News and Announcements

FCC Legislative Action Alert - Ask the House to support Springs Legislation this session

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 @ 3:16pm

Dear FCC Members,

Urgent! We need your help to pass the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act.

The Florida Legislature’s effort to pass meaningful, comprehensive springs legislation this session could be described as A Tale of Two Chambers. In the Senate chamber a bipartisan group of five veteran legislators has come together to create and champion Senate Bill 1576 which includes important funding, deadlines and regulations to protect and restore Florida’s springs. Due in large part to their leadership SB 1576 passed its first two committee stops unanimously and Senator Charlie Dean, the bill’s sponsor, predicts it will quickly pass through its last Senate committee and be approved by the full Senate when the legislature returns next week.

Unfortunately, in the other chamber, the Florida House of Representatives has refused to even allow the bill to be heard in its first committee stop and House leadership has repeatedly called for delaying legislation until future sessions. In attempting to put off springs legislation, House leadership refuses to acknowledge the crisis facing Florida’s springs, the important impact of these natural wonders on Florida’s economy and the larger costs that the citizens of Florida will be forced to bear every year that springs protection is delayed. Instead of responding to the call for action from the people of Florida and their colleagues in the Senate, House leadership has been listening to lobbyists for Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Home Builders Association who are attempting to weaken and kill the bill.

So far, the House’s inaction on springs legislation has been abetted by the governor, who while publicly promoting springs restoration projects and funding has remained silent on the most important proposal to protect Florida’s springs in recent memory.

With only two week remaining in the 2014 legislative session time is running out. Florida’s springs and the bipartisan group of Senators working to pass this bill need our help.  Call or write Speaker Weatherford, Majority Leader Crisafulli, Chairman Boyd, Chairman McKeel and your representative today to ask them to bring the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act up for a committee vote early next week and to support the most recent Senate version of this critical bill.

Refusing to act on springs legislation this session is the same as permitting the continued destruction of Florida’s springs. As Senator Dean said in a recent interview in the Tampa Bay Times, “It’s an election year. Let them stand up and say, ‘I’m not for clean water.’”

Call or write the elected officials below, and your representative (find your representative here), today and make a difference in protecting Florida’s waters.

Best,

Ryan Smart

FCC



Speaker Will Weatherford

(850) 717-5038

Will.Weatherford@myfloridahouse.gov

Rep. Steve Crisafulli

(850) 717-5051

 Steve.Crisafulli@myfloridahouse.gov

Rep. Jim Boyd

(850) 717-5071

Jim.Boyd@myfloridahouse.gov

Rep. Seth McKeel

(850) 717-5040

Seth.McKeel@myfloridahouse.gov

FCC Legislative Action Alert - Ask the Senate Community Affairs Committee to Vote No on Senate Bill 1464

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Monday, April 7th, 2014 @ 12:53pm

Dear FCC Members,

  
Next Tuesday Senate Bill 1464 by Senator Wilton Simpson, companion legislation to Representative Jimmy Patronis’ House Bill 703, will be heard in the Senate Community Affairs Committee which Senator Simpson chairs. Conservation groups, local governments, and newspaper editorial boards have all expressed opposition to what has been called “the worst bill of the legislative session” by the Gainesville Sun and “toxic” in a new must read editorial by the Tampa Bay Times.

Last week, in the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee, several of the most environmentally damaging sections were removed from the bill and two other sections were improved for the benefit of Florida’s environment.

Despite these positive developments, SB 1464 still poses a serious threat to the health of Florida’s springs, rivers, estuaries, and natural lands by undermining the authority of local government, weakening water supply planning and allowing for long-term consumptive use permits.

SB 1464 is bad policy and bad for Florida’s environment. The Florida Conservation Coalition continues to oppose this legislation and we need your help to convince the members of Senate Community Affairs Committee to stop it before it gets any further.

Please call or write the members of the Senate Community Affairs Committee (contact information below) and let them know that you care for Florida’s environment and oppose this bill.

Best,

Ryan Smart

FCC

Sen. Wilton Simpson

(850) 487-5018 simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Geri Thompson 

(850) 487-5012


thompson.geraldine.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Rob Bradley

(850) 487-5007

 bradley.rob.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Dorothy Hukill

(850) 487 5008

 hukill.dorothy.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Jack Latvala 

(850) 487-5020

latvala.jack.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Chris Smith 

(850) 487-5031


smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Darren Soto 

(850) 487-5014

soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Kelli Stargel

(850 487-5015

stargel.kelli.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. John Thrasher 

(850) 487-5006

thrasher.john.web@flsenate.gov

FCC Daily News Brief - April 1st, 2014

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 @ 12:51pm

FCC News Brief
Florida's best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds.

April 1st, 2014

Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: Senate Bill 1576, The Springs and Aquifer Protection Act, unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, its second committee stop. During the committee hearing Jake Varn, former Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation and Florida Department of Transportation, said, “The bottom line is this legislation provides a timeline for getting the work done, it provides funding, and it identifies the sources of the problem.” Read Springs bill passes with most opponents taking the polite role.

The Gainesville Sun editorial board writes: Minimum flow and level regulations being established for the Ichetuknee and lower Santa Fe Rivers and springs would allow water users to continue over-pumping the Floridan Aquifer for at least another five years. The board writes, “It’s time to take a stand for our water resources. An Alachua County challenge to the MFL rule would show Tallahassee that commissioning studies and setting distant deadlines are no substitute to doing something now about the sad state of our springs.” Read Diluted protections.

