FCC News Brief - July 30, 2018

Lee Constantine writes for the Orlando Sentinel - “We, as Floridians, all depend upon our fragile environment. Our economy is based upon people’s desire to visit and live in our beautiful state. That’s why we all lost recently when advocate and legend Nathaniel Reed died after an accident while fishing in Canada. Personally, I lost an inspiration, a mentor and a friend. By the time of his passing, Reed had long since secured a place in history as one of Florida’s greatest environmental advocates. He served two Republican presidents and six governors from both parties in that role. He helped draft and implement groundbreaking state and federal environmental laws. He helped found two statewide organizations for which I am proud to serve- 1000 Friends of Florida and the Florida Conservation Coalition. Reed’s legacy includes his pioneering role in the farsighted policy of conserving natural lands by buying them in the public’s name. He understood that permanently preserving Florida’s most ecologically valuable acreage would yield enormous and enduring benefits for our state’s environment and the economy that depends on it…” Read Nat Reed, Florida Forever and another ‘lost summer’.

From the News Service of Florida - Legislative leaders are appealing a Leon County circuit judge’s ruling that the state has not properly carried out a 2014 constitutional amendment that required spending on land and water conservation. Attorneys for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, filed a notice this week of taking the case to the 1st District Court of Appeal… Read State appeals conservation funding case.

Clara Anne Graham writes for the News-Press - “With a nod to Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again, this being year three of stinky algae blooms choking our waterways. This year is probably the worst despite all the actions undertaken during last year’s legislative session when Senate President Joe Negron outlined a plan to ‘fix’ this problem, called Lake O discharges of blue-green algae. The League of Women Voters of Lee County helped spearhead the Conservation 20/20 initiative as well as the US Army Corp of Engineers’ Southwest Environmental Impact Study (EIS). We will continue to monitor and lobby for our environment in addition to assessing local, state and federal elected officials and candidates on environmental issues. We’d like to present some history as we understand it in this Lake O controversy…” Read League of Women Voters plays vital role in environmental issues.

Ian James reports for Arizona Republic - “Arizona is looking at taking over a federal program intended to protect rivers, streams and wetlands from construction projects, road-building and mining, a change conservation groups say will likely translate into a significant weakening of environmental protections. In Arizona and most other state, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues dredge-and-fill permits under the Clean Water Act. But a bill passed by the Arizona Legislature this year would allow the state Department of Environmental Quality to take over those responsibilities…” Read Arizona may take on new authority to protect streams and rivers. Conservationists fear looser regulation.

Arian Campo-Flores reports for the Wall Street Journal - “The number of dead or ailing sea turtles washing up on Florida’s southwestern coast has soared due to a prolonged algae bloom, raising concerns about the long-term impact on endangered turtle species. Since the start of the year, 287 turtles—dead, sick or injured—have been stranded in the counties of Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier, said Allen Foley, a wildlife biologist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. That is double the five-year average for the same period and the highest toll since 2005 and 2006, when a similar algae bloom erupted. The phenomenon is coinciding with sea turtles’ breeding season, which runs from April to October, said Heather Barron, medical and research director at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife in Sanibel, Fla. Many of the stranded turtles are sexually mature adults of vulnerable species, including the Kemp’s ridley, which is classified as endangered, and the loggerhead, which is classified as threatened...Known as a red tide, the algae bloom produces toxic chemicals that can affect the central nervous systems of fish and other animals, killing or impairing them. Exposed sea turtles may swim in circles and exhibit jerky body movements and lethargy. Though some sea turtles have died from boat strikes or predators, the main culprit for the increased mortality is the red tide, Mr. Foley said…” Read Why the red tide is killing Florida’s sea turtles.

Dinah Voyles Pulver reports for the Daytona Beach News-Journal - “A sweeping effort to adopt action plans to improve water quality in 13 springs systems across the state is on hold after a dozen groups and individuals asked to intervene with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, including one of the department’s own springs experts. Thomas Greenhalgh, a hydrogeologist with the department’s Florida Geological Survey, is one of two people who asked for an administrative hearing on one of the 13 ‘basin management action plans’ signed by Noah Valenstein in late June. ‘There are many claims and statements in the BMAP that I believe are inaccurate and unsubstantiated,’ wrote Greenhalgh in seeking a state hearing on the plan for the Suwannee River, where he owns property. He’s not alone…” Read Groups protest new Florida springs action plans.

