News and Announcements

FCC News Brief - February 13, 2016

E-mail sent by Gladys Delgadillo, Saturday, February 13th, 2016 @ 3:45pm

FCC News Brief

Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

February 13, 2016

 

The New York Times Editorial Board writes – “The Supreme Court’s extraordinary decision…to temporarily block the Obama administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from power plants was deeply disturbing…It raised serious questions about America’s ability to deliver on Mr. Obama’s pledge in Paris…to sharply reduce carbon emissions…And with all the Republican-appointed justices lining up in a 5-to-4 vote to halt the regulation…the court also reinforced the belief among many Americans that the court is knee-deep in the partisan politics it claims to stand above…Last month, a unanimous panel of the federal appeals court…sided with the administration and refused to block the Clean Power Plan from taking effect. It set an expedited briefing schedule in order to resolve the case well before any significant action is required from the states. Normally, the Supreme Court allows this process to play out. But time and again, this court has shown itself to be all too eager to upset longstanding practice or legal precedent.” Read The Court Blocks Efforts to Slow Climate Change

Isadora Rangel reports for TC Palm – “Sen. Thad Altman[‘s]…amendment would have used the $22.2 million that currently is in the Senate’s proposed budget (for the Florida Forever land-buying program) for fiscal year 2016-17 to issue bonds. But other senators asked the amendment to be killed…Atlman said he had about 21 of 40 votes to pass the amendment and believes the move was intended to kill his measure and to ensure rank-and-file lawmakers like him don’t add large items to the budget. He said the state should take advantage of low interest rates to buy properties that are on a Florida Forever priority list, waiting to be purchased for habitat conservation and parks…Pafford’s measure would buy 153,000 acres the state has the option to purchase according to a 2010 agreement between U.S. Sugar Corp. and the South Florida Water Management District…The sugar land was intended to be used to build reservoirs and water treatment areas to move Lake O water into the Everglades…Money for the measures pushed by Altman and Pafford would have come from Amendment 1…” Read Measures to boost land conservation, curb Lake O discharges die in the Senate and House

Isadora Rangel reports for TC Palm – “An Orlando senator’s attempt to stop land and water conservation money from being used for pumps and pipes failed Tuesday. State Sen. Darren Soto…said he’ll try again though, with a new measure that would require water projects funded with Amendment 1 money meet certain criteria, such as protecting a body of water…The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee approved Senate Bill 1290 (State Lands bill) unanimously. Sponsor Sen…Simpson…said he’s willing to work with environmentalists to change the bill before the full Senate votes on it…The pumps and pipes provision is just one of several environmentalists oppose in SB 1290 and HB 1075, intended to streamline how the state manages its lands.” Read Attempt to stop Amendment 1 dollars from paying for pumps, pipes fails

Paula Dockery writes for the Sun Sentinel – “The top priorities of the Senate president and House speaker- expanding opportunities for the developmentally disabled and an agriculture-friendly water policy- have made it to the governor’s desk…The House wants to fund Everglades restoration with up to $200 million annually. This should be great news, but unfortunately, it is a thrifty trade-off for not fully funding Florida Forever and Amendment One…The Legislature is cutting state park funding, is only giving $22 million – instead of $300 million – to land acquisition and is diverting funds to overhead and other unintended uses. Kudos to state Sen. Thad Altman for trying to increase Florida Forever funding to $200 million…The issues are still in a state of flux. Questioning your elected representatives before the final vote lets them know you’re paying attention and lessens the likelihood they can talk their way out of bad votes or inaction. It’s an election year- there’s no better time.” Read Best and worst of session as lawmakers reach halftime

Ledyard King reports for News-Press – “More than 17,000 acres of pristine Southwest Florida shorefront in Collier County would be permanently preserved, under a bill headed to the Senate. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Curt Clawson and passed by the House…Tuesday, would reclassify portions of Marco Island, Keewaydin Island and Cape Romano as part of the Coastal Barrier Resources System…The bill has personal significance for Clawson who entered politics in 2014 to make a difference on water quality issues…Clawson’s office said if his bill becomes law, the number of contiguous, permanently protected acres in the region will increase to more than 40,000. Clawson’s proposal would create the largest grouping of Coastal Barrier Resources System units nationwide- protecting the Florida Everglades and ecosystem, aquatic plants and animals, other wildlife, and private properties from flood and storm damage.” Read Rep. Clawson bill preserving 17,000 acres heads to Senate

Karl Etters reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Black bears, salamanders and woodpeckers that call the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge home could benefit from a shot of $2.5 million in federal money to acquire 30,000 acres for restoration and conservation projects. President Obama approved funding…for dozens of projects across the U.S. as part of an overall $900 million Land and Water Conservation Fund…The local funding will go toward securing land and restoring long-leaf pine habitat that once stretched throughout North Florida, South Georgia and the Southeast. Also included in the proposal is $3.85 million for the Osceola National Forest and $412,000 for the Lathrop Bayou Habitat Management Area near Tyndall Air Force Base. In South Florida, $2.5 million in LWCF funding is proposed for Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area. The funding still requires congressional approval.” Read St. Marks Refuge could get dose of federal funding

Scott Marcusky reports for Fox 4 – “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been dumping nutrient-rich fresh water from Lake Okeechobee recently, causing a deluge of brown water to spread through coastal areas, which some say is threatening the ecology and economy…In a letter sent by the governor to Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy, Governor Scott urges the Corps of Engineers to instead funnel more water to the south of Lake Okeechobee, toward the Everglades. His plan has the approval of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Everglades National Park, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Miccosukee Tribe.” Read Governor Scott requests easing of Caloosahatchee water releases