Jessie Van Berkel reports in the Daytona Beach News-Journal: Local governments and environmental groups are working to oppose House Bill 703 which would roll-back local government control of land use decisions and allow for long-term permits for consumptive water use. Van Berkel writes, “The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jimmy Patronis, has a history of filing bills aimed at environmental regulations. Some opponents of this year’s bill accused (Patronis) of being beholden to the development, agriculture and sugar industries.” Read the full story here.

The Associated Press reports: “A federal judge ruled that pumping water from farmlands into public water supplies such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee violates the Clean Water Act.” Read Environmentalists applaud Clean Water Act ruling.

Quote of the Day: “What I hear are a lot of concerns, and there is nothing wrong with that. I would hope there are concerns because to adequately and rightly address this issue we’re going to make a lot of people uncomfortable.” – State Senator Bill Montford on the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act which passes his committee by a 5-0 vote yesterday.

Upcoming Environmental Events & Meetings

Thursday & Friday, April 10–11- The Florida Association of Native Nurseries will host the 2nd Annual Native Plant Show at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. Find more info here.

Saturday, April 19 – The Wakulla Wildlife Festival at Wakulla Springs State Park will be the hub of activities designed to educate, inspire and empower positive change by connecting individuals with their environment and heritage. Find more info here.

Saturday, April 26 - The annual Marion County Springs Festival will be held at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Look for additional information on this fantastic event soon.

Save the Dates: Florida Native Plant Society’s 34th Annual Conference, “Growing Native” from May 15th to 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers. For more information go to www.fnps.org/conference

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

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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 the new and improved FCC Facebook page.

If you wish to stop receiving these daily emails just reply with the subject "unsubscribe" and you will be promptly removed.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Ryan Smart at rsmart@floridaconservationcoalition.org.

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.

FCC Legislative Action Alert - Springs and Aquifer Protection Act Passes Second Committee

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 @ 11:38am

Dear FCC Members,


More good news! Yesterday afternoon Senate Bill 1576, the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act, unanimously passed out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. The
 latest version of the bill includes many important protections for 38 Outstanding Florida Springs and our drinking water; it is the result of more than six months of collaborative work by environmental groups and other stakeholders under the guidance and leadership of Senators Dean, Simmons, Simpson, Montford, and Hays.

We are optimistic but the fight for our springs and water is far from over. As highlighted in a recent editorial in the Orlando Sentinel, the bill has still not been heard in any Committees in the Florida House of Representatives.  

The FCC will continue to work with the Senate sponsors to refine the bill to the benefit of Florida’s environment and will keep you informed on the bill’s progress.

Please take a moment to contact the members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and the five Senators responsible for this excellent legislation (contact information below) and thank them for taking a stand to protect Florida’s springs.

Best,

Ryan Smart

FCC

Sen. Charlie Dean

 (850) 487-5005

 dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. David Simmons

 (850) 487-5010

 simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Wilton Simpson

 (850) 487-5018

 simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Alan Hays

 (850) 487-5011

 hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Bill Montford

(850) 653-2656

montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Dwight Bullard

(850) 487-5039

bullard.dwight.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Jeff Brandes

(850) 487-5022

brandes.jeff.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Bill Galvano

(850) 487-5026

galvano.bill.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Denise Grimsley

(850) 487-5021

grimsley.denise.web@flsenate.gov

FCC Legislative Action Alert - Support the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Thursday, March 27th, 2014 @ 3:33pm

Dear FCC Members,

On Monday, March 31st, the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act (SB 1576) will be heard in the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Senator Bill Montford, one of the Senators responsible for this excellent legislation and a co-sponsor of the bill, serves as Chairman of this Committee.

SB 1576 represents a significant and much needed step forward in environmental policy to protect Florida’s springs and aquifer from pollution and over-consumption. In its present form, the legislation includes important regulations, funding and deadlines.

Please take a moment to contact the members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and ask them to stand with Florida’s springs and citizens by voting yes on Senate Bill 1576.

Best,

Ryan Smart

FCC



Sen. Bill Montford

(850) 653-2656

montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov


Sen. Dwight Bullard

(850) 487-5039

bullard.dwight.web@flsenate.gov


Sen. Jeff Brandes

(850) 487-5022

brandes.jeff.web@flsenate.gov


Sen. Bill Galvano

(850) 487-5026

galvano.bill.web@flsenate.gov


Sen. Rene Garcia

(850) 487-5038

garcia.rene.web@flsenate.gov


Sen. Denise Grimsley

(850) 487-5021

grimsley.denise.web@flsenate.gov


Sen. Maria Sachs

(850) 487-5034

sachs.maria.web@flsenate.gov



FCC Legislative Update - Senate Bill 1464

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Thursday, March 27th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

Dear FCC Members,

Yesterday, Senate Bill 1464, companion legislation to Rep. Jimmy Patronis’ House Bill 703, passed the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee by a 4-1 vote. Senator Soto was the lone vote against the bill.

Prior to passage, a strike-all amendment by Senator Simpson and additional amendments by Senators Altman and Latvala removed or modified some of the worst provisions of the bill.

Specifically, two of the most environmentally damaging sections of the bill – one allowing 50 year consumptive use permits for dispersed water storage projects and another preempting local governmental authority to protect wetlands and springs and regulate stormwater runoff on agricultural lands – were completely removed. Also stricken was a provision exempting certain water control districts from local permitting when constructing dykes, ditches, canals, and other water control structures. In addition, Section 9 of the bill, dealing with water management district regional water supply plans, and Section 13, allowing for an automatic two year extension of certain building permits, were improved.

