FCC News Brief - May 16, 2018

Sean Kinane reports for WMNF – “Several states are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for putting on hold an Obama-era rule to protect wetlands and waterways. And this month an organization of wetlands scientists filed a brief with the court in support of those states and the Clean Water Rule of 2015…. A separate amicus brief was written by the NYU law school on the economic damage that would occur if the Clean Water Rule is permanently repealed.” Read Wetlands scientists support states’ lawsuit to save Clean Water Rule

The Daytona Beach News-Journal Editorial Board writes – “To most Floridians, wastewater treatment plants are boring, and kind of gross. It’s not really something they want to think about. In fact, residents would prefer to stop thinking about their used water once they… flush the toilet… They almost certainly don’t associate it with the bubbling springs that are among West Volusia County’s most vibrant beauty spots… But the two kinds of water are intrinsically linked. As Floridians pull more water from vast underground aquifers and pave more surfaces that serve as critical aquifer recharge, the springs’ flow drops – and sometimes, vanishes. Pollutants – including poorly treated sewage from failing septic tanks, lawn fertilizer and runoff from roadways – seep into waterways and contaminate the purity of spring water. It’s a cycle that puts increasing stress on the state’s water supply, and if Floridians don’t address it, they’ll lose more than springs. They’ll lose access to affordable, clean water to drink and bathe with. While Volusia County Utilities’ newly expanded wastewater treatment plant in DeBary may never be sexy… it is an important achievement in the fight to safeguard Blue Spring and other area water bodies… There’s still more to do – much more. Malfunctioning old septic tanks contribute more than half the nitrogen in the Blue Springs basin… Converting more septic-tank users to sanitary sewer (a task made easier by the increased capacity at the new plant) should be more of a priority… That’s the way spring cleanup will happen… [S]tep by sodden step, dealing with problems people really don’t want to think about. But the alternative… is truly unthinkable.” Read Fight for springs step by step

Sarah Elsesser reports for the Palm Beach Post – “Twenty-four neat lines of colorful plastic shards cover a table at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. These piles are no more than a couple inches long… Each represents the amount of plastic swallowed by one of 24 sea turtle hatchlings, a diet that proved fatal. These 24 were a small percentage of the dead, or nearly dead, hatchlings brought to the Loggerhead Center… last year and all had one thing in common – plastic-filled intestinal tracts… ‘The only way to curb this crisis is to pass legislation, which prohibits single-use plastics,’ said Jupiter resident Marilu Cristina Flores, who has drafted an ordinance to ban plastic straws in Jupiter. The proposed ordinance would prohibit businesses from giving out single-use plastic straws to its patrons and discourage the ‘auto-straw’ practice of automatically distributing a straw with every drink. Under the proposal, businesses would provide only straws made from such materials as biodegradable paper, glass, bamboo and stainless steel, when asked… ‘We no longer do auto-straw,’ said Rosenfield (manager of The Corner Café in Tequesta). ‘You’d be surprised by how little people ask for straws…’” Read Jupiter activist proposes ban on plastic straws to help ocean, turtles

The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “If done right, Gainesville’s plan to become a “zero-waste city” should be good for both the natural and business environment. In March, the City Commission deadlocked on a ban of single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers that is part of that effort… The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce board recently approved a resolution applauding the city’s effort to develop a master plan with the goal of being a zero-waste city by 2040. It noted that other communities have received national attention for similar efforts that included public-private partnerships and the use of new technologies… Our community can do better than a recycling rate that has hovered around 50 percent in recent years, short of the state’s goal of a 75 percent rate by 2020… Local residents can have a direct impact on reducing waste not only through recycling and composting, but also through refusing items they don’t need and reusing items when possible. Lobbying businesses to eliminate waste also helps. When customers “skip the straw” or turn down Styrofoam containers at restaurants, or press grocery stores to eliminate wasteful packaging and frequent ones that do, they show that reducing waste is good for business. The city would help businesses cut waste by facilitating efforts for them to join together to buy environmentally friendly containers in bulk.” Read Zero-waste plan requires public support

