FCC News Brief - July 19, 2018

From News 4 Jax - "A Leon County circuit judge refused a request by Florida legislative leaders for his disqualification from a case about whether the state has properly carried out a 2014 constitutional amendment backed by environmental groups. Judge Charles Dodson issued a one-paragraph order Monday denying a motion for his disqualification. Dodson last month ruled that lawmakers had failed to properly comply with the voter-approved constitutional amendment, which required using money from a real-estate tax to bolster land and water conservation..." Read Florida judge refuses to leave conservation funding case

Bob Knight for the Gainesville Sun - “When The Sun ran a poll several years ago to see what summer outdoor activity Gainesvillians prefer, visiting the springs was the No. 1 answer. When the University of Florida investigated the value of the area’s springs to the local economy, it found a direct return of more than $90 million annually with more than 1 million visits and 1,100 jobs supported. Our quality of life is supported by healthy, flowing, unpolluted springs. Stand on Main Street or U.S. 27 in High Springs and count the number of cars with kayaks, canoes and tubes strapped to the top. Visit the Great Outdoors restaurant or the Springs Diner and soak up the conversations around you…” Read Bob Knight: Our quality of life is supported by springs.

Nicole Carroll writes for Folio Weekly - “After starting her career as an attorney, Jen Lomberk found herself longing to escape the high-heeled world, wishing for a job that could incorporate her skills, education and love of nature in a more relaxing atmosphere. In late 2017, her dream came true when she became the Matanzas Riverkeeper...Lomberk’s advocacy includes supporting state legislation that promotes and supports the health of the river, and opposing any such that could harm it. As this is an election year, much focus has turned to environmental issues. Lomberk applauds any attention paid to preservation, algae blooms and offshore drilling, but finds it frustrating that many politicians confine their advocacy to just their campaign time when, in reality, such issues have been around for years, and will remain in play after those elected begin their terms and interest in preserving the ecosystem wanes.” Read Guardian of the Waterway.

Teresa Stepzinski reports for the Florida Times-Union - “As part of the 2018 midterm election cycle, two environmental advocacy groups focused on solutions to sea-level rise are inviting local, state and federal political candidates to discuss the issue during forums in Ponte Vedra Beach and Jacksonville. The Northeast Florida events are among a series of free political forums — Tidal Town Halls — scheduled for 15 cities statewide being held by nonprofits ReThink Energy Florida and First Street Foundation. The forums are intended to be nonpartisan, according to organizers…” Read Northeast Florida candidates invited to discuss sea level rise.

Editorial for the Tampa Bay Times - “The David vs. Goliath drama played out on Florida’s east coast with themes that include the environment and the water supply, open government and a citizen’s right to protest to their elected officials. As the Tampa Bay Times’ Craig Pittman reported in May, billionaire George Lindemann Jr. put together a group to buy 2,200 acres of sugar cane fields near Lake Okeechobee in Martin County that is known as Lake Point. The idea was to dig up rocks to sell for construction projects and use the mining pits to store and clean water from the lake. By 2009, the South Florida Water Management District and the Martin County Commission signed off on the deal. Then it got more complicated…” Read Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech.

Kate Stein writes for WLRN - “When it comes to the health of the Everglades, scientists often look to the birds. The healthier the ecosystem, the bigger the populations of wading birds like wood storks, spoonbills, egrets and herons. Scientists say this year is shaping up to be a very good season for wading bird nesting, on the heels of a 2017 nesting season where some bird populations grew by 50 percent or more…” Read Event highlights why birds matter to the Everglades.

Wayne T. Price reports for Florida Today - “A Florida Institute of Technology researcher is involved in discovering yet another species of shark, the Squalus clarkae, or ‘Genie's Dogfish.’...‘Deep-sea sharks are all shaped by similar evolutionary pressure, so they end up looking a lot alike,” Toby Daly-Engel said. “So we rely on DNA to tell us how long a species has been on its own, evolutionarily, and how different it is.’ Mariah Pfleger of Oceana said shark finning and overfishing are leading fisheries to search deeper waters for their catch and "unfortunately, much less is known about many of the creatures that live in the deep...:” Read New shark species discovered honors shark pioneer Eugenie Clark.

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times - “With toxic algae blooms now erupting all over Florida — from the St. Johns River to Lake Okeechobee as well as on both coasts — scientists are pointing a finger at one likely fuel source: pollution from leaking septic tanks...In 2010, the Legislature passed a law requiring septic tank owners to get an inspection every five years to make sure they weren’t polluting. But septic tank owners rebelled, and two years later legislators repealed the inspections…” Read Leaky spetic tanks fuel algae blooms. Rick Scott OK’d repeal of law aimed to prevent that.

From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Governmental Affairs and Political Director for Sierra Club Florida

Organizing Representative for Sierra Club Florida’s Clean Energy for All Campaign

Environmental Scientist for the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute

Operations Manager for the Everglades Law Center


Upcoming Environmental Events    

July 19, 6:00 pm - St. Pete Summer Solar Co-op Info Session: Live in Pinellas County, south of State Road 60 and want to go solar? Now's your chance! Neighbors across the area have formed the St. Pete Summer Solar Co-op with the help of Solar United Neighbors of Florida to make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters. RSVP for free information session here.

August 4, 11:00 am- 1:00 pm - St. Augustine March Against Fracking: This is a family-friendly event, sponsored by multiple environmental and political organizations in Northeast Florida. Guest speakers will include Jen Lomberk (Matanzas Riverkeeper), Dr. Gary Bowers (Physician), V Miller (Campaign Director at Rethink Energy FL), and more! Nancy Shaver (Mayor of St. Augustine) will also be making an appearance. Parking is available on Anastasia Island. We will be gathering at the park on the east side of the Bridge of Lions. Marching will begin promptly at 11:30AM. For more information email Nick at: nickfamu@icloud.com.

August 13-16 - Registration is now open for Florida Springs Institute Field School. The Springs Field School will take place in Silver Springs, Florida, and includes four days of lectures and field trips on springs biology, geology, chemistry, environmental laws and advocacy from leading experts. For info and registration, click here.

Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.


Protect Red Wolves

Thinking of going electric? Nextcar Pledge

Rezoning 5-acres in Palm Harbor

Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

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


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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