Despite these positive developments, several sections harmful to Florida’s waters and growth management policies remain in SB 1464. Most notable are provisions which:

  • Allow 30 year consumptive use permits for developments of regional impact in rural areas of critical concern.
  • Preempt local governmental authority to require a supermajority vote on comprehensive plans and amendments.
  • Require water management districts to incorporate water needs, sources, and development projects into regional water supply plans.

Senate Bill 1464 will now go to the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

The House version of the bill, which has not been amended to remove or modify the sections discussed above, will next be heard in the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.


Best,

Ryan Smart

FCC

FCC Daily News Brief - March 27th, 2014

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Thursday, March 27th, 2014 @ 11:49am

FCC News Brief
Florida's best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds.

March 27th, 2014

The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board writes: As bipartisan springs legislation advances in the Florida Senate, the Florida House refuses to even consider the bill. The board writes, “(House Speaker Will Weatherford) has said that any changes in water policy will have to wait until next year’s legislative session. Meanwhile, a different bill that would change water policy by weakening protections at the local level has been moving through the House. So who’s kidding whom?” The board concludes, “If House leaders won’t move soon, Gov. Rick Scott needs to push them to act. Scott, who has talked up his interest in protecting springs on the campaign trail, has the political muscle to do it. But does he have the will?” Read House must join Senate’s effort to rescue springs.

Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: SB 1464, the Senate companion to House Bill 703 by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, passed out of the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee by a 4-1 vote. Before passing the bill was amended “to remove several objectionable sections.” Read Permitting bill gets substantial changes but still faces environmental opposition.

Bill Thompson reports in the Ocala Star Banner: Two dozen people spoke out against a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run from Alabama to South Florida at a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission public meeting yesterday. Read Regulators get an earful over planned gas pipeline.

The Public News Service reports: The Obama administration proposed a new rule this week to clarify which types of water have Clean Water Act protection. Currently, more than 20 million acres of wetlands and 2 million miles of streams are unprotected due to two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Read Proposed rule would close gap in Florida water protection.

Tom Swihart writes in the blog Watery Foundation: According to a new paper by researchers at Columbia University Water Center, “Florida withdraws a lot of groundwater in relation to surface area.” Swihart writes, “There are some opportunities to increase aquifer recharge but the main solution to groundwater over-pumping is to reduce pumping." See the figures and find out more here.

Upcoming Environmental Events & Meetings

Saturday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Check out the Springs Celebration and Chili Cook-Off at O’Leno State Park. Visit santaferiversprings.com for more information.

Saturday, March 29- The annual Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival will be held in downtown DeLand. The festival features sustainable gardening wildflowers, plants and products, plus speakers and demonstrations on growing Florida native wildflowers, beekeeping, composting and more. For more information visit www.floridawildflowerfestival.com

Tuesday, April 1, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – The Late Bloomers Garden Club will host a Garden Club of America Flower Show titled “A River Runs Through It” at the Garden Club of Jacksonville. Find more info here.

Thursday & Friday, April 10–11- The Florida Association of Native Nurseries will host the 2nd Annual Native Plant Show at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. Find more info here.

Saturday, April 19 – The Wakulla Wildlife Festival at Wakulla Springs State Park will be the hub of activities designed to educate, inspire and empower positive change by connecting individuals with their environment and heritage. Find more info here.

Saturday, April 26 - The annual Marion County Springs Festival will be held at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Look for additional information on this fantastic event soon.

Save the Dates: Florida Native Plant Society’s 34th Annual Conference, “Growing Native” from May 15th to 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers. For more information go to www.fnps.org/conference

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

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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 the new and improved FCC Facebook page.

If you wish to stop receiving these daily emails just reply with the subject "unsubscribe" and you will be promptly removed.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Ryan Smart at rsmart@floridaconservationcoalition.org.

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.

 

In the News, March 27, 2014

Posted by Ryan Smart, Thursday, March 27th, 2014 @ 11:44am

  • The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board writes: As bipartisan springs legislation advances in the Florida Senate, the Florida House refuses to even consider the bill. The board writes, “(House Speaker Will Weatherford) has said that any changes in water policy will have to wait until next year’s legislative session. Meanwhile, a different bill that would change water policy by weakening protections at the local level has been moving through the House. So who’s kidding whom?” The board concludes, “If House leaders won’t move soon, Gov. Rick Scott needs to push them to act. Scott, who has talked up his interest in protecting springs on the campaign trail, has the political muscle to do it. But does he have the will?” Read House must join Senate’s effort to rescue springs.

    Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: SB 1464, the Senate companion to House Bill 703 by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, passed out of the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee by a 4-1 vote. Before passing the bill was amended “to remove several objectionable sections.” Read Permitting bill gets substantial changes but still faces environmental opposition.

    Bill Thompson reports in the Ocala Star Banner: Two dozen people spoke out against a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run from Alabama to South Florida at a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission public meeting yesterday. Read Regulators get an earful over planned gas pipeline.

    The Public News Service reports: The Obama administration proposed a new rule this week to clarify which types of water have Clean Water Act protection. Currently, more than 20 million acres of wetlands and 2 million miles of streams are unprotected due to two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Read Proposed rule would close gap in Florida water protection.

    Tom Swihart writes in the blog Watery Foundation: According to a new paper by researchers at Columbia University Water Center, “Florida withdraws a lot of groundwater in relation to surface area.” Swihart writes, “There are some opportunities to increase aquifer recharge but the main solution to groundwater over-pumping is to reduce pumping. See the figures and find out more here.