Joel A. Mintz writes for the Sun Sentinel -  “Recent events have underscored the vital importance of effective environmental regulation for Floridians. Blue green algae- apparently caused by releases of contaminated water from Lake Okeechobee - has blanketed significant portions of our state’s east and west coasts, causing major economic losses and posing a threat to the health of coastal residents. Pro-active regulation and enforcement of environmental laws could (and should) have prevented these abysmal consequences. In fact, lawsuits play a critical role in shaping the laws that guide government regulation of the environment; and the U.S. Supreme Court— which has lately been almost evenly divided in important environmental cases — often has the last word on the government’s crucial ability to protect public health and the environment from the perils of pollution. President Trump’s controversial nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace centrist Justice Anthony Kennedy on the nation’s highest court is thus a matter of crucial importance for the future of environmental pollution control. Unfortunately, a preliminary review of Kavanaugh’s judicial writings and votes provides little basis for optimism regarding the positions he will take in environmental cases if his nomination to join the Court is confirmed. Read Kavanaugh may limit environmental protections if confirmed to Supreme Court.

Jim Waymer and Wayne T. Price write for Florida Today - “Jessica Castro of Titusville was returning home from Publix last week when four ‘residents’ of her neighborhood sauntered in front of her car. She’d heard these neighbors for years but never had any encounters with them prior to last week. For the record, her neighbors were black wild hogs...Florida’s woods and waters are full of such surprises, and we plan to explore some of the fiercest and most fascinating among us. This week’s Shark Week coverage was, in part, to springboard Florida Today/USA Today Network’s more focused and nuanced coverage of Florida wildlife. We think it’ll be an informative and enjoyable way to venture into serious topics that affect all Floridians…” Read Get ready for a wild ride with ‘Our Florida Wild’.


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

Communications & Program Manager for Florida Wildlife Corridor

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    

Tidal Town Hall: Attend a Tidal Town Hall near you. These events represent a partnership between ReThink Energy Florida and First Street Foundation in an effort to provide voters with the opportunity to have an open conversation with Primary Candidates on the topic of sea level rise. Attending candidates are from both sides of the aisle and this is your chance to ask them how they plan on protecting the Sunshine State from climate change driven sea level rise:

July 30, 5:30-8:30 pm - Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association, 619 Vonderburg, DR #B, Brandon, FL. Facebook event here

July 31, 5:30-8:30 pm - 635 Prosperity Farm Road, North Palm Beach, FL. Facebook event here

July 31, 6:00- 8:30 pm- 2401 N Harbor City Blvd, Melbourne, FL 32935. Facebook event here.

August 1, 5:30 - 8:30 pm - 1951 NW 7th Ave Suite 600, Miami, FL 33136. Facebook event here.

August 65:30-8:30 pm - 330 5th St. N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Facebook event here.

August 6, 5:30 - 8:00 pm - 12000 Alumni Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32224. Facebook event here.

August 7, 5:30- 8:30 pm - En Espanol - 1951 NW 7th Ave Suite 600, Miami, FL 33136. Facebook event here

August 85:30-8:30 pm- 3975 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota FL 34232. Facebook event here

August 9, 5:30- 8:30 pm- 1000 Holt Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Facebook event here

August 14, 5:00-7:00 pm  - 6340 Napa Woods Way, Naples, FL 34116. Facebook event here.

August 14, 5:00 - 7:45 pm - 239 N Spring Street, Pensacola, FL. Facebook event here

August 15, 5:00 - 7:00 pm - 2000 North Recreation Park Way, North Fort Myers, FL. Facebook event here

August 1, 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Low-Impact Development Workshop. Join local experts in the discussion about how Low-Impact Development (LID) practices keep stormwater on site, can remove pollutants, prevent flooding, and benefit wildlife. Elected officials, residents, builders ,city planners, and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend. Lyonia Environmental Center - 2150 Eustace Avenue, Deltona, FL.  For more information visit www.greenvolusia.org or call 386-736-5927.

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 7th, 12:00 pm - Springs Academy: Class 5 Springs Stresses. This Springs Academy class will be taught by Dr. Bob Knight, Executive Director of the Florida Springs Institute. Dr. Knight will be presenting an in-depth overview of Springs Stresses including groundwater pumping, fertilizers, wastewater disposal, and recreation. Held at the North Florida Environmental Center in High Springs, Florida. For more information email info@floridaspringsinstitute.org or visit the website

August 9, 6:00 - 8:45 pm - Big Bend Environmental Forum for Candidates of Primary Election- Citizens will be able to suggest questions covering environmental, energy, sustainability, and growth management issues to candidates of the county and city commissions for the Big Bend area. An open house prior to the forum will include displays by candidates and BBEF member organizations. King Life Sciences Building Auditorium, Room 1024, 319 Stadium Dr, Tallahassee FL. Facebook event here

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.

Petitions

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.

Please encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to join the FCC and subscribe to the Daily News Brief (both free). Also, check out our FCC Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @FLConservation

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Haley Burger at WeAreFCC@gmail.com

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.  

For more information, visit https://www.wearefcc.org/

 



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