Rob Moher writes for News Press – “[W]e are still wrestling with the same problems as when the Caloosahatchee was named one of America’s Endangered Rivers in 2006- exactly one decade ago…The purchase of the EAA lands still needs to happen if the discharges are ever to be stopped, and the water delivered back to the Everglades and Florida Bay, where it’s needed. Another piece of the puzzle is stopping pollution at its source. While regulation is often mentioned with disdain, laws like the Clean Water Act and the proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule are crucial to ensuring that discharges of pollution into upstream waters are deterred. Updating antiquated and ineffective stormwater standards for new developments and requiring agricultural best management practices are other necessary pollution control measures needed for stemming the pollution plaguing our waters.” Read Same problems haunt our water efforts

 

 

 

 

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 Postings

The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager

Sierra Club is seeking an Organizing Representative based in Palm Beach County for their Everglades Restoration Campaign

Sierra Club is seeking an Organizing Representative based in Palm Beach County for their Stop Sugar Cane Field Burning Campaign

Sierra Club is seeking an Organizing Representative based in Gainesville for their Red Tide (Water Quality) Campaign


Petitions

Paynes Prairie in danger

Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U . S . A .  from Development

 

Making Connections

Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at .

If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at .

 

Upcoming Environmental Events

February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

February 13 – Participate in Save Our Parks, Statewide Day of Action. The Day of Action will include rallies, marches, and other events advocating against private, non-conservation uses in public lands including hunting, cattle grazing, timber harvesting, oil drilling, and more. Click here for more information.

February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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.

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.

February 10, 10:00 am – Participate in a creek cleanup at Sweetwater Branch. For more information, contact Fritzi Olson at aar@currentproblems.org or (352) 215- 7554.

February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library inInverness. 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 .

February 25, 11:30 am - Attend Pensacola to Paris and Back to learn about Earth Ethics’ Executive Director’s trip to Paris for the UN Climate Change Conference and about how we can move forward as a community and a nation. Event will be held at the downtown library located at 239 N Spring Street. RSVP by Thursday, February 18 to mary.earthethics@cox.net.

February 25, 5:30 pm - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. and the League of Women Voters of the Pensacola Bay Area for a viewing and discussion of Plastic Paradise at the Lucia M. Tryon Branch Library (1200 Langley Avenue).

February 28, 1:30 pm - Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact  or call 863-465-2571 x233.

February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

March 4, 7:00 pmWatch “This Changes Everything.” This critically acclaimed documentary explores the adverse impacts of climate change. For more information, contact Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net. To register, click here.

March 5, 10:00 am – Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for an interactive edible plant walk at PEAR Park in Leesburg. You will get to taste, touch and smell some of the native plants growing in the native plant demonstration garden. Learn which are edible, which have medicinal properties, and which have cultural and historical importance. The event is free for members and $15 for non-members. Clickhere for more information.

March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park inJacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

March 5, 1:00 pmWatch “This Changes Everything.” This critically acclaimed documentary explores the adverse impacts of climate change. For more information, contact Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net. To register, click here.

March 12, 10:00 am – Attend The 1st Annual Honey Bee Festival, benefiting the creation of the Florida Honey Bee Research Lab to Save the Bees, in Sarasota. There will be opportunities to pick strawberries, live entertainment, a kid zone, educational booths, and local artisan food and honey tastings. Find more information here.

March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of theMarion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library inBeverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

March 30, 5:30 pm – Participate in a meet and greet for environmental nonprofitgroups in Pensacola. Each speaker will be given approximately 10 minutes to provide information on their group. The public is invited to attend. Please contact Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics, Inc., if you’re interested. Her e-mail is .

April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

April 6, 12:00 pm April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at theReddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at(352) 817- 8077 or  .

April 7, 11:30 am – Attend a Lunch and Learn titled, ‘Transportation: Rail, Mass transit, and other modes’ at the Ever’mans educational center on Garden Street in Pensacola. At this event you will learn about carpooling, our current and future transportation system, and the possibility of rail coming back to Pensacola. If you plan to enjoy a $5 Ever’mans lunch, RSVP to Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net by April 4.

April 17, 11:30 am – Attend a Lunch and Learn titled, ‘Energy: Solar and Wind’ at the Ever’mans educational center on Garden Street in Pensacola. If you plan to enjoy a $5 Ever’mans lunch, RSVP to Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net by April 11.

April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at or (904) 388- 1506.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 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 www . floridaconservationcoalition . org

Oppose SB 318

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Thursday, February 11th, 2016 @ 9:31pm

  • Dear FCC Members,

    The Florida House of Representatives recently passed HB 191 to establish a regulatory system for “high pressure well stimulation” (HPWS) that would regulate fracking. This bill’s Senate companion, SB 318, has only one committee stop left, Senate Appropriations, before it reaches the Senate Floor. While these bills might seem to provide protections at first glance, they contain a number of deficiencies which place our drinking water and public health at risk. The oil and gas industry is pushing these bills which could potentially result in serious environmental damage and public expense. Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (see below) and ask them to vote ‘no’ on SB 318. To use our template, click here.

    Fracking uses the high pressure injection of chemicals and large quantities of water into an oil or gas well to fracture underground rock formations and enhance extraction of oil and gas. There are several other fracking-like well stimulation operations likely to be used in Florida that would not be captured under the bill’s definition of HPWS. The bill’s definition of HPWS, proposed regulations, and the study would not apply to these various other fracking-like operations or even fracking when it is done “incidentally” (whatever that might mean). Consequently, only a limited number of well stimulation treatments would be regulated under SB 318 and the results of the proposed study would be very limited in scope. Truly protective legislation would address all types of well stimulation techniques that use hazardous chemicals and large quantities of water.

    The bill preempts local governments from banning all types of oil and gas activities, including well stimulation techniques that are unregulated under SB 318, and rescinds any bans that have previously been adopted. This provision violates the principle that local governments should be allowed to govern in a way that is more protective of the environment than state or federal law. Legislation in 2011 deleted or substantially watered down many state land and water management provisions of Florida law based on increasing capability of local governments to provide governmental oversight; this bill diminishes local governments’ authority to govern their own affairs.