FCC Daily News Brief - March 26th, 2014

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 @ 9:52am

FCC News Brief
Florida's best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds.

March 26th, 2014

Maggy Hurchalla writes in the Palm Beach Post: House Bill 703, Sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, is an assault on Florida’s waters and growth management policies. Hurchalla writes, “It’s particularly galling to have a legislator from as far away as you can get telling local residents they can’t plan for their future. It’s infuriating when local residents are dealing with a disaster that the state refuses to prevent. It’s doubly infuriating when the legislation is drafted by sugar companies that are causing the problem.” Read Residents must fight state assault on local comprehensive plans.

Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: Comprehensive springs protection and restoration legislation passed its first Senate Committee stop by a unanimous vote. Read Springs bill passage hailed as a “major victory” despite funding questions.

Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: After several small but important amendments to clarify the definition of reclaimed water and allow for greater public involvement in the process, legislation creating a study on the efficient use of reclaimed water passed its final committee stops in the Florida House and Senate. Read the full story here.

Mary Wozniak reports in News-Press.com: Rep. Ray Rodrigues, sponsor of two bills relating to the disclosure and exemption from public record laws of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracking process, says the bills are likely dead in the House this session. Read Fracking smacks a partisan wall.

 

Upcoming Environmental Events & Meetings

Saturday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Check out the Springs Celebration and Chili Cook-Off at O’Leno State Park. Visit santaferiversprings.com for more information.

Saturday, March 29- The annual Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival will be held in downtown DeLand. The festival features sustainable gardening wildflowers, plants and products, plus speakers and demonstrations on growing Florida native wildflowers, beekeeping, composting and more. For more information visit www.floridawildflowerfestival.com

Tuesday, April 1, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – The Late Bloomers Garden Club will host a Garden Club of America Flower Show titled “A River Runs Through It” at the Garden Club of Jacksonville. Find more info here.

April 10–11- The Florida Association of Native Nurseries will host the 2nd Annual Native Plant Show at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. Find more info here.

Save the Dates: Florida Native Plant Society’s 34th Annual Conference, “Growing Native” from May 15th to 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers. For more information go to www.fnps.org/conference

Save the Date: The annual Marion County Springs Festival will be held on April 26, 2014 at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Look for additional information on this fantastic event soon.

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

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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).

If you wish to stop receiving these daily emails just reply with the subject "unsubscribe" and you will be promptly removed.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Ryan Smart at rsmart@floridaconservationcoalition.org.

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.

In the News, March 26, 2014

Posted by Ryan Smart, Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 @ 9:49am

  • Maggy Hurchalla writes in the Palm Beach Post: House Bill 703, Sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, is an assault on Florida’s waters and growth management policies. Hurchalla writes, “It’s particularly galling to have a legislator from as far away as you can get telling local residents they can’t plan for their future. It’s infuriating when local residents are dealing with a disaster that the state refuses to prevent. It’s doubly infuriating when the legislation is drafted by sugar companies that are causing the problem.” Read Residents must fight state assault on local comprehensive plans.

    Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: Comprehensive springs protection and restoration legislation passed its first Senate Committee stop by a unanimous vote. Read Springs bill passage hailed as a “major victory” despite funding questions.

    Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: After several small but important amendments to clarify the definition of reclaimed water and allow for greater public involvement in the process, legislation creating a study on the efficient use of reclaimed water passed its final committee stops in the Florida House and Senate. Read the full story here.

    Mary Wozniak reports in News-Press.com: Rep. Ray Rodrigues, sponsor of two bills relating to the disclosure and exemption from public record laws of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracking process, says the bills are likely dead in the House this session. Read Fracking smacks a partisan wall.

FCC Legislative Action Alert - Oppose Senate Bill 1464

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Monday, March 24th, 2014 @ 4:30pm

Dear FCC Members,

This Wednesday Senate Bill 1464, companion legislation to Representative Jimmy Patronis’ House Bill 703, will be heard in the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee. Conservation groups, local governments and newspaper editorial boards have all expressed opposition to what has been called “the worst bill of the legislative session” by the Gainesville Sun, “toxic” by the Martin County Times, and a “bill (that) would harm Florida” by the Lakeland Ledger.

This legislation poses a direct threat to the health of Florida’s springs, rivers, estuaries, and natural lands by undermining the authority of local governments to make land use decisions, rolling-back springs and wetlands protections, and allowing for long-term consumptive use permits. In some cases consumptive use permits could be granted for up to 50 years, essentially removing this water from the control of the public and its elected and appointed representatives for a half century during a time when we know certain areas of our state will be unable to meet water demands in the near future.

Among the most environmentally damaging aspects of this legislation are provisions which:

  • Preempt local government authority to protect wetlands and springs and regulate stormwater runoff on agricultural lands.
  • Preempt local government authority to require a supermajority vote on comprehensive plans and amendments.
  • Allow 50-year consumptive use permits for dispersed water storage projects.
  •  Allow 30-year consumptive use permits for water projects associated with Developments of Regional Impact.

Just last week the members of the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee stood with Florida’s waters and citizens when they unanimously passed the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. Now we must call on them to do so again, by voting against Senate Bill 1464.

Please call or write the Senators below, and House sponsor Jimmy Patronis, and let them know that you care for Florida’s environment and oppose this bad bill.

