FCC News Brief - May 31, 2018

Richard Grosso writes for the Miami Herald – “We can and must stop approving more development in coastal and inland low-lying areas, enact stricter limits on what can be built, and impose standards on how things are built. But with years of experience about the implications of certain development, we will make many of the same mistakes we’ve made for decades. We still capitulate to inaccurate claims that private property rights are violated if we don’t say yes. We still debate the science and economics that make clear that government must reduce how much we build… We must stop paving over undeveloped land and erecting buildings that increase our carbon footprint and cause flooding. We still approve too many new development requests even though Florida land use and environmental permitting law strongly support local and state agencies that say No. We still plan roads to support new westward sprawl instead of promoting real development… Whether it’s campaign contributions, disbelief that the world really has changed that much or simple inertia, we aren’t moving fast enough to protect and restore our natural defenses to climate change and rising sea levels… Natural lands help prevent the worse effects of climate change and sea-level rise. Paving them eventually means that taxpayers will have to pay the heft costs of cleaning up after hurricanes, flooding and erosion wreak havoc. Using public money to protect natural areas instead of encouraging their development is smart economics.” Read Governments must realize that all growth is not good

Cleveland Tinker reports for the Gainesville Sun – “Alachua County leaders have joined their counterparts in Marion County to oppose a proposed roadway that would increase traffic and impact land in both counties.” Read Alachua County opposes Coastal Connector plan

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility shares – “Six major facilities pump millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater every day into a slow-moving St. Johns River that cannot flush out the pollution load, leaving it officially classified as impaired. While much of this massive discharge is legal, significant amounts violate permit limits without triggering required enforcement or corrective action, according to a series of complaints filed… by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The complaints ask for intervention by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to redress chronic non-enforcement by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) against longstanding, ongoing, and blatant Clean Water Act violations. The six cited dischargers are Georgia-Pacific Consumer Operations, and the wastewater treatment facilities of the City of Palatka, City of Neptune Beach, City of Jacksonville Beach, Ridaught Landing in Middleburg, and the Clay County Utility Authority… ‘Florida allows the St. Johns River to be treated like an open sewer,’ stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney who drafted the complaints.” Read Florida: Mega-Pollution Violations Befoul St. John’s River

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “Here’s a way to get out of a household chore and help the Indian River Lagoon at the same time: Stop fertilizing your lawn. At least for the summer… [I]n more than 40 counties, cities and towns along the lagoon, it’s the law. Local ordinances banning fertilizers with nitrogen and phosphorus have been enacted over the past few years to keep nutrients from running off lawns and into the St. Lucie River and the lagoon after the frequent heavy rains of South Florida summers. Excess nutrients can feed algae blooms that shade and kill sea grass, as well as marine animals that depend on sea grass beds. In most municipalities, the ban starts June 1 and ends Sept. 30.” Read Summer underway – so stop fertilizing

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “The die-off began earlier this year. Freshwater turtles began turning up dead along the St. Johns River. About 100 dead or dying turtles have been found so far in water bodies in Orange, Seminole and Putnam counties… Examinations of the turtles and tests of their tissues have, at this point, failed to pinpoint a cause of death, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Now the commission has officially opened an investigation, in collaboration with the University of Florida, and is asking the public for help.” Read Die-off of freshwater turtles prompts Florida wildlife agency to investigate

Barbara Behrendt reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Preliminary plans for a housing and commercial project that could bring nearly 1,000 new homes into the city of Brooksville got a lukewarm approval by the City Council last month. The project is proposed for the 440-tract known as Milk-A-Way Farms… and existing county zoning lists it as agricultural land… City planner Steve Gouldman confirmed that approximately half the site is in a flood zone. A development provision would prevent any loss of existing wetlands acreage.” Read Brooksville council gives tentative nod to 999-home development

Kelsey Brugger reports for E&E News – “It’s not surprising that the race for the southernmost district of Florida is between two… who have made climate change one of their key issues.” Read Republican promises climate action – if he wins

Alanna Petroff reports for CNN – “Europe is proposing a ban on single-use plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds in a bid to clean up the oceans. The European Commission wants to ban 10 items that make up 70% of all litter in EU waters and on beaches. The list also includes plastic plates and drink stirrers. The draft rules… need the approval of all EU member states and the European Parliament… The legislation… also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.” Read Europe plans ban on plastic cutlery, straws and more




From Our Readers

The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.


Job Openings


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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