FCC News Brief - April 20, 2018

Drew Wilson reports for Florida Politics – “The Florida Petroleum Council… ‘raised strong objection’ to the Constitution Revision Commission combining offshore drilling and workplace vaping bans into one proposal on the 2018 ballot. ” Read Petroleum group against bundling drilling, vaping bans on ballot

Robert Knight writes for The Gainesville Sun – “There is a logical and easy approach to getting out of Florida’s groundwater crisis. Its called an aquifer protection fee. When water is free or cheap it will be used to excess. Public utilities have learned that a tiered water rate effectively discourages excessive water use. Also, utilities charge homeowners and businesses for the cost of removing pollutants, such as nitrogen, from the wastewater they generate. For home owners with private wells and nurserymen and farmers who use massive amounts of groundwater to profitably grow a crop, there is no tiered water rate. While there are some costs for installation and maintenance of a septic system and for lagoons associated with dairies, there is little to no cost for prevention of nitrogen pollution for rural homeowners and agricultural producers. In other words, many water consumers and polluters do not pay a fair share to protect and sustain the groundwater that we all depend upon. Urban users shoulder nearly all the costs for the currently insufficient aquifer protection efforts required by state environmental agencies… All groundwater uses must be monitored and users pay a fee in proportion to the amount of groundwater they use. All nitrogen inputs to the aquifer need to be estimated and individuals and businesses responsible must be charged a fee in proportion to the amount of pollution they create. The proceeds from these… fees should be used for preventing excessive depletion and pollution of the Florida Aquifer. An ample supply of clean groundwater is priceless.” Read Putting a price on clean water

Bill Smith reports for the News Press – “After emotional residents begged them to stop an urban intrusion into a North Fort Myers rural enclave, Lee County commissioners put off a decision on allowing a complex of 330 single and multifamily homes on 66 acres off Salter road… Salter Road neighbors referenced drainage, flooding and traffic issues, but the theme running through their opposition was the impact on the rural lifestyle many of the residents have lived for decades. Jennifer Smith, who has lived in Lee county for 27 years… predicted more traffic, accidents, crime, noise, lights, roads, fire stations and floodwaters but less water to drink… ‘Our expertise comes from our actual experience,’ she said. ‘We’re the ones with no water when our wells run dry, we’re the ones who pray that not another drop of water falls from the sky, we are the ones that do not have an inch of gravel for our animals to stand on when their grass is under a foot of water and their feet are rotting – we are not the ones making it worse.’” Read North Fort Myers neighbors fight to keep development out; commission urges talks

Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “Last spring, a team of NASA scientists looking at South Florida’s dwindling wetlands flew over the Everglades hoping to use aerial 3D imaging and data from the planet’s longest orbiting satellites to plot changes. Then Irma hit. In a matter of hours, about 40 percent of the mangroves were damaged or flattened. The massive toll from the storm was not all that surprising. Irma was as wide as the state and slammed the Lower Keys as a Cat 4 before barreling north and making a second landfall near Marco Island as a Cat 3. But what was baffling was how little of the forest, perfectly evolved to endure hurricanes, had recovered when scientists retraced their flight three months later… [T]he data collected allows [scientists] to assess how increasing threats from climate change in the swampy mangroves, which can be impossibly difficult to measure, will factor into forests rebounding from hurricanes. Will areas already battered by saltwater intrusion struggle more?” Read NASA team finds massive Everglades mangrove damage from Irma. Can it recover?

Daniel Tait reports for the Energy and Policy Institute – “Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Duke Energy are getting an early jump on 2018 political spending compared to the last midterm election… The majority of the money is finding its way to Adam Putnam’s political action committee (PAC), Florida Grown, and other Republican-allied firms.” Read Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Boost Political Spending in Florida, Bet Heavily on Republicans

Peter Schorsch reports for Florida Politics – “The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a video this week detailing Florida Atlantic University research on the Kissimmee River.” Read Florida Chamber video highlights Kissimmee River research

Dan Sweeney writes for the Sun Sentinel – “[W]e asked readers what they thought about the perceived problem of overdevelopment, and what cities’ role in growth management ought to be. The first person to respond was a developer. Glenn Gromann identified himself as… an adjunct professor in FAU’s School of Urban and Regional Planning and a former member of the Boca Raton Planning and Zoning Board. He is also running as a Republican for mayor of Boca Raton. ‘There is no such thing as ‘overdevelopment’ and there is no such thing as ‘Enough.’ Private property rights are one of the most important granted by the Florida and U.S. Constitution,’ he emailed. ‘No government agency can deny a right to develop a particular piece of property because they don’t ‘like’ or want something if it follows the rules.’ That’s absolutely true – but of course, it’s government that makes the rules… Surprisingly, the idea of paving over the Everglades and expanding westward drew some supporters… [T]here were a few who worried that what makes South Florida a great place to live could get lost in the build up.” Read Pave the Everglades, build sky high – readers have some interesting solutions to overcrowding

Danny Mcauliffe reports for Florida Politics – “The suit filed Monday namechecks defendants Scott, Putnam and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. It also calls out the Florida Board of Trustees of Internal Improvement Trust Fund and the Public Service Commission, the regulatory board for utilities in the Sunshine State. The plaintiffs contend that named defendants know Floridians are ‘living under climatic conditions that create an unreasonable risk of harm but have not responded reasonably to this urgent crisis, and instead have affirmatively acted to exacerbate the climate crisis,’ according to the complaint. It cites Florida common law and constitutional provisions that plaintiffs claim requires government leaders to take action against climate change. Among them: Article 2, Section 7 (a) of the Constitution, which reads, ‘It shall be the policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty. Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution…’ Sandy D’Alemberte, a former state lawmaker and former President of The American Bar Association, said that part of the constitution is unique to Florida. He is a professor of constitutional law at Florida State University College of Law and said there is ‘a good chance’ of a favorable ruling for the plantiffs, because ‘Florida courts have been receptive to innovation.’” Read Following Parkland, kid-backed climate lawsuit carries weight




From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Volusia County Manatee Program Associate – Contact Debbie Wingfield for info.

President for 1000 Friends of Florida



Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Tell Congress to Stop Attacking Protections for Dolphins and Whales

Save Endangered Sea Turtles from Drowning in Shrimp Trawls

Defend Attacks on the Marine Mammal Protection Act

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



Upcoming Environmental Events    


April 21, 10:00 am – Participate in March for Science – Orlando. For more information, click here.

April 21, 10:00 am – Attend Central Florida Earth Day in Orlando. The event will include healthy living and eco-friendly exhibitors, speakers, and presentations; fun and games for kids; dog and cat adoptions; artist and craft corners, and live music and entertainment. 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, 10:00 am – Attend Altamonte Spring’s Earth Day Celebration. Event activities include live music, guest speakers, crafts, plant & tree giveaways, butterfly gardening & release, live bat exhibition, mineral & gem sluicing, food vendors, a Gator Walk, and a Survivalist Walk. For more information, click here.

April 22 – June 23 – 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 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 25, 6:30 pm – Attend the Town Hall: Growth or Gridlock in Maitland. 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 sierraadventurecoastcc@gmail.com or call (352) 277 – 3330

May 9, 12:44 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussion Group at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club Organizing Rep., will make a presentation entitled “Urban Fertilizers… Connections to Our Lawns, Landscape, and Florida’s Waters”. Shari Blissett-Clark, Pres. Of the FL Bat Conservancy, will make a presentation entitled “Bats in Florida’s Backyards.” For more information and to RSVP, email resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

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.


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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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