Best,

Ryan Smart

FCC

Rep. Jimmy Patronis
 
(850) 717-5006 jimmy.patronis@myfloridahouse.gov
Sen. Charlie Dean

(850) 487-5005 dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov
Sen. Wilton Simpson (850) 487-5018 simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov
Sen. Joseph Abruzzo (850) 487-5025 abruzzo.joseph.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Thad Altman (850) 487-5016 altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Dwight Bullard (850) 487-5039 bullard.dwight.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Andy Gardiner (850) 487-5013 gardiner.andy.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Denise Grimsley (850) 487-5021 grimsley.denise.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Jack Latvala (850) 487-5020 latvala.jack.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Darren Soto (850) 487-5014 soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov
 

FCC Legislative Action Alert - Springs and Aquifer Protection Act Passes First Committee

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Friday, March 21st, 2014 @ 9:05pm

Dear FCC Members,


Good news! Yesterday morning Senate Bill 1576, the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act, unanimously passed out of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee. This latest version of the bill includes many important protections for 38 Outstanding Florida Springs and our drinking water; it is the result of more than six months of collaborative work by environmental groups and other stakeholders under the guidance and leadership of Senators Dean, Simmons, Simpson, Montford, and Hays.

Highlights of the legislation to protect and restore Florida’s 38 Outstanding Florida Springs and their surrounding Spring Protection and Management Zones include:

  • A dedicated long-term funding source estimated at over $300 million per year for projects to protect and restore springs. 
  • Stronger minimum flow and minimum water level standards.
  • Deadlines for assessing springs for nutrient impairment, establishing minimum flow and water levels, implementing recovery and prevention strategies, and developing Basin Management Action Plans.
  • A requirement that local governments adopt fertilizer ordinances that meet or exceed the Department of Environmental Protection’s Model Ordinance for Florida Friendly Fertilizer.
  • A requirement that wastewater treatment facilities meet an advanced wastewater treatment standard of no more than 3 mg/L Total Nitrogen.
  • A requirement that all agricultural producers implement best management practices by a specific date.
  • The identification of all septic tanks used by single family residences on lots of less than one acre, multi-family residences, and commercial and industrial properties, and the creation of a remediation plan to upgrade certain septic systems to meet a 3 mg/L Total Nitrogen standard or hook such systems up to central sewer.
  •  A prohibition on new wastewater treatment facilities that do not meet a 3 mg/L Total Nitrogen standard, new facilities for the disposal of hazardous wastes, new septic systems which do not include nitrogen removing technology, the disposal of wastewater residuals and septage, and concentrated animal feeding, cattle finishing, or slaughterhouse operations.

We are optimistic but the fight for our springs and water is far from over. Funding will be the subject of much debate.  The Governor’s and Legislative budgets for springs protection next fiscal year are in the range of $50 million. We will continue to work with the sponsors to refine the bill to the benefit of Florida’s environment and will keep you informed.

Before yesterday’s unanimous vote, Senate President designate Andy Gardiner addressed those in attendance saying, “You’re not going to study us to death on this one and you’re not going to run out the clock… Members come and go, but good policy stays, and I believe this is something we will be able to be proud of.”

Please take a moment to contact the members of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee and the five Senators responsible for this excellent legislation and thank them for taking a stand to protect Florida’s springs.

Best,

Ryan Smart

FCC

Sen. Charlie Dean (850) 487-5005 dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Bill Montford (850) 653-2656 montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. David Simmons (850) 487-5010 simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov
Sen. Wilton Simpson (850) 487-5018 simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Alan Hays (850) 487-5011 hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov
Sen. Joseph Abruzzo (850) 487-5025 abruzzo.joseph.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Thad Altman (850) 487-5016 altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov
 
Sen. Dwight Bullard (850) 487-5039 bullard.dwight.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Andy Gardiner (850) 487-5013 gardiner.andy.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Denise Grimsley (850) 487-5021 grimsley.denise.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Jack Latvala (850) 487-5020 latvala.jack.web@flsenate.gov

Sen. Darren Soto (850) 487-5014 soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov
 

FCC Daily News Brief - March 18th, 2014

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 @ 10:26am

FCC News Brief
Florida's best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds.

March 18th, 2014

Tom Swihart writes in the blog Watery Foundation: “Governor Reubin O’Donovan Askew richly deserves the many eulogies he is receiving. Martin Dyckman’s insightful and deeply-researched biography includes an amazing list of Askew’s accomplishments. A number of them demonstrate his commitment to Florida’s environmental future.” To see some of Governor Askew’s incredible accomplishments read Askew’s (water) legacy.

Bruce Ritchie writes in the Florida Current: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, looks to expand glamour camping (or “glamping”) in Florida’s aquatic preserves and state parks. Senate Bill 956 and House Bill 791 would allow DEP to contract with businesses to provide concessions in aquatic preserves. Environmental groups have expressed support for encouraging more people to visit aquatic preserves but some concerns remain over the scope and impact of activities permitted by the legislation. Read the full story here.

Upcoming Environmental Events & Meetings

March 21-23 – The 34th Annual League of Environmental Educators in Florida Conference will be held at the 4H Camp in Ocala. Find more information here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Orlando to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Wednesday, March 26, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Bartow to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Saturday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Check out the Springs Celebration and Chili Cook-Off at O’Leno State Park. Visit santaferiversprings.com for more information.

Saturday, March 29- The annual Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival will be held in downtown DeLand. The festival features sustainable gardening wildflowers, plants and products, plus speakers and demonstrations on growing Florida native wildflowers, beekeeping, composting and more. For more information visit www.floridawildflowerfestival.com

Tuesday, April 1, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – The Late Bloomers Garden Club will host a Garden Club of America Flower Show titled “A River Runs Through It” at the Garden Club of Jacksonville. Find more info here.

