FCC News Brief - November 8, 2018

Read Florida votes to ban off-shore oil drilling- “Florida voters today adopted an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits oil drilling in the state's territorial sea. As a result, drilling for oil or gas is now permanently prohibited within 10.5 miles of the Gulf Coast and 3.5 miles of the Atlantic Coast. The amendment was initially proposed by Florida Wildlife Federation as a voter initiative and then revised and presented to the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission…Because of its experience with attempts by Florida government to evade other constitutional amendments, the Federation took steps to anticipate possible litigation. The amendment was reviewed by legal experts and was written so it could be fully enforced without any legislation or implementing rules. Each term of the amendment was chosen because it has an established legal definition under both state and federal law, and all prior state conveyances of submerged coastal lands were reviewed to anticipate and avoid any possible future litigation over the geographic reach of the drilling prohibition. The proposed state constitutional amendment drew little attention when it was initially presented to the state Constitutional Revision Commission early this year, but it quickly gathered momentum as allies joined the effort and both gubernatorial candidates campaigned against off-shore oil drilling. Nonetheless, the Commission attempted to cloud the issue by combining the drilling ban proposal with a proposal to prohibit vaping in public places and by attaching a ballot summary that suggested it would not be fully effective to ban off-shore drilling. The amendment appears to have passed by a 68.8 percent vote, almost 9 percent more than the 60 percent needed for passage. It will be enshrined as Article II, section 7(c) of the Florida Constitution.” Florida Wildlife Federation Press Release.

Read Five policy challenges facing the next governor of Florida - “As soon as he declares victory, the new governor must quickly get to work. He has two months to assemble a team before he takes office to face a gauntlet of challenges in leading the nation's third largest state and its 22 million residents. Once the 46th governor of the State of Florida takes the oath of office, Jan. 8, he has three weeks to write a state budget proposal for a legislative session that begins on March 5. The current budget is $89 billion. But sitting on the desk awaiting the new chief executive are five big-ticket items that are likely to drive his first spending priorities and define the 2019 legislative session. The next governor's to-do list includes addressing a water pollution crisis, a violence-ridden, underfunded state prison industrial complex, a besieged public education system, and a dispirited state workforce as he tries to get the job done. And at the top of the agenda is rebuilding a wide swath of the Panhandle after Hurricane Michael did billions of dollars of damage to private property, infrastructure and farmland...Gov. Rick Scott made job creation his top priority. To that end, the two-term governor and the GOP Legislature dismantled the Department of Community Affairs and the Growth Management Act of 1985, which required the environmental review of major developments. Then they slashed $700 million from the water management districts budgets.…” James Call writes for the Tallahassee Democrat.

Read Too polluted to drink - “For too many families, North Florida’s once pristine groundwater may be unsafe to drink. One nasty pollutant is nitrate, a principal ingredient in synthetic agricultural and urban fertilizers, and in animal manure and human waste. In the past 100 years of rapid development, the ambient concentration of nitrate throughout the Floridan Aquifer has risen from a baseline concentration of less than 0.05 parts per million (ppm) to 1 ppm, a 20-fold increase. As with most environmental variables, this average concentration is greatly exceeded in some local portions of the aquifer. For example, in areas of intensive animal confinement such as dairies and horse farms, in urban areas with high septic tank densities and under highly-fertilized landscapes such as golf courses, nitrate concentrations can exceed 10 ppm, the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act maximum contaminant level goal. ...In a few local areas, the Floridan Aquifer is polluted with nitrate concentrations many times higher than the 10 ppm drinking water standard. For example, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been sampling nitrate in wells just west of the Gilchrist/Alachua county line. The nitrate concentration in one well, immediately downgradient from a former dairy, has increased from 30 ppm to more than 90 ppm over the past five years…” Bob Knight writes Opinion for the Gainesville Sun.

