Michael Baldwin and Mark Perry write for the Miami Herald – “On behalf of the 63 organizations of the Everglades Coalition, committed to the protection and restoration of the Everglades, we urge Miami-Dade decision makers to deny application for expansion of State Road 836 past the protective Urban Development Boundary (UDB)… Miami’s low-lying topography make the city uniquely vulnerable to rising tides… To make things worse, Miami is experiencing a faster-than-average rate of sea-level rise. This is not just a coastal issue – the county’s western periphery will also experience increased flooding in already low-lying areas… As Miami’s population grows, so does the demand for freshwater. Continued withdrawal of freshwater from the Biscayne aquifer, combined with the rising seas, will allow saltwater to further infiltrate the aquifer and render it unusable… Fortunately, solutions are at hand: Pursue full-scale accelerated Everglades restoration; cease new development in the low-lying western and eastern periphery of the county; and encourage infill development, walkability and transit-oriented development to accommodate growth. To achieve these objectives, we simply need to commit to upholding the protections which already exist, most notably the Miami-Dade Urban Development Boundary (UDB) which prohibits development in the low-lying western and eastern portions of the county. The unpaved sensitive land outside the UDB is critical to protecting our water supply and to Everglades restoration efforts… It contains lands designated for Everglades restoration projects… The latest affront to the UDB policy will invariably lead to new development and urban sprawl, and put people and investment in harm’s way. It will prove disastrous for Everglades Restoration and lead to more traffic.” Read Building highways outside the Urban Development Boundary will hurt Everglades restoration
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “A plan to use treated wastewater to freshen Florida Power & Light’s troubled nuclear cooling canals will move forward… Miami-Dade commissioners authorized the county staff to negotiate the deal, but put off setting [water quality] standards… Mayor Carlos Gimenez pitched the deal in January as a simple solution to two thorny problems: meeting a state deadline to reuse up to 60 percent of the county’s wastewater and cleaning up the aging canals. On Thursday he said including standards now would complicate the process… Environmentalists have… objected, warning that putting wastewater into the leaky canals could worsen pollution in [Biscayne] bay. Two years ago, after years of mounting evidence that the salty canals were helping fuel a massive underground saltwater plume, county environmental regulators confirmed canal water had begun leaking into the bay… The utility is now in the midst of a $200 million cleanup. The utility is also struggling with an uncertain future for the power plant. Two new reactors were shelved amid mounting construction costs last year. FPL instead plans on applying to extend the operating license of the two existing units, which are nearly 50 years old, by another 20 years. At Tuesday’s meeting Cava tried to make it clear that the county did not support the continued use of the canals. Last year, the commission voted to urge staff to retire them. But it now appears the reuse plan will help support extension. ‘For us to move forward with the project, the… license renewal will have to occur,’ FPL vice president Mike Sole said. ‘Otherwise we can’t make an investment on what will be a very short term for that project.’… Cava also pointed out that 16 months ago, she asked the county staff to come up with a more thorough plan for reusing wastewater that addressed efforts to help revive coastal wetlands. Reusing wastewater was originally part of a 2000 Everglades Restoration plan that shared the cost with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Cava finally received a plan of 400-plus pages late Monday… Sole said meeting strict water quality standards could make the project too expensive.” Read County moves toward using wastewater in FPL canals, but won’t set water standards yet
The Herald Tribune Editorial Board writes – “In the long run, aquifer storage and recovery might be the right answer for Florida. But diving headfirst into the practice – in a state with multiple other options on the table, including capturing some of the billions of gallons of fresh rainwater that fall on the state every year – should be approached with extreme caution. By wielding his veto pen, Scott hit the reset button, not the kill switch.” Read A prudent veto on water use
Joshua Udvardy writes for The Independent Florida Alligator – “The animosity toward wastewater explains the strong opposition to a recently proposed bill to inject treated wastewater into the Florida Aquifer to address an inevitable Florida water shortage. In response to receiving more than 3,000 petition signatures against the proposal, Gov. Rick Scott rejected the bill… Those against the proposed bill were correct to denounce the proposal to protect the health of the Florida Aquifer, but some opposition originated from the thought of drinking water that was once used in toilets. People find the idea of reusing wastewater hard to swallow, no matter the level of treatment or safety. However, as Florida’s population continues to grow while groundwater supply does not, toilet-to-tap water seems inevitable.” Read When a water shortage comes, toilet-to-tap water will be a solution
