FCC News Brief
Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds
November 13, 2015
Christopher Curry reports for The Gainesville Sun – “Florida Defenders of the Environment has sued the state for misusing hundreds of millions of dollars that…Amendment 1 referendum set aside for the state’s conservation land acquisition trust fund…[T]he environmental group accuses state officials of violating…the state Constitution by using some $237 million…on salaries and benefits, best management practices for agricultural businesses, capital projects, vehicles, insurance…Instead of the Legislature, the heads of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Department of State, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are the named defendants. Instead of asking the court to order state officials to re-appropriate the funds, Florida Defenders of the environment wants an injunction to block the state agency heads from spending the money as approved in this year’s budget… ‘Government programs cannot function without the people and resources necessary to implement them,’ House Agriculture & Natural Resource Subcommittee Chair Ben Albritton, R-Bartow, said in June.” Read Second environmental group sues state over Amendment 1
David Kamp writes for Vanity Fair – “(Miami Beach Mayor) Levine sees no cognitive dissonance between fighting the seas and embracing the developers. The construction keeps the economy thriving, and the inflow of real-estate and hotel taxes helps pay for environmental initiatives-not just the pumps but also the city’s plans to elevate 30 percent of Miami Beach’s streets, replenish its Oceanside dunes, heighten its existing seawalls, and create new urban greenspaces that will absorb water and carbon dioxide. By Levine’s estimation, these moves are buying Miami Beach 50 years, during which time, he is convinced, scientists will develop ingenious new ways to combat the problem. To Harold Wanless, such talk is foolishness…Wanless (a scientist)…take[s] issue with the current models for projected sea-level rise…because they don’t account for how rapidly the world’s glaciers and ice sheets are going to melt in the decades to come…[H]e predicts that Miami Beach will experience something in the range of 10 to 30 feet of sea-level rise by the end of the century.” Read Can Miami Beach Survive Global Warming?
Brian Bowden reports for Keys News – “ ‘If [sea level] does rise to [the predicted] levels [by 2030],’ Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority engineer Tom Walker said, ‘it’s going to have a dramatic impact on the Keys.’ One of those impacts could be encroaching saltwater seeping through South Florida’s porous limestone into the Biscayne Aquifer, the…body of freshwater that provides 17 million gallons of drinking water a day for the Keys… ‘A huge impact of what scenario we decide to take is how the South Florida Water Management District proceeds…We need to know what their long-range plan is. Then we will react to that.’ The SFWMD’s control of freshwater flow in South Florida, which begins with containment at Lake Okeechobee, plays an integral part when it comes to the stability of the Biscayne Aquifer.” Read Rising seas raise drinking water questions
Devin Henry reports for The Hill – “President Obama should reject Republican-backed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as part of any spending bills this year, Senate Democrats said Thursday… ‘We agree with you that decisions about protecting species under the Endangered Species Act should be made based upon science- such provisions have no place in the appropriations process,’ the group wrote.” Read Dems push Obama on endangered species protections
Melissa Hogenboom writes for the BBC - “We once viewed ourselves as the only creatures with emotions, morality, and culture. But the more we investigate the animal kingdom, the more we discover that is simply not true. Many scientists are now convinced that all these traits, once considered the hallmarks of humanity, are also found in animals.” Read Humans are nowhere near as special as we like to think
Isadora Rangel reports for the TC Palm – “The Cabinet approved a list of 70 lands that will be part of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The program started in 2001 and pays agricultural landowners not to develop their land…Half the projects the Cabinet approved Tuesday are in the Lake Okeechobee watershed. Environmentalists contend preventing land north of Lake Okeechobee from being developed from relatively low-impact pastureland to high-impact urban areas will reduce the potential for more pollution entering the lake, which in turn will help protect the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon…Now it’s up to the Legislature to allocate money to buy conservation easements for the properties during the 2016 legislative session that starts in January…The Legislature gave $15 million for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program this year using money available through Amendment 1…That’s far below the $39 million the environmental groups that sponsored the amendment proposed. Putnam is asking lawmakers to boost funding for the program to $25 million next year using amendment dollars.” Read Florida Cabinet approves list of conservation lands that includes 4 Treasure Coast ranches
Tiffany Ap reports for CNN – “Rising sea levels from unchecked carbon emissions could drive more than 100 million people into extreme poverty and submerge the homes of over half a billion, two new reports say.” Read Climate change could create 100 million poor, over half a billion homeless
Greg Allen reports for NPR – “[T]here’s something special about orchids, and in the U.S., no place has more native species than Fakahatchee Strand Preserve. The state park in Southwest Florida was the setting for the 1998 book The Orchid Thief. Scientists there are working to bring back varieties lost through the years to poachers and habitat destruction.” Read Scientists Work with Cuba to Bring Lost Orchids Back to Florida State Park
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.