Read South Florida cities green-light bonds for green spaces - “South Florida's green spaces got some serious green from voters Tuesday. A half dozen municipalities across South Florida asked voters to weigh in on bond items that would help pay for parks and recreation initiatives. The projects involved everything from improving lighting and walkways to creating entirely new parks. With little exception, the cities that asked for bonds to fund parks and rec, got them. And there were a lot of places asking: Approved: Doral - $150 million,  Approved: Miami Beach - $169 million, Rejected: Cooper City - $12 million, Approved: Lighthouse Point - $16.5 million, Approved: Margate - $10 million, Approved: Oakland Park - $40 million. "It's great to see more measures on the ballot in Florida," said Will Abberger with the Trust for Public Land, which tracks ballot items that would pay for park development. Abberger says this year saw some of the most parkland bond items since the recession. "That's due in part to the $100 million appropriation that the legislature made for Florida Forever in last year's budget," Abberger said. "Many of the state programs require a local match so having local funding allows voters … to leverage those funds that they approve with state matching funds." Sammy Mack reports for WLRN.

Read Florida panther discovered dead in North Belle Meade - “The remains of the 3-year-old male panther were discovered and collected on Monday. The cause of death is not currently known. Monday’s discovery marks the 27th Florida panther death of 2018. There were 30 in 2017. The critically endangered species has seen 15 dead panthers in Collier County this year, 11 in Hendry and one in Lee County. 24 of the 27 deaths this year have been blamed on vehicles.” Naples Herald Staff report.

Read Re-purpose your campaign signs to make a political statement about sea level rise - “Tuesday, we voted in record numbers, exercising the right every veteran and civil rights leader fought so hard for us to keep. We cast our ballots. But our job is far from done. Our nation is fractured, polarized. Governance is broken. Partisanship and divisiveness ruled the midterms. We need to come together to build a more perfect union. We need to animate democracy. With the election behind us, let’s leave the rhetoric and fear-mongering behind, too, and talk openly and honestly with each other about a threat we all face in a state surrounded by water: sea level rise. Virtually all scientists tell us pollution traps heat in the atmosphere, warms the planet and melts polar glaciers, causing the oceans to rise. The science is indisputable. So is this: Antarctica is coming to town, and it doesn’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat. Protecting the environment can never be a partisan issue. We need to find a way to come together to solve the problem so the environment always wins... Take that campaign yard sign on your front lawn, paint it in white (the color of the Antarctic) glaciers and make a new kind of political statement…” Xavier Cortada writes Opinion for the Miami Herald.

Read Climate change no longer a hoax in the House of Representatives as new majority takes control - “Abigail Dillen, President of Earthjustice, released the following statement in response to the announcement that the Democratic Party will take control of the U.S. House in the 116th Congress: “Tonight, one thing is certain — climate change is no longer a hoax in the House of Representatives. “A new majority, equipped with the power of Congressional oversight and subpoena, has an opportunity to finally show us what’s happened behind the scenes for two years under President Trump. Deep-pocketed dirty industry special interests and their armies of well-paid lobbyists will no longer be able to set the agenda with impunity. “Now more than ever, we need to work overtime to ensure that the courts remain a strong line of defense against an administration that routinely flaunts the majority’s will and the law itself. The Trump administration will continue to have significant regulatory and statutory power — and Earthjustice will always stand up to abuses of that power in the courts. “Tonight’s outcome is a win for the earth and its people — but it is not an invitation to complacency.” From EarthJustice Press Release.


From Our Readers

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Job Openings:

Executive Director - Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Retail Manager- Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Organizing Representative for Sierra Club Florida’s Clean Energy for All Campaign

Upcoming Environmental Events:

November 13th - 5:30 pm - Recycling, recycling and more recycling (Fort Walton Beach)–. Join Earth Ethics, Inc as Jim Reece, Recycling Coordinator for Okaloosa County, talks to us about what can and can't be recycled, how to reduce, refuse, and reuse. Megan Betancourt Founder and Director of Coastal Community Clean up will discuss how they got started, what they do, and how you can get involved. Where: Enlightened Studios – 142 Miracle Strip Parkway – Fort Walton Beach – 32548. Let us know if you plan to join us. Get your ticket by visiting the link here, or check it out on Facebook here.