    The Legislature passed a water bill, focused largely on providing water supply for the present and future, and acknowledging that Florida’s finite water resources will be strained as its population and water consumption continues to grow. It is more important now, than ever, to focus on water conservation. Accordingly, local governments should not be prohibited from banning practices which consume very large amounts of fresh water, removing some of it permanently from the water cycle. A well stimulation operation in Collier County was previously permitted to use 280 million gallons of water per year from a potable water supply source. After use in well stimulation, the water is toxic and is often disposed of via deep well injection where it will never be recycled back into the hydrologic cycle.

    The public has shown warranted concern regarding the potentially hazardous chemicals used in well stimulation techniques like fracking, but SB 318 does nothing to alleviate these worries. Under SB 318, well operators are allowed to use different chemicals than the ones they listed in their permit application, and then withhold that information for 60 days after the operation. Information regarding chemicals used in well stimulation operations must be disclosed to the Department of Environmental Protection, but not to the public. This leaves the public, including emergency responders and health professionals, at a serious disadvantage should an accident occur. Wastewater from well stimulation treatments may contain chemicals such as arsenic, benzene (a carcinogen), and radioactive materials.

    Approximately 90% of Floridians’ drinking water comes from underground aquifers consisting of naturally fractured and permeable limestone. The aquifers could easily be contaminated should well stimulation fluids be accidentally spilled on the ground or leak underground.

    What we know about high pressure well stimulation is troubling, but what we don’t know should be equally troubling.

    Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and ask them to vote ‘no’ on SB 318 if it is heard in their committee. To use our template, click here.

     

    Senate Appropriations Committee Members

    Tom Lee Lee.Tom.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5024
    Lizbeth Benacquisto Benacquisto.Lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5030
    Thad Altman Altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5016
    Anitere Flores Flores.Anitere.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5037
    Don Gaetz Gaetz.Don.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5001
    Bill Galvano Galvano.Bill.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5026
    Rene Garcia Garcia.Rene.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5038
    Denise Grimsley Grimsley.Denise.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5021
    Alan Hays Hays.Alan.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5011
    Dorothy L. Hukill Hukill.Dorothy.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5008
    Arthenia L. Joyner Joyner.Arthenia.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5019
    Jack Latvala Latvala.Jack.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5020
    Gwen Margolis Margolis.Gwen.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5035
    Bill Montford Montford.Bill.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5003
    Joe Negron Negron.Joe.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5032
    Garrett Richter Richter.Garrett.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5023
    Jeremey Ring Ring.Jeremy.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5029
    David Simmons Simmons.David.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5010
    Christopher Smith Smith.Chris.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5031

    Thank you for continuing to fight with FCC for our water resources.

    Sincerely,

    Estus Whitfield

    Florida Conservation Coalition

Oppose Fracking SB 318

E-mail sent by Gladys Delgadillo, Thursday, February 11th, 2016 @ 6:05pm

Dear FCC Members,

The Florida House of Representatives recently passed HB 191 to establish a regulatory system for “high pressure well stimulation” (HPWS) that would regulate fracking. This bill’s Senate companion, SB 318, has only one committee stop left, Senate Appropriations, before it reaches the Senate Floor. While these bills might seem to provide protections at first glance, they contain a number of deficiencies which place our drinking water and public health at risk. The oil and gas industry is pushing these bills which could potentially result in serious environmental damage and public expense. Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee (see below) and ask them to vote ‘no’ on SB 318. To use our template, click here.

Fracking uses the high pressure injection of chemicals and large quantities of water into an oil or gas well to fracture underground rock formations and enhance extraction of oil and gas. There are several other fracking-like well stimulation operations likely to be used in Florida that would not be captured under the bill’s definition of HPWS. The bill’s definition of HPWS, proposed regulations, and the study would not apply to these various other fracking-like operations or even fracking when it is done “incidentally” (whatever that might mean). Consequently, only a limited number of well stimulation treatments would be regulated under SB 318 and the results of the proposed study would be very limited in scope. Truly protective legislation would address all types of well stimulation techniques that use hazardous chemicals and large quantities of water.

The bill preempts local governments from banning all types of oil and gas activities, including well stimulation techniques that are unregulated under SB 318, and rescinds any bans that have previously been adopted. This provision violates the principle that local governments should be allowed to govern in a way that is more protective of the environment than state or federal law. Legislation in 2011 deleted or substantially watered down many state land and water management provisions of Florida law based on increasing capability of local governments to provide governmental oversight; this bill diminishes local governments’ authority to govern their own affairs.

The Legislature passed a water bill, focused largely on providing water supply for the present and future, and acknowledging that Florida’s finite water resources will be strained as its population and water consumption continues to grow. It is more important now, than ever, to focus on water conservation. Accordingly, local governments should not be prohibited from banning practices which consume very large amounts of fresh water, removing some of it permanently from the water cycle. A well stimulation operation in Collier County was previously permitted to use 280 million gallons of water per year from a potable water supply source. After use in well stimulation, the water is toxic and is often disposed of via deep well injection where it will never be recycled back into the hydrologic cycle.

The public has shown warranted concern regarding the potentially hazardous chemicals used in well stimulation techniques like fracking, but SB 318 does nothing to alleviate these worries. Under SB 318, well operators are allowed to use different chemicals than the ones they listed in their permit application, and then withhold that information for 60 days after the operation. Information regarding chemicals used in well stimulation operations must be disclosed to the Department of Environmental Protection, but not to the public. This leaves the public, including emergency responders and health professionals, at a serious disadvantage should an accident occur. Wastewater from well stimulation treatments may contain chemicals such as arsenic, benzene (a carcinogen), and radioactive materials.

Approximately 90% of Floridians’ drinking water comes from underground aquifers consisting of naturally fractured and permeable limestone. The aquifers could easily be contaminated should well stimulation fluids be accidentally spilled on the ground or leak underground.

What we know about high pressure well stimulation is troubling, but what we don’t know should be equally troubling.

Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and ask them to vote ‘no’ on SB 318 if it is heard in their committee. To use our template, click here.

