Jim Rosica reports for Florida Politics – “As a May 25 deadline to complete discovery approaches, depositions continue in a lawsuit over how the state funds environmental conservation… Environmental advocacy groups filed suit in Leon County in 2015 over the Water and Land Legacy Amendment, also known as Amendment 1… Amendment 1 requires state officials to set aside 33 percent of the money from the real estate “documentary stamp” tax to protect Florida’s environmentally sensitive areas for 20 years. But advocates – including the Florida Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club – sued the state, saying lawmakers wrongly appropriated money for, among other things, ‘salaries and ordinary expenses of state agencies’ tasked with executing the amendment’s mandate… Circuit Judge Charles Dodson scheduled a weeklong bench trial in Tallahassee for July 23-27, with a pretrial conference set for June 15…” Read Amendment 1 lawsuit still moving toward trial
Ocala Star Banner Editorial Board writes – “It was less than two years ago that a 21-member task force made up of local elected officials, environmentalists, private citizens and transportation officials spent the better part of a year meeting and holding public hearings in search of a solution to the ever-increasing traffic on Interstate 75. Their conclusion: expand existing roads and develop methods of improving safety and traffic flow rather than build a new superhighway through the farmlands and open green spaces of North Central Florida… The task force was united in its opposition to a new major highway being built from Hernando County up through Citrus, Levy, Marion and Alachua counties. Yet, now comes the DOT with plans to build a highway not only through the counties that expressed unqualified opposition to such an idea, but planners want to run the highway through some of Marion County’s, indeed Florida’s most beautiful and productive horse farm country… Farm owners are understandably upset. So are we… Paving over what is a designated Farmland Preservation Area and turning it into a series of exits with fast-food joints and gas stations is not what Marion Countians had in mind when they fought to set that area of the county aside for long-term preservation.” Read Road threatens region’s heritage
Sandra Marriffino writes for the Ocala Star Banner – “The new proposed routes for the continuation of the Suncoast Parkway will have a direct impact on wildlife now protected by the federal government as well as many species identified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as seriously threatened in our state… Route D1 would take the new parkway… directly through Florida Scrub-Jay breeding territory… The Florida DOT has plans to widen State Road 200, which borders on or is near these properties, thus making the remaining open habitat even more valuable for wildlife… Wildlife viewers, residents and those who fish Lake Rousseau will experience continuing noise from traffic, pollution from gasoline residue, and loss of wetlands from the projected toll road. This will add additional stress on the young birds in their nests and adults who hunt these wetlands to feed both their young and themselves.” Read Wildlife endangered proposed Coastal Connector
The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “No graver threat faces the future of South Florida than the accelerating pace of sea-level rise… In the past 23 years, it’s risen 3 inches. By 2060, it’s predicted to rise another 2 feet, with no sign of slowing down. Think about that. Water levels could easily be 2 feet higher in 40 years. And scientists say that’s a conservative estimate… It’s not just a matter of how much land we’re going to lose, though the barrier islands and low-lying communities will be largely uninhabitable once the ocean rises by 3 feet. It’s a matter of what can be saved. And elsewhere, how we’re going to manage the retreat… Of the 25 American cities most vulnerable to sea-level rise, 22 are in Florida… They’re not all along the coast, either… Perhaps you think you’re safe because the flood map shows your home is on high ground. But you still need infrastructure – things like roads, power plants, water treatment facilities, airports and drinking-water wellfieds. So while your house may be high and dry, good luck getting to the grocery store, the doctor’s office or out of town… [T]he editorial boards of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post – with reporting help from WLRN radio – are joining hands in an unprecedented collaboration this election year to raise awareness about the threat facing South Florida from sea-level rise.” Read Sea-level rise: the defining issue of the century
Nate Monroe & Christopher Hong report for The Florida Times Union – “The Times-Union spent months after Hurricane Irma seeking to understand why the September 2017 storm… caused a shocking 150-year flood… [A] review of historical documents and data, U.S. Army Corps reports, court records, City Hall documents and interviews with researchers and legal experts, lead to another unmistakable conclusion:… In chasing its dreams of a deepwater port, the city has brought the Atlantic Ocean to its doorstep. And it did so blind to the risk. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one of the nation’s oldest federal agencies and the overseer of these changes to the St. Johns River, has never studied how more than a century of work might make the city more vulnerable to storm surge and flooding. As the federal government deepens the river from 40 to 47 feet – a project that began earlier this year – no one knows the answer to that question. Indications are that it’s an increasingly important one.” Read As the Ocean Creeps In
Zachary Neal (10-year-old) writes for the Gainesville Sun – “I find that plastic water bottles are… horrible for the environment. They’re a major source of pollution. They take 1,000 years to decompose. That’s why I say, no plastic bottles!” Read No plastic bottles
Florida Politics reports – “What’s called ‘the largest municipal-backed solar project in the nation’ was announced… by the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA). In conjunction with 12 Florida municipal electric utilities and NextEra Florida Renewables, the large-scale solar energy project will ‘provide renewable energy for customers in the most cost-effective way,’ a press release said.” Read Florida’s municipal utilities go solar in big way
Matteen Mokalla and Andrea Havis write for the New York Times – “We asked politicians from conservative parties around the world their thoughts on climate change.” Read We are Conservative and We Believe Climate Change is Real
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.
Upcoming Environmental Events
May 8 – 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 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 email@example.com.
May 11, 8:30 am – Attend the Save Our Water 2018 summit in Bonita Springs. For more information, click here.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest and most relevant environmental news for Floridians. Our hope is that you will use this information to more effectively and frequently contact your elected representatives, and add your voice to the growing chorus of Floridians concerned about the condition of our environment and the recent direction of environmental policies.
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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 80 conservation-minded organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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