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Danny Mcauliffe reports for Florida Politics – “The state Senate’s environmental priorities, which include boosting funding for… Florida Forever along with funding for beaches, are kinks that still need to be fleshed out before Friday’s budget conference deadline… The original Senate budget – which was modified Wednesday as part of the negotiation process – allocated $100 million to Florida Forever, along with $50 million worth of non-recurring funds. An early review of the Senate’s first offer indicates the chamber has bumped the total transfer to Florida Forever to $200 million worth of non-recurring funds… ‘Clearly Florida Forever is something we have to work on,’ Albritton said. ‘We are significantly apart on that.’ He believes the bargaining will focus on allocations to beach projects and Florida Forever – both favored by the Senate – and agricultural spends, such as citrus canker claims. Those claims are funded in the House at $107 million and are not funded in the Senate’s offer… With regard to the Senate’s $50 million allocation for St. Johns River restorations and up to a $75 million allocation for springs restorations – priorities of Senate budget chief Rob Bradley – Albritton said those details are ‘second tier’ issues to iron out.” Read Florida Forever, beaches will dictate environment negotiations
Jill Zima Borski reports for Florida Keys News – “A coalition of elected representatives and managers from Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo journeyed to the nation’s capital in February to pursue water quality funding as promised years ago when the Florida Keys began to spend what amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars on advanced wastewater treatment systems… Additionally, the Keys group asked for disaster assistance... [and] expressed support for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan… Islamorada Village Manager Seth Lawless said because land acquisition did not get funded last year, Florida Keys officials pressed state legislators for funds for the Florida Forever program…” Read Local officials pursue water quality funding
Carly Zervis reports for the Citrus County Chronicle – “ ‘This is part of a new video series where we’re going to be highlighting different regional parts of the corridor around the state,’ said Florida Wildlife Corridor Executive Director Lindsay Cross. ‘It’s a network of both publicly owned places – Chassahowitzka and the Crystal River preserve, here – and in between those, connecting them up, are areas that are currently in private ownership. Right now there’s still opportunities for wildlife like bears and panthers to move between their different habitats.’ In pursuit of ensuring that the corridor is preserved and protected, the [Florida Wildlife Corridor] tries to illustrate its value and importance for people who may not get to explore it firsthand…. ‘We continue to have projections that there’s thousand new people coming to our state every day. When you add all of those impacts and the conversion of land to urban uses, it equates to about 20 acres an hour that we lose,’ Cross said.” Read Nature stars in new documentary
John Burr writes for The Florida Times Union – “Here in Jacksonville… we have a fabulous opportunity to participate in the national greenway movement… Area flood control would be incorporated into the construction of the greenway. Hurricane Irma sent Jacksonville an urgent wakeup call on the danger of flooding. A greenway along these two urban creeks can greatly help alleviate this threat to Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.” Read New hope for Emerald Necklace
RJ Roan reports for the Naples Herald – “Two more Florida panthers have been found dead in Collier County… According to FWC, the remains of two female panthers, one three years old and one estimated to be five or six years old, were collected along Collier County roadways… The discoveries mark 11 deaths so far in 2018, with six of them in Collier County. All 11 deaths have been due to vehicle collisions.” Read Two more Florida panthers hit by cars in Collier
Mark Woods writes for The Florida Times Union – “When [Marjory Stoneman Douglas] died in 1998, Tampa Bay Times writer Jeff Klinkenberg… wrote a column about the woman he considered to be one of his heroes. ‘She was our Joan of Arc,’ he said. ‘Tiny and frail, a straw hat upon her head and pearls around her neck, she could be counted on to stand up to defend the Everglades. She spoke with the moral authority of someone who knew herself, who knew what was important and what was right, and didn’t care what anyone thought once she had made up her mind. The Everglades were worth saving. And that was that.’” Read Remember shooting, but don’t forget Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “The tortoise was one of nearly 800 spared from parkway harm at a cost of nearly $1.9 million to state road builders. Both figures will rise as work continues on a toll road to span from Mount Dora to Sanford and bridge the Wekiva River. That spending of more than $2,300 per tortoise… amounts to the price of saving a “keystone” species. The animal and its ways are essential to the survival of many animals. State officials concluded about a decade ago that tortoises faced oblivion.” Read Wekiva Parkway gopher tortoises face rough road
