Read Former Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham said environment needs to be prioritized statewide- “...Graham said he has concerns about how the state’s legislators have currently approached environmental projects. He said he’d like to see more funding go to the state's premier land-purchasing program, Florida Forever. Lawmakers and DeSantis have proposed spending about $100 million on Florida Forever this year. Florida Forever used to receive about $300 million a year when it was established in 1999, but legislators gutted it since the 2008 recession. Last year, the program received $100 million for the first time since the recession. Graham said he'd like to see the program restored to its original levels. “I had hoped, and still hope, we’ll get back to that in 2019,” Graham said. Environmentalists have criticized some state legislators for using funds from the state's land acquisition trust fund for purposes other than land purchasing and restoration…” Ali Schmitz reports for the TCPalm.
Read Florida House budget proposal gives governor the environmental money he sought - “A $3.97 billion proposal for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission includes $607.4 million for Everglades restoration and water-improvement projects such as combating future outbreaks of toxic algae and red tide. DeSantis asked for $625 million as the first part of an ambitious $2.5 billion in funding over the next four years...Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has said the governor’s environmental-funding request may be “pushing” the limits of a budget expected to be stretched because of the response to Hurricane Michael. An initial Senate environmental-budget proposal will be released Wednesday, said Sen. Debbie Mayfield, a Rockledge Republican who chairs the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee…” Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida.
Read Senate eyes BP money for rural areas - “Rural Panhandle counties recovering from Hurricane Michael would be in line to receive settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, under a bill advanced Monday in the Senate. The Commerce and Tourism Committee backed a proposal (SB 1162) that would direct to inland rural counties about $5.3 million a year, which is 5 percent of the annual payments the state receives in a settlement with BP over impacts from the deadly offshore oil-rig explosion. As lawmakers begin moving forward this week with the process of drawing up a 2019-2020 budget, Sen. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, said the state needs to “step up our game” to help areas of the Panhandle that sustained severe damage in the Oct. 10 hurricane. The non-profit organization Triumph Gulf Coast was created by the Legislature to oversee three-fourths of the $2 billion that Florida is expected to receive. Triumph is required to direct the money to infrastructure and workforce-training programs in the coastal counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla. Florida is slated to get $106.7 million a year through 2033, with Triumph Gulf Coast receiving about $80 million, according to a Senate staff analysis...But the fate of hurricane funding proposals could brush up against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request for $625 million next year as the first part of a four-year, $2.5 billion outline of environmental projects. DeSantis’ proposal includes Everglades restoration and efforts to offset a repeat of the algae blooms that plagued Southwest Florida and Southeast Florida in 2018…” Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida.
Read Highway construction bill speeds through Senate committee - “The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee greenlit a bill that would pave the way for three mammoth road projects. SB 7068, sponsored by Thonotosassa Sen. Tom Lee, would extend two highways and fund the construction of a third. The extensions both relate to the Suncoast Parkway. One of the projects would extend it from its current terminus in Citrus County all the way to the Florida-Georgia Border. The other would connect the Florida Turnpike to the Tampa Bay area highway. The third project would build a new highway connecting Polk and Collier counties. The bill, a priority of Senate President Bill Galvano, funds the roads projects at $128 million in the 2019-20 budget, with $45 million of that cash coming from the State Transportation Trust Fund and $83 million from general revenue...During the hearing, committee members approved a strike-all amendment that made only a few substantive changes, namely adding language to assure recommendations from an environmental impact study will be heeded. Those changes addressed concerns from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club of Florida. With the committee’s affirmative vote, the bill now heads to the full Senate Appropriations Committee…” Drew Wilson reports for Florida Politics.
Read Can Florida save its prized Everglades from climate change destruction?- “Half of all Floridians will live underwater by the end of the century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s predictions. In her disheartening article in The Guardian, researcher and author of Rising, Elizabeth Grant instructs Floridians to flip a coin – tails and your home is headed under the sea. Overpopulation, unsustainable development and sea level rise also threaten to destroy Florida’s famous Everglades, but the newly elected Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, is an unexpected champion of its restoration. The Everglades are an expansive wetland preserve in Southern Florida that originally spanned millions of acres. Since European settlers arrived, the wetlands were rapidly drained and filled to make way for farms, roads and housing. Now, 1.5 million acres remain protected in the Everglades National Park, which is home to incredible biodiversity, such as “mangrove forests and cypress swamps, alligators, orchids, storks and ibises, as well as threatened species such as the Florida panther,” according to The Guardian…” Lucienne Cross writes for Inhabitat.