 

Senate Appropriations Committee Members

Tom Lee Lee.Tom.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5024
Lizbeth Benacquisto Benacquisto.Lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5030
Thad Altman Altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5016
Anitere Flores Flores.Anitere.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5037
Don Gaetz Gaetz.Don.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5001
Bill Galvano Galvano.Bill.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5026
Rene Garcia Garcia.Rene.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5038
Denise Grimsley Grimsley.Denise.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5021
Alan Hays Hays.Alan.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5011
Dorothy L. Hukill Hukill.Dorothy.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5008
Arthenia L. Joyner Joyner.Arthenia.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5019
Jack Latvala Latvala.Jack.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5020
Gwen Margolis Margolis.Gwen.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5035
Bill Montford Montford.Bill.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5003
Joe Negron Negron.Joe.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5032
Garrett Richter Richter.Garrett.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5023
Jeremey Ring Ring.Jeremy.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5029
David Simmons Simmons.David.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5010
Christopher Smith Smith.Chris.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487- 5031

Thank you for continuing to fight with FCC for our water resources.


Sincerely,

Estus Whitfield

Florida Conservation Coalition

FCC News Brief - February 11, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Thursday, February 11th, 2016 @ 11:22am

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 11, 2016

     

    Mary Ellen Klas reports for Miami Herald – “Florida Senate leaders rejected a budget amendment Wednesday that would have restored $222.5 million to the Florida Forever land-buying program that has been left threadbare since the Great Recession, arguing that the amendment was ‘out of order’ because it would have left the Senate’s proposed budget out of balance…[Altman] argued that the revenue source – the documentary stamp tax on real estate transactions—is ‘a robust fund and is expected to grow’ so earmarking the money to pay bonds for land buying ‘will not affect the stability of our state.’…These lands we want to purchase; we will lose them. They’re escalating [in value] faster than our ability to purchase them.’…Altman was angered by the ruling and said…’It sheds light on a huge, huge issue,’…’It’s the fact that allocations are…privately done and nobody even knows who does them in this back room and the public has no say…I think we should call for allocations to be done in public, they should be voted on. There should be debate. People should have a right to give input.’” Read Thad Altman blasts Senate budget process that leads to rejection of Florida Forever funding

    Phil Ammann reports for Florida Politics – “A bill revamping the state’s process of public land acquisition and management passed its first Senate committee Tuesday…Democratic Sen. Darren Soto submitted an amendment to strip language that would allow ‘an expansion of use of land acquisition dollars, Amendment 1 dollars, on water projects.’…Soto withdrew his amendment after receiving assurances the DEP is willing to work new language that would ensure a ‘nexus’ between using land conservation funds for water projects and actual land preservation. Also raising concern was Stephanie Kunkel of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, who did not appreciate combining water project spending and changes to land management regulations to promote ‘recreation or conservation,’ as opposed to ‘the purpose for which it was acquired.’” Read Senate Committee Passes Bill Restructuring Public Land Acquisition and Management

    Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “The Seminole County Commission approved an anti-fracking ordinance…as it denounced…the Legislature for taking up bills that would restrict local decisions about it. The all-Republican commission (in a nonpartisan county) voted unanimously on an ordinance that bans ‘any oil and gas exploration that uses well stimulation within the boundaries and below the geographic territory of Seminole County.’” Read Seminole County Oks Anti-Fracking Ordinance, Criticizes Tallahassee

    Flagler Live reports – “Just eight months after declining to join the Flagler County Commission in opposition to fracking and seismic testing offshore, the Palm Coast City Council in a decisive turn-around Tuesday said it would support a resolution opposing fracking, and would seek to forward the resolution to the Florida Legislature and the Florida League of Cities…” Read In a Decisive Shift, Palm Coast Will Oppose Fracking On and Offshore, Citing Environment

    Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida – “Money to restore the state’s natural springs has been attached to a proposal that would direct as much as $200 million a year to South Florida water projects. The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee supported an amendment…that would require at least $75 million a year to be budgeted for springs preservation….The House Appropriations Committee…approved a similar measure (HB 989) to fund South Florida projects. The bill, which does not include the springs funding, is ready for the House floor.” Read Springs Funding Added to Senate’s Everglades Fix

    Manley Fuller writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “Florida has more national champion trees than any other state.…[T]he current administration in Tallahassee wants to let private companies come in and log our state parks. We’ve always had a little logging in state parks, but the purpose was always to restore native forest conditions- not solely to make a buck…It’s important to note that there are plenty of other places to harvest timber in Florida. The state, for example, allows timber companies to conduct bigtime logging operations on more than a million acres of our state forests…Our parks are rare remnants of our state’s vanishing wild heritage, something sorely  needed in the face of constant human development across the landscape. When we get weary from the crowded highways and strip mall landscape…[w]e need…places for…peaceful contemplation.” Read Leave Florida’s towering champion trees alone

    Kate Bradshaw writes for Political Animal – “To help raise awareness of what they say are short-sighted, special interest-pandering environmental policies at the state level, environmental activists are planning demonstrations in state parks throughout Florida…First, there was Governor Rick Scott’s pitch that literally would have made it legal to install golf courses, resort facilities and all, in state parks, something the Tampa Bay Times called the ‘worst idea in history.’ Since then, there’s an effort to allow hunting, logging and even drilling in state parks. A bill in the legislature…would…allow residents to buy adjacent public lands if they promise not to develop anymore on the land they currently own. It would also apply money from Amendment 1…to…purchase…treatment and [transportation of water] from freshwater sources…to rapidly developing areas…(Never mind the…environmental impacts of sapping a population’s local water supply.)” Read Sierra Club plans Saturday protest against more state attacks on parks

    Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “Because of a few bad actors, the Florida League of Cities is marshaling a major assault on the state’s public records law, a move that could chill your right to know. Right now, if a judge finds that a state or local official illegally withheld public records from you, the only penalty they would face is paying your attorney fees. Now the league wants to make the recovery of attorney fees a maybe, rather than a must...If the judge finds you annoying, or is good friends with the mayor, what are the odds?...Rather than fix a bad bill on-the-fly or a bad law next year, better if lawmakers allow the league and open-government advocates to work together and come back with a proposal that works well for everyone.” Read Florida League of Cities goes too far, too fast

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager


    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at .