November 14 - 5:30pm-7:30pm - Walton Solar Co-Op Information Sessions (Santa Rosa Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc to learn more about how you can go solar! Meeting at the Coastal Branch Library, 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Learn more here , or contact Mary Gutierrez at earthethicsaction@gmail.com

November 14 - 12:45pm-2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group (The Villages) - Villages Environmental Discussions Group will hold its next meeting Wednesday, Nov. 14. at the Belvedere Library, 325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL. Two fabulous guest speakers will be visiting us: Melissa Hill of Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) will describe the work of this organization who recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary! Melissa will also describe the work she performs as project coordinator of Nesting Sea Turtle Conservancy. Our next speaker will travel to The Villages from St. Augustine, FL. Maia McGuire, Ph.D., UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Agent, will give an update on the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project. This program is FREE and open to the public.  Bring along a friend. Please send an r.s.v.p. to  resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

November 17 - 9:00am-4:00pm - Highlands County Master Gardeners Festival (Sebring) - Join the Highlands County Master Gardeners for the inaugural Garden Festival. Kicked off at 9:00am by Shannon Reed singing the National Anthem, there will be live music, vendors, food, a kids zone, and plant classes. Where: Bert J Harris Agricultural Civic Center in Sebring: 4509 George Blvd.

November 17, 9:00am-11:00am - National Take a Hike Day (Naples) - Join Conservation Collier to celebrate National Take a Hike Day at either Gordon River Greenway (1596 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples FL) or the Nancy Payton Preserve (1540 Blue Sage Drive, Naples FL). Meet at the Parking Area/Trailhead. Pre-registration required. Call 239-252-2961 or email at conservationcollier@colliercountyfl.gov .

November 27 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP -- Palm Beach County 2070:  What’s Next?  (Palm Beach Gardens) - Join 1000 Friends of Florida and the North County Neighborhood Coalition on Tuesday, November 27 to identify the steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Palm Beach County. We want to hear from you about what you think the biggest obstacles are to sustainability and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.   The workshop is at Nova’s Palm Beach Campus, 11501 North Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit  www.1000friendsofflorida.org/pbco2070plan to find out more.

November 28 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP – Martin County 2070:  What’s Next? (Stuart) - Join 1000 Friends and The Guardians of Martin County on Wednesday, November 28 to share your thoughts on steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Martin County. We want to hear from you about what you think are the biggest obstacles to sustainability in Martin County and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.  The workshop is at the Susan H. Johnson Auditorium, Wolf High-Technology Center, 2400 SE Salerno Road, Stuart.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit www.1000friendsofflorida.org/mco2070plan to find out more.

December 1, 9:00am-4:00pm - 2018 Florida Solar Congress (Miami) - The 2018 Florida Solar Congress is a free public conference. It brings together solar supporters from across the state to learn and discuss the current solar landscape and future for solar energy in Florida. The day will include a series of presentations about solar technology and policy, as well as ways to get involved with helping to grow solar in Florida. Topics will include: solar 101, solar + battery storage for homes, grassroots solar advocacy, electric vehicles, ways to get involved, and much more! The event will conclude with a participatory open forum discussion for all attendees to discuss priorities and opportunities that solar supporters in Florida should focus on in the coming year. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all attendees! RSVP here. Interested in volunteering at this event? Email Heaven Campbell at heaven@flsun.org.

December 1, 12:00pm-4:00pm - NFLT J.J. Grey Concert- (Jacksonville) - The North Florida Land Trust presents Jacksonville-hailing J.J. Grey, singer and songwriter described by his fans as ‘the North Florida sage and soul-bent swamp rocker’ who has gained worldwide acclaim with his band, JJ Grey and Mofro. This December’s concert brings Grey back home to his beloved roots and will feature JJ Grey in a solo performance. Grey shares a commitment to the land of his north Florida home that fits perfectly with North Florida Land Trust’s mission to protect special places in the region. Grey often sings about the changing landscape in northern Florida and his soulfulness and deep beliefs come through in his music. The concert will be held at Congaree and Penn Farm & Mills: 11830 Old Kings Road, Jacksonville, FL 32219. For more information and tickets, visit the NFLT site here.

December 6, 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free Recycle Right to Meet Industry Challenges Webinar - Florida has made great strides in increasing its recycling rates but shrinking global markets for recycling materials and increased “contamination” or non-recyclables in the stream are presenting daunting challenges for the industry.  Join Karen Moore, Recycling Manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Dawn McCormick, Chair of the Florida Recycling Partnership and Waste Management Director of Communications; and a County Recycling Manager as they discuss these challenges and cost implications for Florida’s counties, cities and businesses.  This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM for planners (#9162164) 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 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/.

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.

Petitions

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

Stop the spraying of glyphosate herbicide in Florida waters

Stop Development on Fish Island along the Matanzas River

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

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

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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