The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board writes – “With the new farm bill coming up in Congress, now is the time to reset the board on sugar policy to allow market forces to set sugar prices and bring relief to Floridians who are paying dearly for this sweet deal… It’s long past time for Florida’s elected representatives to stand up to the (sugar) industry and do what’s best for the state’s job market, environment and consumers… Reforming the federal sugar program is a rare point of unity among such disparate groups as environmentalists, consumer advocates and free-market adherents. That’s because crony capitalism is never in the public interest.” Read U.S. House should end sweet deal for Big Sugar

The Herald Tribune Editorial Board writes – “With five solar farms either underway or in the works in Polk County, TECO has kept pace with Lakeland electric. So, thousands of county residents soon will be powered by the sun. They’re not alone. Over the last 18 months or so, for instance, Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, the Orlando Utilities Commission and the Tallahassee Utilities Department have announced the launch or completion of solar farm initiatives. But you don’t have to wait for your power company to take action. Back in February Deirdre Macnab, former president of the Florida League of Women Voters and now an advocate for Florida Solar United Neighbors, came to Lakeland to tout the benefits of solar energy. She encouraged Polk residents, like those in 28 other counties, to form a solar cooperative within their communities. We agree with Macnab… The point is that solar energy is ramping up rapidly in Florida. In March the Solar Energy Industries Association reported that Florida had finally cracked the top 10 in solar energy production. The group also projects that the Sunshine State will be the second-fastest growing solar market in the country over the next five years… In time, as more solar panels pop up, we should fret less and less about where Big Oil wants to dig holes in our porous ground.” Read Projects around Polk show solar’s increasing viability, which is a good thing

Annie Snider reports for Politico – “Scott Pruitt’s EPA and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis, after one Trump administration aide warned it would cause a ‘public relations nightmare,’ newly disclosed emails reveal… The study would show that the chemicals endanger human health at a far lower level than EPA has previously called safe, according to the emails… More than three months later, the draft study remains unpublished, and the HHS unit says it has no scheduled date to release it for public comment. Critics say the delay shows the Trump administration is placing politics ahead of an urgent public health concern – something they had feared would happen after agency leaders like Pruitt started placing industry advocates in charge of issues like chemical safety.” Read White House, EPA headed off chemical pollution study

Ashley Murphy writes for The Conversation – “The Security Council has access to the tools the world so desperately needs to enforce state and private action on climate change, and although it is taking its time there is some advancement.” Read Climate change is a security threat – so where is the UN Security Council?





From Our Readers

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Job Openings


Administrator for the Florida Conservation Coalition




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    


May 16, 10:00 am – Attend a webinar, pass a test, and become a Certified Stormwater Volunteer. You’ll learn the federal, state, and local requirements for stormwater and how to report illicit violations. Annual (non-voting) membership with the Stormwater Compliance Center is $50 and includes additional webinar training, certificate, safety vest, handbook, & quarterly newsletter. For more information, call (888) 527 – 5404. To sign up, email Betty@npdes.com and include your name, address, and phone number in the email.

May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.

May 19, 10:00 am – Participate in Hands Across the Sand at Pensacola Beach. Hands Across the Sand is an annual gathering of people who come together to express their opposition to dirty fossil fuels and to champion a new era of clean, renewable energy. There will be speeches, snacks, live music, and more. For more information, click here.

May 19, 11:00 am – Participate in Hands Across the Sand at Fort Walton Beach. Hands Across the Sand is an annual gathering of people who come together to express their opposition to dirty fossil fuels and to champion a new era of clean, renewable energy. For more information, click here.

May 19, 11:30 am – Participate in Hands Across the Sand at Fernandina Beach. Hands Across the Sand is an annual gathering of people who come together to express their opposition to dirty fossil fuels and to champion a new era of clean, renewable energy. For more information, click here.

May 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.

May 23, 5:30 pm – Attend Before the Flood at the Pensacola Public Library (239 N. Spring St.) in Pensacola. Before the Flood is a film that follows actor Leonardo DiCaprio to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. Following the film, 350 Pensacola and Northwest Florida Move to Amend will discuss how the influence of corporate money in politics is delaying action on climate change and how the public can take action to free the political system of that influence. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, email 350pensacola@gmail.com.


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