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at .

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13 – Participate in Save Our Parks, Statewide Day of Action. The Day of Action will include rallies, marches, and other events advocating against private, non-conservation uses in public lands including hunting, cattle grazing, timber harvesting, oil drilling, and more. Click here for more information.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library inInverness. 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 .

    February 25, 11:30 am - Attend Pensacola to Paris and Back to learn about Earth Ethics’ Executive Director’s trip to Paris for the UN Climate Change Conference and about how we can move forward as a community and a nation. Event will be held at the downtown library located at 239 N Spring Street. RSVP by Thursday, February 18 to mary.earthethics@cox.net.

    February 25, 5:30 pm - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. and the League of Women Voters of the Pensacola Bay Area for a viewing and discussion of Plastic Paradise at the Lucia M. Tryon Branch Library (1200 Langley Avenue).

    February 28, 1:30 pm - Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact  or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 4, 7:00 pmWatch “This Changes Everything.” This critically acclaimed documentary explores the adverse impacts of climate change. For more information, contact Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net. To register, click here.

    March 5, 10:00 am – Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for an interactive edible plant walk at PEAR Park in Leesburg. You will get to taste, touch and smell some of the native plants growing in the native plant demonstration garden. Learn which are edible, which have medicinal properties, and which have cultural and historical importance. The event is free for members and $15 for non-members. Clickhere for more information.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park inJacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 5, 1:00 pmWatch “This Changes Everything.” This critically acclaimed documentary explores the adverse impacts of climate change. For more information, contact Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net. To register, click here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of theMarion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library inBeverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

    March 30, 5:30 pm – Participate in a meet and greet for environmental nonprofitgroups in Pensacola. Each speaker will be given approximately 10 minutes to provide information on their group. The public is invited to attend. Please contact Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics, Inc., if you’re interested. Her e-mail is .

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or .

    April 6, 12:00 pm April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at theReddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at(352) 817- 8077 or  .

    April 7, 11:30 am – Attend a Lunch and Learn titled, ‘Transportation: Rail, Mass transit, and other modes’ at the Ever’mans educational center on Garden Street in Pensacola. At this event you will learn about carpooling, our current and future transportation system, and the possibility of rail coming back to Pensacola. If you plan to enjoy a $5 Ever’mans lunch, RSVP to Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net by April 4.

    April 17, 11:30 am – Attend a Lunch and Learn titled, ‘Energy: Solar and Wind’ at the Ever’mans educational center on Garden Street in Pensacola. If you plan to enjoy a $5 Ever’mans lunch, RSVP to Mary at mary.earthethics@cox.net by April 11.

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

    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.

    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).

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    Please send all suggestions, comments and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com

    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 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 www.floridaconservationcoalition.org

Support Sen. Altman's Amendment to Increase Florida Forever Funding

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 @ 10:34am

  • Support Sen. Altman's Amendment to Increase Florida Forever Funding

    Dear FCC Members,
     
    Tomorrow the Florida Senate will consider Florida’s 2016-2017 state budget. The current budget includes only $22.3 million for the acquisition of vital conservation lands through the highly successful Florida Forever program. At a time when Florida’s population is exploding, it is essential that our state protect its most important natural lands and waters by acquiring these lands outright or by purchasing conservation easements which prevent future development.
     
    The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is advocating for the Legislature to return to the traditional $300 million allocation for Florida Forever, only a tiny fraction of which has been funded in recent years. To our dismay, this trend continued even after nearly 75% of those who voted in the 2014 election supported Amendment 1 to guarantee long-term funding for land acquisition.
     
    But there is good news; Senator Thad Altman has filed an amendment to the budget which would bond the funds currently appropriated for Florida Forever. If adopted, Senator Altman’s amendment would authorize $222.6 million in bond proceeds from the Florida Forever Trust Fund for land acquisition through the Florida Forever program, bringing the total allocation for Florida Forever closer to the FCC’s goal.
     
    We need your help to make sure this important amendment is adopted tomorrow.
     

    Please call or email your Senator today and ask them to support Sen. Altman’s amendment restoring much needed funding for Florida Forever. To use our template, click here or see this attachment.

FCC News Brief - February 10, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 @ 10:22am

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 10, 2016

     

    Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “In [budget] bills that lawmakers will hammer out this week in Tallahassee, only a fraction of the $880 million allocated under…Amendment 1…is slotted for conserving new land. Instead, lawmakers divvied up the money to cover salaries…and shifted much of the costs covered by the state’s general fund to the trust. ‘To take existing agency operations historically funded out of the general fund and now shift them over to Amendment 1 was not the intent,’ said Will Abberger…who helped craft the ballot language in 2014…Legislators say…backers told them the money was intended to cover the cost of existing programs, not just purchase and manage new lands…[E]nvironmentalists say…[w]hat matters is what more than 75 percent of voters endorsed- the amendment’s summary and title, ‘Water and Land Conservation- Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida’ conservation and recreation lands.’…This year, lawmakers agreed to carve out at least $200 million for Everglades Restoration, a deal that made Everglades activists happy but split the environmental community after the Everglades Foundation and Audubon Florida stayed quiet on a controversial water bill that sailed through the first week of this year’s session.” Read With conservation money, Florida lawmakers aim to foot other bills

    Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board writes – “ [T]his breakout proposal for the Everglades hardly looks like a precedent-setter. It comes weeks after the Legislature passed a water bill that delays for years any genuine cleanup of Florida’s troubled springs. While some environmentalists objected to that proposal, they…made a calculated move to grab this new pot of money for the Everglades instead. Tradeoffs are part of politics, but in the larger scheme, Gov. Rick Scott and this Legislature have not shown real concern for the environment. Scott asked for less for the Department of Environmental Protection next year than he did for 2016. The Senate’s proposed state budget would continue to reduce the amount of general revenue money going to the environment; those funds are replaced by Amendment 1 money, which was supposed to enhance- not supplant- existing state funding. The House’s proposed budget calls for spending Amendment 1 money on salaries, road repair and to buy a plane. And lawmakers have shown no interest in using Amendment 1 to significantly boost even the most popular programs, from land-buying to springs restoration…[L]awmakers are squandering [Amendment 1] money…as they try to distract the public attention with big-ticket promises for the Everglades.” Read Everglades money could be bad trade

    Isadora Rangel reports for TC Palm – “Sen. Thad Altman filed a measure…to increase money to buy land…The amendment would allow the state to borrow $222.5 million to put into the Florida Forever program, which buys lands for parks and habitat preservation. That’s an increase from $22.2 million currently proposed…The money would come from dollars available through Amendment 1…Altman tried to increase money for Florida Forever during last year’s legislative session but his attempt failed.” Read Altman pushes for more land acquisition money in Senate proposed budget

    Nathaniel Reed writes for the TC Palm – “Billions of gallons of polluted water are flowing down the St. Lucie Canal into the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon. Our citizens are rightly infuriated at the all-too-frequent destruction of our precious natural resources…Forget blaming the Army Corps and the South Florida Water Management District…Let us concentrate on solutions. Excess water from the lake must be flowed south…If our presidential candidates agree that sugar industry price supports are not only outdated but totally unwarranted, land values will rapidly decrease. If Amendment 1 funding is properly allocated…funds will be available for land acquisition and probably for matching federal funds to widen the delivery canal, build the reservoir and assist in correcting the engineering errors in the central Everglades system…The governor should take a leadership role in proposing support for the obvious solutions. There are major issues involved in financing an effort to restore the battered Everglades system, but this state can afford to impose an ‘Everglades Restoration Tax’- it has many different options…” Read Stopping polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee isn’t rocket science

    Devin Henry reports for The Hill – “Two members of Florida’s congressional delegation have launched a bipartisan caucus focused on climate change. Reps. Ted Deutch (D) and Carlos Curbelo (R) announced the formation of the Climate Solutions Caucus on Monday, calling it the ‘first bipartisan task force on climate change established in the U.S. House of Representatives.’ The caucus, the pair said in a statement, will hold meetings to educate members on climate change’s impact on ‘our economy, security, environment and infrastructure,’ as well as possible solutions for it.” Read Two Florida members form bipartisan climate caucus

    Ariane de Voge, Dan Berman, and Kevin Liptak report for CNN – “Reacting to a lawsuit from 29 states, as well as the energy industry, (Supreme Court) justices blocked the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan from going forward while the rule is challenged in court…That a divided Supreme Court stepped in at this juncture to block the program after a lower court declined to do so sends a signal that at least five justices are concerned with some aspect of the plan…Senior administration officials said…they were ‘surprised’ by the high court’s action. One official called the court’s move ‘extraordinary and unprecedented,’ saying it’s rare for the Supreme Court to grant a stay on a rule whose legality hasn’t been reviewed by a lower court. But officials nonetheless expressed confidence in the president’s climate plan moving forward, even as it becomes exceedingly unlikely the litigation process is resolved by the time Obama leaves office.” Read Supreme Court blocks Obama climate change rules

    Arek Sarkissian reports for Naples Daily News – “Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Lee…said he did not understand why SB 318…includes a clause that would toss out bans passed by 64 counties and cities. The Hillsborough County Commission became the latest local government to ban fracking last week…Lee said he respects the decision made by his local commission…but he must make his own decision about whether the state should regulate the process.” Read Fracking bill stalls in Senate as committee chair demands more information

    Brendan Farrington reports for Bradenton Herald – “Carlos Beruff has gone from considering entering the (U.S. Senate) race to likely to get in, said…a Scott media consultant…Lopez-Cantera entered the race last year…As well as serving on Scott’s transition team, Scott has appointed Beruff to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority and the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding…Democrats seeking the seat include U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.” Read Wealthy Bradenton homebuilder Carlos Beruff now likely to enter Florida GOP Senate race

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager


    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at johanna@healthygulf.org.

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at mary.earthethics@cox.net.

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13 – Participate in Save Our Parks, Statewide Day of Action. The Day of Action will include rallies, marches, and other events advocating against private, non-conservation uses in public lands including hunting, cattle grazing, timber harvesting, oil drilling, and more. Click here for more information.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library in Inverness. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    February 28, 1:30pm, Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact education@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 5, 10:00 am – Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for an interactive edible plant walk at PEAR Park in Leesburg. You will get to taste, touch and smell some of the native plants growing in the native plant demonstration garden. Learn which are edible, which have medicinal properties, and which have cultural and historical importance. The event is free for members and $15 for non-members. Click here for more information.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of the Marion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 30, 5:30 pm – Participate in a meet and greet for environmental nonprofit groups in Pensacola. Each speaker will be given approximately 10 minutes to provide information on their group. The public is invited to attend. Please contact Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics, Inc., if you’re interested. Her e-mail is .

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 6, 12:00 pm - April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Reddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at lespierpont@mac.com or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

    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.

    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 our 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 Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com

    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 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 www.floridaconservationcoalition.org

Support Sen. Altman's Amendment to Increase Florida Forever Funding

E-mail sent by Gladys Delgadillo, Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 @ 7:17pm

Dear FCC Members,
 
Tomorrow the Florida Senate will consider Florida’s 2016-2017 state budget. The current budget includes only $22.3 million for the acquisition of vital conservation lands through the highly successful Florida Forever program. At a time when Florida’s population is exploding, it is essential that our state protect its most important natural lands and waters by acquiring these lands outright or by purchasing conservation easements which prevent future development.
 