Florida State University reports – “New research from Florida State University scientists has found that urban areas throughout the Florida peninsula are experiencing shorter, increasingly intense wet seasons relative to underdeveloped or rural areas. The study, published in the journal npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, provides new insight into the question of land development’s effect on seasonal climate processes.” Read Urban growth leads to shorter, more intense wet seasons in Florida peninsula
Rob Jackson writes for Scientific American – “Let’s be clear about what a rollback in mileage standards would mean: Thousands of people would die unnecessarily from cardiovascular and other diseases each year. Our elderly would face more bronchitis and emphysema. More children would develop asthma… Rarely in my career have I seen a proposal more short-sighted and counter-productive than this one. Please say we aren’t really going to do this. Please say there is still time to change our minds.” Read EPA’s Proposed Rollbacks of Mileage Standards Is a Terrible Idea
The Times-Union Editorial Board writes – “Scott Pruitt looked like he was in the bag of industry when he was appointed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Now his anti-environmental stances are only exceeded by his ethical lapses… [Pruitt’s] going after the vehicle emission standards set for 2025. Yet history shows that the automakers are capable of meeting standards despite crying wolf. Bill Ford, chairman of Fort Motor Company, said that he supports increasing clean air standards through 2025. Unlike the kneejerk reactions of Pruitt, studies show that the mpg standards: - Will add more than 100,000 jobs to the economy by 2025. – Will add more than $130 billion to the gross national product by 2025. – Will save consumers more than $40 billion in annual fuel costs by 2025… According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, these benefits were validated by at least 20 peer-reviewed publications. That’s real math and science in contrast to the anti-science attitude so prominent in the Trump administration… Pruitt and others ignore the fact that the free market is turning away from coal – it’s not environmentalists.” Read Pruitt is clearly the wrong person to lead the EPA
Leonard Berry writes for the Sun Sentinel – “Both science and current experience show us that rising seas are clearly a threat for Florida, the nation and other critical parts of the world. The threat will only grow unless we respond and hopefully join the global response. Unfortunately, Director Mike Pompeo has been a public denier of climate change and of the threats it is bringing. This is an opportunity for Senator Rubio, on behalf of the people of Florida, to help the secretary revise his views and to help us begin to protect Florida’s future, and in so doing help ensure our national security in a rapidly changing world.” Read Senator Rubio, Florida needs you to combat coastal threat of sea level rise
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
April 11, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussion Group at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Grant Wilson, J.D., Directing Attorney of Earth Law Center, will make a presentation via Skype on the rights of Nature and rivers. For more information and to RSVP, email email@example.com.
April 11 – 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.
April 13, 10:00 am - Join the Florida Springs Institute and St. Johns Riverkeeper Middle Basin Office on an outing to the Seminole State Forest springs in Sorrento. Space is limited to 20 people. For more information and to register, click here.
April 14, 11:00 am – Attend the Last Straw Campaign Kickoff in Pensacola. Learn how you can modify your lifestyle to say no to straws and what you can do to get others on board. For more information, click here or contact Mary Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 19, 7:00 pm – Attend “Garden for Wildlife with Native Plants” in Tallahassee. David Mizejewski will focus on restoring wildlife habitat in our cities, towns and neighborhoods through the use of native plants. For more information, click here.
April 21, 4:00 pm – Participate in Hike for the Corridor 2018 in Gainesville. Participants will hike to show they want Florida’s land conservation programs fully funded and the Florida Wildlife Corridor protected. For more information, click here.
April 22, 2:00 pm – Participate in ELAPP’s Florida Wildlife Corridor Connection 9-Mile Hike in Plant City. For more information, click here.
April 23, 4:00 pm – Attend a viewing of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power at the Mary Esther Public Library (100 W Hollywood Blvd) in Mary Esther. For more information, click here.
April 27-28 – Attend the Florida Wildflower Symposium in Orlando. For more information, click here.
May 1, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs. May’s lecture is on “Springs Hydrogeology: Floridan Aquifer, Groundwater Recharge, Spring Flows” with FSI Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. All lecture are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 – 9369.
May 3, 6:30 pm – Watch Mac Stone’s TED talk on “the Amazing Everglades” at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Boulevard) in Spring Hill. After the TED Talk, Dr. Tom St. Clair will comment on Everglades ecology and restoration. For more information, email email@example.com or call (352) 277 – 3330.
May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.
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.
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