Anthony Man reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Pamela Goodman has left the state League of Women Voters to take on a more overtly partisan job – helping female Democratic candidates win elections in Florida. Goodman… is the new executive director of Ruth’s List Florida.” Read South Florida’s Pamela Goodman heads group aimed at electing more Democratic women
Douglas Hanks reports for the Miami Herald – “Gimenez is the top champion of extending Miami-Dade’s busiest toll expressway, State Road 836, best known as the Dolphin Expressway. He wants to expand tolling on the 836 to build another 15 miles of highway to the southwest, largely through farmland bordering west Kendall and past the county’s zoning boundary for urban development… To pressure commissioners, the MDX is funding campaign-style mailers to residents who live near the proposed expressway… ‘Let the County Commission know that we need a traffic solution NOW! WE WANT THE KENDALL PARKWAY!’… But research touted by urban planners does knock highway expansion as a temporary fix that often simply encourages more people to drive until congestion returns… Environmentalists see the proposed… extension, which would extend over wetlands and well fields, as a significant threat to the county’s besieged supply of underground drinking water. They’re… arguing it runs directly counter to longstanding efforts to reduce sprawl and encourage dense building in the urban core.” Read Building Kendall a toll expressway: Traffic relief or ‘Band-aid over a gaping wound?’
Beverly James reports for Southeast Ag Net – “’Water is a natural resource, and if we don’t take care of it we will really struggle to leave something for our future generations,’ said Jim Fletcher, a UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension regional specialized agent… For example, residents in five counties – Lake, Orange, Seminole, Polk and Osceola – use about 650 million gallons a day of water. Engineers have determined that we can draw 850 million gallons of water from the Florida Aquifer, where water is pulled from, without damaging the natural system. Permits for allocated water account for 1.1 billion gallons of water a day by 2035. ‘With population growth and the use of water increasing daily, we will reach that limit sooner rather than later,’ Fletcher said. ‘We have to come up with 250 million gallons of water a day by 2035 that we don’t have. This group is identifying strategies to meet that need, and one of the best ways is to conserve water now. It’s the cheapest way to get there.’” Read Earth Day, UF Researchers Say Conserve Water Now or Pay the Price Later
Christopher Flavelle reports for Bloomberg – “The Florida Keys building code effectively prohibits replacing or substantially repairing damaged mobile homes because of their vulnerability to hurricanes. That leaves people living in one of the nearly 1,000 trailers and RVs damaged or destroyed by [Irma] with three options: find sturdier but more expensive accommodation, repair or replace the homes and hope code officials don’t notice, or leave the Keys… Around the country, the government’s response to extreme weather is pushing lower-income people… away from the waterfront, often in the name of safety. Those homes… are often replaced with more costly houses, such as those built higher off the ground and… better able to withstand storms. Housing experts, economists and activists have coined the term “climate gentrification.” Ever-stricter building requirements make homes more expensive to construct. Rising premiums for federal flood insurance make them costlier to live in. And when local governments issue bonds to pay for sea walls and other protections, as Miami did last year, taxes are often raised, further increasing costs. Hurricanes and floods disproportionately damage lower-cost homes, which tend to be older and more vulnerable to water and wind… [L]ocal officials are starting to worry about it. ‘Hospitality is the backbone of the economy here,’ said Christine Hurley, the county official responsible for buildings, planning, and code compliance in the Florida Keys. She said the tourism industry can’t function without workers who can afford to live there. ‘The hotels and the restaurants, are they going to have to start busing people an hour and a half from Miami?’… New research suggests the effects of climate gentrification are spreading further inland.” Read Latest Climate Threat for Coastal Cities: More Rich People
Ali Schmitz reports for the TC Palm – “As Florida gubernatorial primaries ramp up, candidates are making an issue of campaign contributions from the sugar industry. Both parties’ members have accepted them for decades, and critics say that’s led to sugar interests having too much influence over lawmakers… TCPalm, which analyzed each candidate’s campaign finance reports and stances on sugar, found one accepts the industry’s contributions, two haven’t said whether they will or won’t, and three have renounced them.” Read Sugar donations to Florida governor candidates become an issue in 2018 election
Michael J. Roth writes for The Gainesville Sun – “Quoting the water district managers one at a time, this political commercial (paid for by taxpayers) has people whose jobs are entirely at the discretion of the governor talking about how great an environmentalist this governor has been for Florida… After years of decisions to the detriment of our natural resources, the governor made a wise and commendable decision in vetoing House Bill 1149, which would have allowed for the injection of treated wastewater into the aquifer that provides the drinking water for tens of millions of people. However, one quality decision does not suffice to walk back years of policy allowing massive consumption use permits, effectively reducing our overall water supply, and wastewater dumping and excess nitrate infusion into our wetlands and recharge areas – not to mention the massive destruction of wetlands to facilitate property developers and the oil and gas industry.” Read Springs protection or propaganda?
The Herald Tribune Editorial Board writes – “One of the many responses was the creation of a credible, bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. In its January 2011 final report, the commission recommended, among other things, tighter controls on equipment designed to prevent blowouts… [T]he Trump administration and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have proposed changes that would weaken the rule… None of this is good for human safety or environmental protection. In January, in a bipartisan gesture, 20 of Florida’s 27 U.S. representatives signed a letter in opposition to the administration’s stances – joining Sen. Bill Nelson in protesting the proposed rule changes and expansion of drilling… Nelson and fellow Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington filed much-needed legislation that would put the blowout-preventer and well-control rule into law. Their bill would also codify the Arctic Drilling Rule, which created special regulations affecting operations in icy waters. The legislation is warranted to protect not only the marine environment and coastal economies but human lives.” Read Offshore well rules should be made law
Stephen Cunningham reports for Bloomberg – “U.S. energy regulators embarked upon a wide-ranging review of how interstate natural-gas pipelines are approved, amid concerns that current guidelines have become outdated following the shale boom. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will examine the use of eminent domain, how the need for a pipeline is assessed and the extent to which greenhouse gas emissions should be taken into account in pipeline approvals… The commission was among more than a dozen federal agencies that signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month aimed at slashing the time needed for environmental reviews and permitting on major infrastructure projects.” Read U.S. to Review Gas Pipeline Policy for First Time Since 1999
From Our Readers
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Volusia County Manatee Program Associate – Contact Debbie Wingfield for info.
Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
April 27 – 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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.
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