April 10–11- The Florida Association of Native Nurseries will host the 2nd Annual Native Plant Show at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. Find more info here.

Save the Dates: Florida Native Plant Society’s 34th Annual Conference, “Growing Native” from May 15th to 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers. For more information go to www.fnps.org/conference

Save the Date: The annual Marion County Springs Festival will be held on April 26, 2014 at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Look for additional information on this fantastic event soon.

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

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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).

If you wish to stop receiving these daily emails just reply with the subject "unsubscribe" and you will be promptly removed.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Ryan Smart at rsmart@floridaconservationcoalition.org.

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.

In the News, March 18, 2014

Posted by Ryan Smart, Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 @ 10:14am

  • Tom Swihart writes in the blog Watery Foundation: “Governor Reubin O’Donovan Askew richly deserves the many eulogies he is receiving. Martin Dyckman’s insightful and deeply-researched biography includes an amazing list of Askew’s accomplishments. A number of them demonstrate his commitment to Florida’s environmental future.” To see some of Governor Askew’s incredible accomplishments read Askew’s (water) legacy.

    Bruce Ritchie writes in the Florida Current: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, looks to expand glamour camping (or “glamping”) in Florida’s aquatic preserves and state parks. Senate Bill 956 and House Bill 791 would allow DEP to contract with businesses to provide concessions in aquatic preserves. Environmental groups have expressed support for encouraging more people to visit aquatic preserves but  concerns remain over the scope and impact of activities permitted by the legislation. Read the full story here

FCC Daily News Brief - March 11th, 2014

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 @ 12:41pm

FCC News Brief
Florida's best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds.

March 11th, 2014

PolitiFact, a joint effort by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, finds: Governor Scott’s claim that his Administration has “invested record funding in protecting our environment” is false. The report says, “Scott’s statement during the speech likely left listeners with the impression that his investment in the environment in general is a record, and that would be misleading.” Read the full report here.

Kevin Spear reports in the Orlando Sentinel: The governing boards of Florida’s water management districts lack diversity. The state’s three largest water management districts – South Florida, Southwest Florida, and St. Johns – “have 30 board seats combined and of those, three are held by women, two by Hispanics and none by blacks or people who describe themselves as environmentalists,” Spear writes. Read Out of touch water boards.

Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: “Members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee said this week their email inboxes were jammed by Martin County residents responding to (House Bill 703).” The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, weakens home rule and the ability of local governments to protect environmental and water resources. HB 703 is opposed by the Florida League of Cities, 1,000 Friends of Florida, and the Florida Conservation Coalition, along with other environmental groups. Read Critics: Proposal undermines 2011 law encouraging locals to make growth decisions.

The Ocala Star Banner editorial board writes: “(House Bill 703, by Rep. Jimmy Patronis) contains unnecessary requisites that would hamstring local government and overturn legitimate actions taken to protect our environment, something on which the current Legislature and governor have a less than stellar record.” The board continues, “Passage of the bill would be nothing less than another crass, Tallahassee-based power grab to overrule the will of voters, their elected representatives and constitutionally enacted local policies…If Patronis won’t listen to reason, we urge our legislative delegation to join (Rep. Clovis) Watson and work to kill HB 703 in its tracks.” Read Curtailing home rule.

Tom Swihart writes on the blog Water Foundation: Almost exactly 38 years ago the voters of Florida approved a constitutional amendment granting Florida’s five water management districts the power to levy ad valorem taxes. Swihart urges all who “love Florida” to consider supporting the Land and Water Legacy Amendment this November. Read Constitutional referenda.

Quote of the Day: “Are we so arrogant?” – St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board Member Maryam Ghyabi, following the board’s decision to approve an increased Consumptive Use Permit for Niagara Bottling Company despite thousands of letters in opposition to the permit. Ghyabi was one of two board members to vote against the permit.

Upcoming Environmental Events & Meetings

Thursday, March 13, 12:30 p.m. to 3:300 p.m. (CST) - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Pensacola to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Saturday, March 15, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Calusa Heritage Day will be held at the Randell Research Center’s Calusa Heritage Trail on Pine Island to celebrate the archeology, ecology, history, and legacy of the Calusa people. Find more information here.

March 21-23 – The 34th Annual League of Environmental Educators in Florida Conference will be held at the 4H Camp in Ocala. Find more information here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Orlando to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Wednesday, March 26, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Bartow to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Saturday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Check out the Springs Celebration and Chili Cook-Off at O’Leno State Park. Visit santaferiversprings.com for more information.

Saturday, March 29- The annual Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival will be held in downtown DeLand. The festival features sustainable gardening wildflowers, plants and products, plus speakers and demonstrations on growing Florida native wildflowers, beekeeping, composting and more. For more information visit www.floridawildflowerfestival.com

Tuesday, April 1, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – The Late Bloomers Garden Club will host a Garden Club of America Flower Show titled “A River Runs Through It” at the Garden Club of Jacksonville. Find more info here.

April 10–11- The Florida Association of Native Nurseries will host the 2nd Annual Native Plant Show at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee. Find more info here.

Save the Dates: Florida Native Plant Society’s 34th Annual Conference, “Growing Native” from May 15th to 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers. For more information go to www.fnps.org/conference

Save the Date: The annual Marion County Springs Festival will be held on April 26, 2014 at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Look for additional information on this fantastic event soon.

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

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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).

If you wish to stop receiving these daily emails just reply with the subject "unsubscribe" and you will be promptly removed.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Ryan Smart at rsmart@floridaconservationcoalition.org.