The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is advocating for the Legislature to return to the traditional $300 million allocation for Florida Forever, only a tiny fraction of which has been funded in recent years. To our dismay, this trend continued even after nearly 75% of those who voted in the 2014 election supported Amendment 1 to guarantee long-term funding for land acquisition.
 
But there is good news; Senator Thad Altman has filed an amendment to the budget which would bond the funds currently appropriated for Florida Forever. If adopted, Senator Altman’s amendment would authorize $222.6 million in bond proceeds from the Florida Forever Trust Fund for land acquisition through the Florida Forever program, bringing the total allocation for Florida Forever closer to the FCC’s goal.
 
We need your help to make sure this important amendment is adopted tomorrow.
 

Please call or email your Senator today and ask them to support Sen. Altman’s amendment restoring much needed funding for Florida Forever. To use our template, click here or see this attachment.

FCC News Brief - February 9, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 @ 9:36am

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 9, 2016

     

     

    Bob Graham writes for the Panama City News Herald – “The Apalachicola River and floodplain, estuary and bay will clearly be adversely affected by the action proposed in the DEIS. Impacts of the proposed action are described in the letter by Dan Tonsmeire, Apalachicola Riverkeeper…During droughts over the past decade, particularly in 2012, the river and floodplain, estuary, and bay suffered tremendously as a result of the Corps operation of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee- Flint (ACF) project, which favored upstream users and denied sufficient river flow to sustain the resources downstream in Florida…The DEIS is inadequate; it does not meet the requirements of NEPA and CEQ.” Read Letter: Army actions will adversely affect Apalach waterways

    The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “The assault on Florida’s park and conservation lands continues…as a new bill introduced under the guise of improving management of state lands proposes using Amendment 1 money for massive water transfer projects and allowing landowners with property adjacent to state-owned lands to buy those state lands in exchange for not developing their existing properties. The legislation – HB 1075 and its companion, SB 1290- seems to be a special-interest solution in search of a public-policy problem…Another part of the bill would change the wording of existing law and allow state lands to be used for conservation or recreational purposes. The change in wording is significant because current law specifies the purpose for which state lands are acquired. Under the proposed change, environmental advocates argue it would potentially open critical conservation and park lands to be converted to recreational uses, such as golf courses- a proposal Gov. Rick Scott floated a few years back before public outcry forced him to back down…Sen. Charlie Dean…can stop this attack on our treasured state parks and conservation lands by refusing to bring it before his panel. We urge Dean to stop this madness and let Florida’s nationally recognized park system remain such and let Amendment 1 do what the voters intended.” Read Another assault on our parks

    Gale Dickert writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “There is no reason to compromise Florida’s scare water supplies to help Big Oil frack…Voters should ask senators why they continue to ignore their constituency and vote for a bill not in Florida’s best interest… ‘It’s all about the money,’ Rep. Slosberg kept saying during a House debate, just before a whopping majority caved to Big Oil, voting in favor of HB 191 on fracking. Some, like Rep. Beshears, had the moral courage to vote no; most did not. Even as representatives yelled ‘yes’ to fracking, resolutions to ban it poured in from Florida counties; now more than 54 percent of Floridians want a ban…The easiest way to stop this train wreck is for Sen. Tom Lee, a smart and fair minded legislator, to shelve this bad bill, giving it the same treatment the bills to ban fracking were given. Tell your senators to listen to their constituents and focus on the huge challenge of restoring Florida’s crippled water supply, rather than voting in more polluting industry.” Read Legislators lack the courage to vote against fracking

    Jeff Burlew reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Industry backed bills that would create regulations around fracking in Florida may have sailed through the House, but they’re facing more scrutiny, if not outright opposition, in the Senate. And it’s not just coming from Democrats…Sen. Darren Soto…said the legislation has stalled in the Senate because of ‘serious questions’ he and other senators have about the impact fracking could have on Florida’s aquifer, the source of the state’s drinking water supply, and the preemption of local decision making.” Read Fracking bills face headwinds in the Senate

    The Star reports – “Experts still don’t understand quite how [fibropapillomatosis] spreads (among endangered sea turtles), or what causes it, though some research has pointed to agricultural runoff, pollution and global warming. As the population of green sea turtles rebounds in and around the Florida Keys, cases of fibropapillomatosis have exploded too…Green sea turtles were first listed as endangered species in 1976, but are now nesting in record numbers- 28,000 nests counted last year in Florida, up from fewer than 500 decades ago. Their status may be changed from ‘endangered’ to merely ‘threatened’ as early as March. While conservationists celebrate these successes, they also lament that the animals’ environment is increasingly polluted and hot, as the oceans absorb most of the warmth from human-driven climate change.” Read Sea turtles with tumors fill Florida hospital

    Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “Brevard County wants to bury its garbage in a dump close to the St. Johns River, a potential drinking-water source for millions of Floridians…Brevard County needs to reverse course. If not, the other government agencies with a say in this plan- and a shared responsibility for stewardship of the area’s vital natural resources- need to stop it. There are modern garbage-disposal methods that minimize environmental and health risks…The tract is near an important rookery and is populated by a variety of wildlife, including crested caracaras, a threatened species of raptors, and bald eagles. Brevard County would excavate the land, cut down trees, fill nearly 200 acres of wetlands and pule up mounds of refuse…Although the county would create new conservation areas to replace what was destroyed, man-made nature often doesn’t work as well as the real thing.” Read Reject Brevard landfill by St. Johns

    Bruch Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “A proposed constitutional amendment backed by utilities is misleading and could force solar energy users to pay more for service from utilities, opponents said in briefs filed this week with the Florida Supreme Court…[T]he opponents also pointed to a Miami Herald report that some who signed petitions for the utility-backed amendment thought they were supporting another measure proposed by environmentalists and Floridians for Solar Choice. ‘The proposed solar amendment has already succeeded in confusing petitioners,’ attorneys for Floridians for Solar Choice wrote in their answer brief.” Read In court briefs, critics argue utility-backed amendment limits solar choice

    Deirdra Funcheon reports for Broward Palm Beach New Times – “Over the years, coastal cities have periodically carried out beach renourishment projects- often to the detriment of marine life, say environmentalists…This type of project is largely self-regulated by the contractor…Porter, a property manager and underwater photographer, says that divers are fighting back by collecting images and data that they hope will halt beach renourishment the next time it is proposed…All these beach renourishment projects are futile anyway, she says. ‘If we’re dealing with sea level rise, you can dump all the sand you want – it’s going to wash away. We understand there are buildings that need to be protected, but we need to find a more sustainable solution. The $55 million that they’re spending to extend these beaches- they should put that money in investing in a permanent solution.” Read Divers Protest Beach Renourishment Project in Broward

     

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager


    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at johanna@healthygulf.org.