Lobby for Animals’ November 8 Legislative Report: Bill summaries and last actions taken on bills related to animal rights and the environment in each state and at the federal level.
The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species and a staff scientist – Southeast Endangered Species.
Paynes Prairie in danger
Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development
Upcoming Environmental Events
September-December- Help Current Problems with their annual Great Suwannee River Basin Cleanup! There are different cleanups scheduled from September to December at different locations. Find more info here.
November 12 & 13 – Attend the Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium in Miramar Beach to find out what’s new in the transportation industry, from technological innovations to policy. Find out more info here.
November 12 & 13 – Attend the GreenTrends Conference in Orlando at the DoubleTree-SeaWorld. Day 1 participants will work in group to develop the next level of green building approaches. Day 2, industry experts will lead a full day of educational sessions. Find more info here.
November 14, 10:30 am - Attend the West Orange Solar Co-op informational meeting at the North Orange Branch Library (1211 E. Semoran Blvd. Apopka, FL 32703) to learn about how joining the co-op can make installing solar more affordable. Learn more here.
November 14, 1:30 pm - Attend the West Orange Solar Co-op informational meeting at the Windermere Library (530 Main St. Windermere, FL 34786) to learn more about how joining the co-op can make installing solar more affordable. Learn more here.
November 19, 9:00 am – Participate in the Suwannee Waterways Cleanup. Trash bags and grabbers will be provided. Lunch (smoked chicken) will be provided by Jerry Everett of the Waterfront Market. The Florida Paddling Trails Association and the Friends of the Lower Suwannee Refuge will do afternoon presentations. Meet at the Suwannee Community Center. Sign up with Debbie Meeks at (352) 278- 5088 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 2, 12:00 pm – Listen to C.L.E.A.R.’s Science of Drilling Florida Webinar to learn about the environmental science of unconventional drilling in Florida. C.L.E.A.R. researchers will discuss their research and how the environment and human health might be affected if unconventional drilling is permitted in Florida. Sign up here.
December 12, 2:15 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Homosassa Library. It is an interactive, presenter-led PowerPoint program that translates scientific facts into common language, detailing the specific impact of Florida’s and especially the tri-county’s (Citrus-Levy-Marion) water problems on jobs, property values, lifestyles, ecotourism and most importantly, our drinking water. For more information contact Nancy Kost at (352) 628- 0698 or email@example.com.
January 23, 10:00 AM – Attend Festival in the Woods at Picayune Strand State Forest to learn from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, the Principal Project Manager at the South Florida Water Management District and a wildlife ecologist from Milliken Forestry Co. There will also be free lunch, guided hikes and bike tours, children activities like horse rides and a bounce house, and more. Contact Melinda Avni at Melinda.Avni@FreshFromFlorida.com or (239) 690- 8031 for more information.
February 20, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Attend the Orlando Wetlands Festival at Fort Christmas Historical Park in Christmas, FL for guided bird-watching excursions, native plant identification hikes, wilderness hikes, photo hikes, children’s activities, hay and bus rides, and more. Find more info here or call Orlando Wetlands Park at (407) 568- 1706.
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