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.

In the News, March 11, 2014

Posted by Ryan Smart, Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 @ 12:29pm

  • PolitiFact, a joint effort by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, finds: Governor Scott’s claim that his Administration has “invested record funding in protecting our environment” is false. The report says, “Scott’s statement during the speech likely left listeners with the impression that his investment in the environment in general is a record, and that would be misleading.” Read the full report here.

    Kevin Spear reports in the Orlando Sentinel: The governing boards of Florida’s water management districts lack diversity. The state’s three largest water management districts – South Florida, Southwest Florida, and St. Johns – “have 30 board seats combined and of those, three are held by women, two by Hispanics and none by blacks or people who describe themselves as environmentalists,” Spear writes. Read Out of touch water boards.

    Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current: “Members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee said this week their email inboxes were jammed by Martin County residents responding to (House Bill 703).” The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, weakens home rule and the ability of local governments to protect environmental and water resources. HB 703 is opposed by the Florida League of Cities, 1,000 Friends of Florida, and the Florida Conservation Coalition, along with other environmental groups. Read Critics: Proposal undermines 2011 law encouraging locals to make growth decisions.

    The Ocala Star Banner editorial board writes: “(House Bill 703, by Rep. Jimmy Patronis) contains unnecessary requisites that would hamstring local government and overturn legitimate actions taken to protect our environment, something on which the current Legislature and governor have a less than stellar record.” The board continues, “Passage of the bill would be nothing less than another crass, Tallahassee-based power grab to overrule the will of voters, their elected representatives and constitutionally enacted local policies…If Patronis won’t listen to reason, we urge our legislative delegation to join (Rep. Clovis) Watson and work to kill HB 703 in its tracks.” Read Curtailing home rule.

    Tom Swihart writes on the blog Water Foundation: Almost exactly 38 years ago the voters of Florida approved a constitutional amendment granting Florida’s five water management districts the power to levy ad valorem taxes. Swihart urges all who “love Florida” to consider supporting the Land and Water Legacy Amendment this November. Read Constitutional referenda.

FCC Daily News Brief - March 7th, 2014

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Friday, March 7th, 2014 @ 11:26am

FCC News Brief
Florida's best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds.

March 7th, 2014

Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current:  Environmental groups, including Florida Wildlife Federation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, St. Johns Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club will appeal a federal court ruling which the groups claim allows the state to set “polluter-friendly” water quality standards for Florida waters.  Read the full story here.

The Miami Herald editorial board writes: Florida should oppose a plan by the U.S. Interior Department to survey the Atlantic Ocean for oil and gas, which could potentially lead to drilling off the coast of states from Delaware to Florida. Scientists are concerned that the underwater explosions used to search for oil and gas deposits will injure, or possibly kill, dolphins and whales in the area. Read Don’t drill, baby.

Kevin Spear reports in the Orlando Sentinel: Following the purchase of more than 382,000 acres of land in Florida’s panhandle, the Mormon Church owns almost 2% of all Florida land. Read the full story here.

1,000 Friends of Florida announces: 1,000 Friends of Florida President Charles Pattison has been appointed by Gov. Scott to serve on the East Central Florida Corridor Task Force. Find more information here.

Upcoming Environmental Events & Meetings

Monday, March 10, 7:00 p.m. – The Gainesville Sun will host the Fragile Springs forum in at Santa Fe College’s Fine Arts Hall in Gainesville to foster a “serious debate on water issues.” Panel participants include Dr. Bob Knight, springs activist John Moran, Suwannee River Water Management District Exec. Dir. Ann Shortelle, Rick Hutton from GRU, and the Florida Farm Bureau’s Charles Shinn. Find more info here.

Thursday, March 13, 12:30 p.m. to 3:300 p.m. (CST) - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Pensacola to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Saturday, March 15, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Calusa Heritage Day will be held at the Randell Research Center’s Calusa Heritage Trail on Pine Island to celebrate the archeology, ecology, history, and legacy of the Calusa people. Find more information here.

March 21-23 – The 34th Annual League of Environmental Educators in Florida Conference will be held at the 4H Camp in Ocala. Find more information here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Orlando to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Wednesday, March 26, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Bartow to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Saturday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Check out the Springs Celebration and Chili Cook-Off at O’Leno State Park. Visit santaferiversprings.com for more information.

Saturday, March 29- The annual Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival will be held in downtown DeLand. The festival features sustainable gardening wildflowers, plants and products, plus speakers and demonstrations on growing Florida native wildflowers, beekeeping, composting and more. For more information visit www.floridawildflowerfestival.com

Save the Dates: Florida Native Plant Society’s 34th Annual Conference, “Growing Native” from May 15th to 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers. For more information go to www.fnps.org/conference

Save the Date: The annual Marion County Springs Festival will be held on April 26, 2014 at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Look for additional information on this fantastic event soon.

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

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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).

If you wish to stop receiving these daily emails just reply with the subject "unsubscribe" and you will be promptly removed.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Ryan Smart at rsmart@floridaconservationcoalition.org.

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.

In the News, March 7, 2014

Posted by Ryan Smart, Friday, March 7th, 2014 @ 11:16am

  • Bruce Ritchie reports in the Florida Current:  Environmental groups, including Florida Wildlife Federation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, St. Johns Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club will appeal a federal court ruling which the groups claim allows the state of Florida to set “polluter-friendly” water quality standards for Florida waters.  Read the full story here.

