FCC News Brief - May 28, 2018

Carlos Medina reports for the Ocala Star Banner – “New regulations governing some septic systems for new homes built near Silver Springs and Rainbow Springs go into effect July 1, potentially tripling the systems’ cost to prospective homeowners. The requirement for nitrogen-reducing septic systems is part of a mandate created by the 2016 Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act, which hopes to significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen compounds entering the Florida Aquifer… The state has five years to implement a plan for replacing existing septic systems with nitrogen-reducing systems or connecting to a central sewer system in the [Priority Focus Areas]. The DEP will study the feasibility of offering assistance to cover some of the cost.” Read Springs protection act brings new septic rules, increased cost

Mark Woods writes for the Florida Times Union – “In a nutshell, Monroe and Hong take a step back after Irma hit last September – looking at the historic timeline of the St. Johns River – and explain how we’ve gradually straightened and deepened the river, how more than a century of incremental changes add up to a significantly different waterway. One with more extreme tides. One that brings the Atlantic Ocean farther inland… Joe Butler… compared reading about what we’ve done to our river to seeing one of those television ads for a prescription drug with a long list of possible side effects. I began imagining an ad for a drug – let’s call it CeleDredge – that touts its ability to stimulate a city with economic growth, jobs and more. We’ve taken CeleDredge again and again, paying attention to benefits, ignoring the announcer who says ‘possible side effects include higher high tides, lower low tides, increased nuisance flooding, erosion, property damage, saltwater intrusion, enhanced storm surge.’ If your storm surge lasts more than four hours… The effects of our Irma storm surge lingered for months. And yet the water had barely subsided when we were moving ahead with a project (still far from funded) to further alter the river, dredging an 11-mile stretch from its current 40-foot depth down to 47 feet… It’s easy to beat up on the Army Corps, to point out a litany of costly mistakes in the past, from the Everglades to New Orleans. But in some ways, that’s misguided… The Army Corps doesn’t just swoop in and change the river. We ask the Army Corps to do it. We can also tell the Army Corps not to do a project. Our leaders could advocate to modify a project, to add more mitigation. Our leaders have had little interest in such things.” Read If your storm surge lasts more than four hours

Stephen Hudak reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “With this month’s deluge of rain… state and local health officials are warning of an increased risk for mosquito-borne illnesses, including Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya, all carried by the same mosquito… The insect… prefers to lay its eggs in or around standing water that collects in man-made containers such as birdbaths, buckets, children’s toys, pools, planters and sandboxes. When it rains or water covers the eggs, they hatch and become adults in about a week… In its battle with mosquitoes, [Orange] county is relying more and more on the eastern mosquito fish, a species of freshwater fish with a taste for mosquito larvae… The inch-and-a-half long minnows fish, native to Florida and most of the Southern U.S., can be tossed in lakes, ponds, algae-laden swimming pools and public fountains to keep mosquitoes at bay with its appetite… The state health department… also noted West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis virus has also been found in mosquitoes in Florida… The CDC website recommends steps people can take to keep mosquitoes at bay. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, such as vases, pet water bowls, flower-pot saucers, discarded tires in the backyard, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths and rain barrels.” Read Health officials wary of mosquitoes – and rising risk of Zika and other illnesses – after heavy rains

Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “The Atlantic hurricane season will produce 10 to 16 named storms and one to four major hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said… ‘We’re not expecting this hurricane season to be one of the most active on record. There is no strong climate signal saying its going to be extremely active like last year, or extremely weak,’ [Gary Bell, head hurricane season forecaster with NOOA’s Climate Prediction Center] said.” Read NOAA: 10 to 16 named storms expected in 2018 hurricane season

Richard Wiles writes for The Hill – “Internal company documents confirm that big oil, like big tobacco, knew of the ‘potentially catastrophic’ problems that their products would cause, well before the rest of society. But when the world caught up and threats of regulation or litigation loomed, big oil, like big tobacco, made a conscious decision to undermine the research its own scientists pioneered, and cast doubt about climate science where none existed to preserve markets and delay action to solve the problem – consequences be damned… We all use fossil fuels, but that’s because up until very recently there were no alternatives. Literally. One of the main reasons there have been no alternatives is because the oil industry spends billions of dollars obstructing their development and deceiving the public and Congress about the climate-related dangers of continued reliance on its products. The oil industry has done everything it could to make sure we stay addicted to its products… The more you look, the more big oil looks like big tobacco, big pharma with opioids, the lead paint and asbestos industries, all of whom made products that were desirable, useful, or even revolutionary in their day, but in the end caused unnecessary tragedy that they were made to pay for… Who pays for the damages? The polluters who knowingly caused the problem, or taxpayers, who the same polluters deliberately misled about the risks. For many communities like King County, New York or San Francisco the decision to sue is not just the right one, it’s the common-sense option that protects their taxpayers and their community’s future… It’s the polluters who need to pay. After all, the notion that polluters pay is as old as the Greek philosopher Plato, and as American as apple pie.” Read Taxpayers shouldn’t foot bill for climate change alone

Chris Mooney reports for The Washington Post – “Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions threaten to make rice less nutritious, scientists said… Rice accounts for ‘approximately 25% of all global calories,’ according to the study, which was published in the journal Science Advances…. The study found that at the high CO2 concentrations, the crop’s content of the vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B9 all declined, including by as much as 30 percent for B9 (folate). The research also confirmed previously discovered declines in protein, iron and zinc.” Read Rice, the staple food of billions, could become less nutritious because of climate change

Coral Davenport and Jacklyn Peiser report for the New York Times – “The Environmental Protection Agency… barred reporters from three news organizations from an event on the impact of toxic chemicals on drinking water at the agency’s headquarters… Among those denied entry from the morning session… was a reporter from The Associated Press, Ellen Knickmeyer. When she requested to speak to an E.P.A. public affairs official, she was ‘grabbed by the shoulders and shoved out of the building by a security guard,’ according to a report form the wire service.” Read Three Reporters Are Turned Away from an E.P.A. Event

Ellen Knickmeyer reports for the Associated Press – “Newly released emails show senior Environmental Protection Agency officials working closely with a conservative group that dismisses climate change to rally like-minded people for public hearings on science and global warming, counter negative news coverage and tout Administrator Scott Pruitt’s stewardship of the agency… Ben Levitan of the Environmental Defense Fund said mainstream climate-change groups have received nothing like the outreach and invitations that Heartland and other hard-right groups have been getting.” Read Emails show cooperation among EPA, climate-change deniers






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Administrator for the Florida Conservation Coalition


Operations Manager for the Everglades Law Center




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    


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 7, 6:30 pm – Attend the Sierra Club Adventure Coast Meeting at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Blvd) in Spring Hill. Susan Glickman of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is the guest speaker. Social begins at 6:30, followed by the program at 7:00 pm. For more information, contact sierraadventurecoastcc@gmail.com.

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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