FCC News Brief - July 23, 2018

Noah Gallagher Shannon writes for the New York Times - “...In the United States, [groundwater] is disappearing most rapidly in the rural agricultural belt extending from Kansas to California. Without ready access to more traditional stores of water, many farmers have been forced to rely even more heavily on groundwater, pitting them against local residents watching their wells go dry. In 2014, in Tulare County, Calif., 7,000 people ran out of drinking water. The next year, wells hit a record low, as 64 percent recorded declines nationwide and one in 30 failed in Western states. Squeezed by drought and tightening regulations, large farms started to seek out lesser-known pockets of cheap water. In rural Arizona, where there are essentially no groundwater regulations governing irrigation, they found an ideal destination. “What the smart money is doing is looking around and saying, ‘Where else can we go where there is no regulation?’ ” Robert Glennon, a professor of water law and policy at the University of Arizona and the author of “Water Follies,” told NPR in an interview. “And that is Arizona.” Read The Water Wars of Arizona.

Ray Judah writes Opinion for Cape Coral Daily - “The harmful blue green algae bloom that has plagued Lee County waters is directly attributable to irresponsible government oversight on the timing and volume of water released from Lake Okeechobee and excessive nutrients, sediments and toxic brew of insecticides, pesticides and fungicides released from sugar cane fields into the Lake...Additional lands need to be purchased in the EAA south of Lake Okeechobee to provide a critical hydrological connection between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades…” Read ‘Get the water right at the ballot box’.

Cynthia Williams writes for the News-Press- “It seems that throughout human history, the starting place for moving forward has been from as far back of forward as it’s possible to get. It’s the pendulum effect. A good example of this phenomenon is the effect that the extensive canal dredging in Cape Coral had upon environmental protection legislation…” Read 5 things: When Cape Coral drained the swamp it spurred environmental changes.

Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald - “South Florida’s three national parks and lone national preserve, an earthly quilt of wetlands, forests, seagrass meadows, reefs and bountiful fishing grounds under constant threat from the state’s intense development and climate change, are getting ‘integrated.’ In a move touted as a possible model for the country, the National Park Service’s southeast regional director told park employees in an email Wednesday that the Service wants to combine management under a single organization intended to ‘more effectively align and leverage resources across park and preserve boundaries.’ What that means remains unclear. But it could lead to fewer rangers and scientists who help protect parks with unique habitats and multiple challenges, including worsening water quality, invasive species and an increasing number of visitors…” Read South Florida national parks targeted for new management plan. Critics fear cuts.

Eve Samples reports for Treasure Coast Newspapers - “Jason Evans is aboard an aging pontoon boat, scanning the banks for drainage pipes. He closes in on a 12-incher coated with barnacles, then hauls out his GPS device...This is the life of a sea-level rise researcher. It’s not glamorous work-but it’s increasingly vital to the future of the Sunshine State...The 43-year old researcher has worked with local governments form the Florida Keys to the Carolinas on climate-change adaptation. Flooding from hurricane Irma last year triggered even more interest from local governments…”Read Sea-level rise expert helps Florida cities plan for survival.

Craig Pendergrast writes for the Daily Report - “On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on special master Ralph Lancaster’s Feb. 14, 2017, report in the Florida v. Georgia equitable apportionment case regarding the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. In his report, the special master recommended to the Supreme Court that it dismiss Florida’s claims due to the absence of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a party to the litigation. This dismissal recommendation was made notwithstanding the special master’s conclusion that excessive agriculture industry irrigation use of interconnected groundwater and surface water in the lower Flint River watershed of southwest Georgia has resulted in depletion of Flint River flows, with corresponding depletion of flows into the Apalachicola River. But because the corps has managed its reservoirs on the Chattahoochee River to adjust Apalachicola River flows, the special master concluded that, without the corps as a party, an effective remedy could not be fashioned to provide redress to Florida. Read Florida v. Georgia equitable apportionment water litigation: where do we go from here?

Anthony Gaudio writes Opinion for the Tallahassee Democrat - “I strongly urge the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to deny the request of the Florida Homebuilders Association to delay implementation of the Basin Management Action Plan. This plan was developed to reduce the level of nitrates in Wakulla Springs to the Minimum Daily Load target set by the state, as required by the Springs Aquifer Protection Act of 2016. Although not perfect, the BMAP is a start…” Read Don’t delay implementation of Wakulla Springs Basin Management Action Plan.

Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman report for The New York Times - "The Endangered Species Act, which for 45 years has safeguarded fragile wildlife while blocking ranching, logging and oil drilling on protected habitats, is coming under attack from lawmakers, the White House and industry on a scale not seen in decades, driven partly by fears that the Republicans will lose ground in November’s midterm elections...'It’s probably the best chance that we have had in 25 years to actually make any substantial changes,' said Richard Pombo, a former congressman from California who more than a decade ago led an attempt to rethink the act and is now a lobbyist whose clients include mining and water management companies. He and others argue that the act has become skewed toward restricting economic development and Americans’ livelihoods rather than protecting threatened animals..." Read Lawmakers, lobbyists and the administration join forces to overhaul the Endangered Species Act

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    

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

August 17, 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm (CST) - Apalachicola Riverkeeper Meet & Greet: Learn more about Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s current and upcoming projects, including this year’s RiverTrek launch. Enjoy Wine & Beer, Tea & Soda along with light snacks. There will be door prizes! Event will be at the W.T. Neal Civic Center in Blountstown.

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


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