    The Miami Herald editorial board writes: Florida should oppose a plan by the U.S. Interior Department to survey the Atlantic Ocean for oil and gas, which could potentially lead to drilling off the coast of states from Delaware to Florida. Scientists are concerned that the underwater explosions used to search for oil and gas deposits will injure, or possibly kill, dolphins and whales in the area. Read Don’t drill, baby.

    Kevin Spear reports in the Orlando Sentinel: Following the purchase of more than 382,000 acres of land in Florida’s panhandle, the Mormon Church owns almost 2% of all Florida land. Read the full story here.

    1,000 Friends of Florida announces: 1,000 Friends of Florida President Charles Pattison has been appointed by Gov. Scott to serve on the East Central Florida Corridor Task Force. Find more information here.

FCC Daily News Brief - March 6th, 2014

E-mail sent by Ryan Smart, Thursday, March 6th, 2014 @ 11:47am

FCC News Brief
Florida's best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds.

March 6th, 2014

The Ocala Star Banner editorial board writes: “When the Florida Legislature convenes for its 2014 session today, it will do so amid broad and long-awaited consensus that Florida cannot continue to ignore its water crisis.” The board continues, “We are stunned when Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Speaker-designate Steve Crisafulli both say they do not expect any ‘major changes’ in water policy this year… Weatherford, Crisafulli and the House need to get on board – and not next year.” Read Granddaddy is losing the battle.

Aaron Deslatte reports in the Orlando Sentinel: Legislation which would have prohibited possessing, selling, trading, buying, shipping, or bartering a shark fin in Florida, inspired by 13 year old animal activist Thomas Ponce, was amended to only strengthen the penalties for fishers caught cutting the fins off sharks at sea. Bill sponsor Senator David Simmons said the bill “would have died if it wasn’t changed.” Read Senate guts shark-fin crack-down.

Dave Williams reports in the Atlanta Business Chronicle: Bruce Brown and Todd Silliman, attorneys who have been representing Georgia for 15 years in the tri-state “water wars” between Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, are withdrawing from the cases. Read the full story here.

Upcoming Environmental Events & Meetings

Monday, March 10, 7:00 p.m. – The Gainesville Sun will host the Fragile Springs forum in at Santa Fe College’s Fine Arts Hall in Gainesville to foster a “serious debate on water issues.” Panel participants include Dr. Bob Knight, springs activist John Moran, Suwannee River Water Management District Exec. Dir. Ann Shortelle, Rick Hutton from GRU, and the Florida Farm Bureau’s Charles Shinn. Find more info here.

Thursday, March 13, 12:30 p.m. to 3:300 p.m. (CST) - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Pensacola to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Saturday, March 15, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Calusa Heritage Day will be held at the Randell Research Center’s Calusa Heritage Trail on Pine Island to celebrate the archeology, ecology, history, and legacy of the Calusa people. Find more information here.

March 21-23 – The 34th Annual League of Environmental Educators in Florida Conference will be held at the 4H Camp in Ocala. Find more information here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Orlando to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Wednesday, March 26, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting in Bartow to discuss the prioritization of Total Maximum Daily Loads and Basin Management Action Plans. Find more information here.

Saturday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Check out the Springs Celebration and Chili Cook-Off at O’Leno State Park. Visit santaferiversprings.com for more information.

Saturday, March 29- The annual Florida Wildflower & Garden Festival will be held in downtown DeLand. The festival features sustainable gardening wildflowers, plants and products, plus speakers and demonstrations on growing Florida native wildflowers, beekeeping, composting and more. For more information visit www.floridawildflowerfestival.com

Save the Dates: Florida Native Plant Society’s 34th Annual Conference, “Growing Native” from May 15th to 18th at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft, Myers. For more information go to www.fnps.org/conference

Save the Date: The annual Marion County Springs Festival will be held on April 26, 2014 at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala. Look for additional information on this fantastic event soon.

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

We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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).

If you wish to stop receiving these daily emails just reply with the subject "unsubscribe" and you will be promptly removed.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Ryan Smart at rsmart@floridaconservationcoalition.org.

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit floridaconservationcoalition.org.

In the News, March 6, 2014

Posted by Ryan Smart, Thursday, March 6th, 2014 @ 11:35am

  • The Ocala Star Banner editorial board writes: “When the Florida Legislature convenes for its 2014 session today, it will do so amid broad and long-awaited consensus that Florida cannot continue to ignore its water crisis.” The board continues, “We are stunned when Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Speaker-designate Steve Crisafulli both say they do not expect any ‘major changes’ in water policy this year… Weatherford, Crisafulli and the House need to get on board – and not next year.” Read Granddaddy is losing the battle.

    Aaron Deslatte reports in the Orlando Sentinel: Legislation which would have prohibited possessing, selling, trading, buying, shipping, or bartering shark fins in Florida, inspired by 13 year old animal activist Thomas Ponce, was amended to only strengthen the penalties for fishers caught cutting the fins off sharks at sea. Bill sponsor Senator David Simmons said the bill “would have died if it wasn’t changed.” Read Senate guts shark-fin crack-down.

    Dave Williams reports in the Atlanta Business Chronicle: Bruce Brown and Todd Silliman, attorneys who have been representing Georgia for 15 years in the tri-state “water wars” between Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, are withdrawing from the cases. Read the full story here

** The Florida Conservation Coalition has included a “one-click option” to help those who want a convenient way to reach those who need to be contacted, but it is technically impossible to make this function with all email clients. There will also be a downloadable and printable text version that can be copied into your email, but you will have to also place the addresses individually.  We are sorry for the additional time that this second option might require but that is the state of current technology.**


Florida Conservation Coalition

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