Read Wastewater- private equity’s new black gold in U.S. shale- “[Mike Christensen]’s company is one of dozens opening sites like this one that handles, not the lucrative oil, but the shale industry’s dirty secret: wastewater. While U.S. oil production has reached record levels on account of the shale revolution of the last decade, much of the supporting infrastructure has failed to keep up, including how to transport the large quantities of water used in the hydraulic fracturing process and the water that is produced from wells alongside oil and gas. “You can’t bring production online until you have a solution for the water,” said James Lee of Riveron Consulting. Christensen’s company, On Point Oilfield Holdings, owns a water disposal network that this year will take up to 375,000 bpd of wastewater. Some of that water will be recycled, but millions of gallons will eventually be sunk deep underground in West Texas. “Water was always an afterthought for producers,” said Christensen, who stretches him arm and draws a 360-degree arc to show the locations of lines carrying oilfield bilge to the site. “Now it’s a business plan in itself.”...The average frack job now consumes 13 million gallons (49 million liters), up 40 percent in two years, according to a Reuters analysis of Permian producers’ data reported to FracFocus.org. That translates to water bills in the Permian Basin soaring 17 percent this year to $14 billion, according to consultancy IHS Markit, more than three times what North American producers spent last year on sand to frack their wells…” Jennifer Hiller reports for Reuters.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events:
March 23 - 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Community Workshop: Speak Out Against the DeSoto Phosphate Mine - (Arcadia) - Join the Center for Biological Diversity and allies for a workshop on March 23 at the Peace River Campground, 2998 NW Hwy 70, Arcadia, FL 34266. This past July the people of DeSoto County scored a big win over Mosaic Fertilizer's proposed phosphate mine when county commissioners voted to deny the requested rezoning. The mine would have destroyed 18,000 acres of habitat and created radioactive waste that threatens our drinking water. But the fight isn't over yet. Mosaic has forced the county into a dispute-resolution process, where the county must reconsider its previous decision and enter into settlement negotiations with the company. At this workshop you'll learn more about the destructive phosphate mining industry and you will learn how to effectively voice your opposition. After completing the workshop you'll be ready to participate in the public mediation on Wednesday, April 3 at 9 a.m. RSVP HERE.
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/.
March 30 - 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM - Earth Hour 2019 - (Pensacola)- Join Earth Ethics, Inc. for a potluck, poetry and power off in recognition of Earth Hour 2019. Earth Hour is about uniting people around the global to share why nature matters and to continue raising awareness of our interconnectivity with nature. “As accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss threaten our planet, Earth Hour 2018-2020 endeavors to spark never-before-had conversations on the loss of nature and the urgent need to protect it.” Join us at Pensacola Open Books Bookstore & Prison Book Project located at 1040 N Guillemard St, Pensacola, FL 32501 to share your story and vision for our future. Contact Mary at email@example.com for more information.
March 30 - 7:00 PM - Films for the Sea - (Pensacola) - Join Healthy Gulf for their Films for the Sea screenings related to the environment, surfing, and the health of our oceans. We’ll watch films that take us around the world to beautiful coastal places and the people who love them, from British Columbia and Hawaii to the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Beach. The work of local photographer and filmmaker Sean Mullins is included. Before and after the films there will be plenty of educational information on how citizens can take action to help to protect the Gulf of Mexico and local waterways. Beverages and food from Café Single Fin will be available. For much more information about Films for the sea please visit Healthy Gulf on Facebook or call 850-687-9968 or firstname.lastname@example.org (Waterboyz, 380 N. Ninth Ave., Pensacola).
April 4 & 5 - International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society - (Miami Gardens) - At the second International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society hosted by St. Thomas University and The Nature Conservancy, a diverse group of leaders from multiple faiths and sustainability focused organizations will gather in South Florida to discuss our changing climate, implications and solutions. The conference will explore how participants and communities of faith can take action to address climate challenges. Together, we can implement solutions that are respectful and supportive of the nature that sustains us and must sustain future generations, and preserve the environment that renews our spirits. Registration and agenda. Moot Court, School of Law, St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054 View Map - Directions. Thursday, April 4 from 9am-5pm and Friday, April 5 from 9am-12pm.
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 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 email@example.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)
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.
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