gasland. The event is being held at Ever’ man Educational Center, 327 W Garden Street, Pensacola, FL. RSVP on Facebook here, or get your free event ticket from EventBrite here. Light refreshments will be served.

March 13 - 10:00 AM-4:00 PM - Reclaiming Florida’s Future For All: Clean Water, Clean Air, Clean Energy - (Tallahassee) - Rethink Energy Florida is hosting an advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol (400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee FL 32301)! We are advocating to protect Florida’s clean water, support renewable energy, and BAN Fracking! We will be talking with our legislators about these critical issues. This event is co-sponsored by Floridians Against Fracking, Sierra Club Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida, Environment Florida, ReThink Energy Action Fund, Food and Water Watch Florida, Center for Biological Diversity, Ignite Change, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. RSVP here or check out the Facebook event for more information.

March 27 - 12:00 PM -1:30 PM - 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/.

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) 

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Help Save Our Panthers

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

Stop Development on Fish Island along the Matanzas River * Learn more about the plight of Fish Island in this WUFT News & UF College of Journalism and Communication publication.

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

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

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