Alex Leary reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “‘House Republicans blocked my… amendment to ban oil drilling off the coast of Florida late last night – meaning they will not allow a vote at all,’ said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who teamed up with Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples. They sought to attach the amendment to the defense authorization bill… ‘Despite recent declarations by Interior Secretary Zinke and Governor Rick Scott, they did nothing to press Speaker Ryan and House Republicans to allow a vote and end the push to drill once and for all. Their election year conversion on offshore drilling has been interesting but shallow…’” Read Oil drilling ban in eastern gulf is shot down
News Service of Florida reports – “Eleven national parks in Florida are threatened by White House proposals to open to oil drilling currently protected parts of the nation’s outer continental shelf and to revise the 2016 Well Control Rule… The proposals could also cost Florida $876 million in annual economic output, according to Lund, a senior manager with [the National Parks Conservation Association]. ‘The economic output from the national parks and monuments in Florida is a significant force in the coastal economy of the state,’ the 38-page report states. ‘The economic output measure goes far beyond just visitors’ spending and includes the ripples of activity their visits generate: the spending of both the businesses they patronize and the communities their tourism supports. Many out-of-town visitors of coastal national parks identify a park as their primary reason for travelling to the area.’… The Florida parks that could be impacted are Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, Canaveral National Seashore, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, De Soto National Memorial, Dry Tortugas National Park, Everglades National Park, Fort Caroline National Memorial, Fort Matanzas National Monument, Gulf Islands National Seashore, and Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.” Read Advocacy groups say Florida parks at risk by offshore drilling
Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “The bipartisan congressional Climate Solutions Caucus, led by (Florida) Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch and (Florida) Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo… sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee asking they ‘oppose and remove any policy provisions or riders from the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills that undermine efforts to confront climate change.’… ‘Appropriations provisions and policy riders that prohibit or limit the use of funds to study initiatives to reduce climate change impacts, and prohibit or limit the use of funds to make our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change will make our country more prone to the damaging effects of climate change,’ the letter adds.” Read Ted Deutch, Carlos Curbelo-led climate caucus urges budget help
Madison Cilk report for News-Press – “The tides are rising in Naples. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, sea level rise is expected to rise approximately five inches in Southwest Florida by 2030… Our city needs to take action to educate its citizens about the looming threat of climate change and how city officials are developing adaptation and mitigation strategies. After one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record with 17 named storms, Collier County suffered tremendous financial losses… Naples… struggles with climate change education, sustainable transportation infrastructure, effective flood management infrastructure, and the design of a comprehensive climate change mitigation and adaptation plan. Without dramatic shifts in our city’s commitment toward climate mitigation and adaptation, Naples will not be on the radar for future investments. Is Naples prepared for another potentially deadly hurricane season in 2018? As a daughter of Naples, how would I know? On the website of the Collier County Planning Commission, there is no mention of planning for climate change. To find any details on flood resilience plans, you have to comb through various government documents. In contrast, the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council showcases various climate resilience plans on its website… Notably, plans from Naples and Collier County are absent fro the page. This lack of public communication regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation planning demonstrates city officials’ lack of vision. As Naples take action to address climate change, the city should make its citizens aware of the planning and enable public engagement in the process.” Read We need education on rising sea levels before it’s too late
Island Reporter reports – “Coastal Keepers’ newest initiative is called Strawless on Sanibel, a campaign designed to reduce the use of disposable plastic straws on the islands and educate the public about the harm single-use disposable plastics can cause to wildlife and the environment. The organization partners with local businesses that have pledged to transition away from plastic straws, providing support and guidance throughout the implementation process. Coastal Keepers recently announced [4 businesses] have signed on to participate [, joining 6 others].” Read Strawless on Sanibel welcomes new partners
Patrick M. Rose writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “I call on all boaters to become advocates for manatee and aquatic habitat conservation… It will take all of us working together to make the waters safer.” Read Boaters: Watch for manatees on Memorial Day and every day
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Nearly two years after a massive sinkhole opened at Mosaic’s Mulberry phosphate processing plant, a company spokeswoman says it has been sealed at last and will be completely filled by the end of May.” Read Two years after it swallowed 215M gallons of polluted water, Mosaic sinkhole finally corked
Timothy Cama reports for The Hill – “A group of House Democrats introduced legislation… that would block oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The bill… would reverse Congress’s decision last year to approve drilling in a portion of ANWR, which was included as part of the Republican tax overhaul… Polling has consistently showed that most Americans oppose ANWR drilling.” Read Dems introduce bill to block Alaska refuge drilling
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
June 2, 10:00 AM – Join the FCC for a Beach Clean Up & Celebration in Jacksonville Beach. The Celebration at 5:00 pm features BBQ, vendors, and a charity raffle benefiting the FCC. For more information, click here.
June 4 – 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.
June 5, 12:00 PM – Attend Springs Academy Tuesdays, a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs, in High Springs. June’s lecture is on “Water Chemistry – General, Nutrients, Trace Contaminants” with Chemist, Lisa Saupp. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information click here or call (386) 454-9369.
June 8- June 10 – Attend Give Springs a Break in High Springs. Give Springs a Break is an educational retreat for students and young professionals. Along with creative skill workshops and fun activities, students will have the opportunity to learn from leading environmental scientists and advocates about freshwater and Florida’s springs. Admission to the event includes camping, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, tubing, spring-side yoga, meals, and a reusable event bag. For more information and to buy your tickets, click here
June 16, 10:00 am – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute on a paddle outing exploring the Weeki Wachee River and Springs. Kayak/canoe rental with shuttle is $35 and shuttle only is $20. A boat launch fee of $6 will also apply. For more information and to register, contact Adventure Outpost at (386) 454 – 0611.
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