Justin Worland reports for TIME – “A group of more than 20 college Republican groups issued a call to action on climate change… The announcement from the newly-announced Students for Carbon Dividends group is the latest signal of a fissure between an older generation of elected Republicans who view climate change policies with skepticism and young conservatives who accept global warming science and want to see a conservative solution to the problem… Student leaders behind the alliance, which includes college Republican groups from a diverse array of schools stretching from the heartland to New England, will promote a proposal for the federal government to tax carbon dioxide emissions from industry and return the revenue to taxpayers as a dividend. The plan also calls for a repeal of Obama-era climate change regulations. The specific tax and dividend structure endorsed by the young Republicans was first proposed last year by a group of Republican party elder statesmen including former secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker as well as conservative economists including N. Gregory Mankiw and Martin Feldstein, both Harvard University professors… The new coalition hopes… the proposal… will help win over disenchanted young Republicans. Polling from the Pew Research Center showed nearly a quarter of people under 30 who identified as Republican in 2015 switching to the Democratic Party by 2017. Young people, including young conservatives, overwhelmingly support measures to combat climate change… Economists have hailed a carbon tax as the most efficient mechanism to address climate change… Schultz, who served as Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State and Richard Nixon’s Treasury Secretary, tells Time… ‘All the major actions in the conservation area have taken under the leadership of Republican presidents,’ says Shultz, referring to the creation of the national park system and the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency, among other things. ‘There are a few people who have fallen off the bandwagon, but we’ll get back to our tradition. And the college Republicans show how that’s going to happen.’” Read Why College Republicans Think the GOP Should Act on Climate Change
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
March 2 & 3, 6:30 pm – Watch “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” at the Voices of Pensacola Building (117 E. Government Street) in Pensacola. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. Finger food and wine will be served before the movie. For more information, click here or contact Mary Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 3 – 4, 10:00 am – Attend Florida Springsfest in Silver Springs. Enjoy music, art, mermaids, Glass Bottom Boat rides, environmental presentations, and more. For more information, click here.
March 3, 11:00 am – Attend “Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive” in Palm Harbor. Come out and learn about the fun (and savings!) of driving electric. Ride and Drives will be available by registering with local dealership tables at the event. Electric vehicle owners will be showcasing their electric vehicles and sharing their experience of driving electric. There will also be demonstrations on how to charge your electric vehicle and how to use apps to find charging locations. For more information and to register, click here.
March 6 – April 17 – Solar United Neighbors is hosting several solar co-op information sessions around Florida throughout the next few months. Attendees will learn about solar equipment, financing, and the benefits of joining a solar co-op. For a complete list of sessions, click here.
March 8, 6:30 pm – Attend Newts of the Apalachicola National Forest in Tallahassee. Rebecca and Ryan Means will discuss the plight of the endangered newts of the Apalachicola Forest. For more information, click here.
March 14-16, 8:30 am – Attend The Endangered Apalachicola Conference in Tallahassee. The Apalachicola ecosystem has incredible biodiversity and once provided for a booming oyster industry. Unfortunately, this ecosystem is now struggling to survive due to a lack of fresh water. The problem is so dire, Florida is suing Georgia over its water use! The Florida Conservation Coalition invites you to come learn more about this endangered ecosystem. After Thursday’s overview of challenges facing the Apalachicola, FCC Chair and former Florida Governor, Bob Graham, will host a special keynote dinner. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
March 13, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussion Group at the Belvedere Library (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Speakers include Chris Mericle, talking about citizen protests against phosphate mining in Union and Bradford Counties, and Hunter Miller, discussing current threats to our oceans and action steps the group can take. For more information and to RSVP, contact Mary Hampton at email@example.com.
March 13, 7:00 pm – Attend Get the Green Out: Algal Bloom Presentation in Orange Park. St. Johns Riverkeeper will explain what causes blue-green algal blooms and why they may be toxic for you and the St. Johns River. Then, learn how you can take action to reduce algal bloom occurrences. For more information and to register, click here.
March 17, 9:00 am – Participate in St. Johns River Clean Up & Celebration: Goodbys Creek Paddle & Clean Up in Jacksonville. For more information, click here.
March 26, 6:00 pm – Attend a talk by Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper, on The Green Amendment: Our Right to a Healthy Environment at the Working Food Community Center (219 NW 10th Avenue) in Gainesville. Doors open at 5:30 PM.
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.
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.
Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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