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at mary.earthethics@cox.net.

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 9, 12:00 pm – Participate in Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s webinar, “Rights of Nature & Community Rights: What are they? Are they being implemented?” To register (48 hours in advance) and for more information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu.

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13 – Participate in Save Our Parks, Statewide Day of Action. The Day of Action will include rallies, marches, and other events advocating against private, non-conservation uses in public lands including hunting, cattle grazing, timber harvesting, oil drilling, and more. Click here for more information.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library in Inverness. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    February 28, 1:30pm, Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact education@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 5, 10:00 am – Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for an interactive edible plant walk at PEAR Park in Leesburg. You will get to taste, touch and smell some of the native plants growing in the native plant demonstration garden. Learn which are edible, which have medicinal properties, and which have cultural and historical importance. The event is free for members and $15 for non-members. Click here for more information.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of the Marion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 30, 5:30 pm – Participate in a meet and greet for environmental nonprofit groups in Pensacola. Each speaker will be given approximately 10 minutes to provide information on their group. The public is invited to attend. Please contact Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics, Inc., if you’re interested. Her e-mail is mary.earthethics@cox.net.

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 6, 12:00 pm - April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Reddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at lespierpont@mac.com or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

    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.

    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 our 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 Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com

    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 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 www.floridaconservationcoalition.org

Please Oppose SB 1290 and HB 1075

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Monday, February 8th, 2016 @ 4:43pm

  • Dear FCC Members,
     
    Last week, we asked that you write the Legislature in opposition to SB 1290 and HB 1075, and we certainly hope you did. Now, we ask you again to voice your opposition to these bills which propose destructive changes to Florida’s conservation lands policies.  This time, however, we would like to address the Governor for the following reasons:
     
    Many parts of these bills were conceived and offered by the Administration and would result in the degradation of our state parks, preserves, and other lands purchased over the past three decades for the purpose of protecting and conserving our natural areas, water and natural resources, and providing world class recreational and leisure opportunities.
     
    For more than four years the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has persistently sought to dispose of and change the allowed use of conservation lands from what they were acquired for to a lesser protected status. DEP proposed to construct an RV park in Honeymoon Island State Park in 2011; this was rejected by the public. In 2013, DEP launched a statewide program to surplus state conservation land and sell it to the highest bidder; this ill-conceived proposal was withdrawn due to widespread public opposition. A 2015 proposal to lease a portion of Myakka River State Park for cattle grazing was withdrawn due to public opposition.  And a more recent proposal by DEP to allow various commercial and other inconsistent activities in State Parks was also shelved due to public opposition. This session, having failed so far in its attempts to circumvent the public’s wishes to protect state conservation lands, the Department has worked with the legislature to circumvent the clear will of the people by conceiving and supporting the majority of the provisions in SB 1290 and HB 1075.
     
    We have already asked you to tell the legislature to protect our parks, preserves, forests, and wildlife management areas. It is now time to ask the Governor to intervene to make it clear that he does not support this destructive effort and he wants these bills withdrawn by the sponsors. To use our template to write Governor Scott, click here.

    To recapitulate the problems with these bills, SB 1290/HB 1075 threaten Florida’s ability to acquire, preserve and manage state conservation lands and must be withdrawn or amended:

    - Provisions within Section 5 and Section 6 allow the State to surplus and sell state lands when it determines that the land's short-term management goals are not being met, if it is not actively managed by any state agency, or if a management plan has not been completed. Failure to meet short-term management goals, an incomplete management plan, or lack of active management may be a direct result of inadequate land management funding by the Legislature, or other temporary or avoidable situations, and should not be used as an excuse to dispose of conservation lands. Instead, the Legislature should ensure adequate funding for the management of Florida's conservation lands.

    - Another provision within Section 6 directs the Division of State Lands to review all state-owned conservation lands every ten years to determine whether any can be surplused. This is a duplicative and unnecessary provision since each land management plan requires a review for surplus on a rotating basis when the management plan is updated.

    - Language in Section 8 allows private land owners who own land contiguous to state-owned lands to exchange it for the state-owned land, including state park land, if the state is given a permanent conservation easement over both parcels in the exchange. Conservation easements are often less protective of the environment than the management plans for state-owned land, resulting in practices that diminish the conservation values of the lands. Placing state lands in private ownership also reduces the ability of the state to comprehensively manage conservation lands. Finally, this type of exchange will often result in the loss of public access to lands that are currently owned by the state, diminishing the recreational value of the land. This daunting prospect would have a significantly negative impact on such beloved places as Paynes Prairie State Park and Myakka River State Park were they to be placed into private ownership under this provision.

    - A policy change in Section 14 allows money from Florida Forever, the state's premiere land acquisition program, to be used to fund all water resource development hardware, including the construction of treatment, transmission, and distribution facilities. Utilizing Florida Forever funds for the construction of water supply infrastructure is currently prohibited under state law. This change comes on the heels of Floridians overwhelmingly approving Amendment 1 in an effort to restore funding for land acquisition. With billions of dollars needed for water infrastructure projects around the state, this provision could readily exhaust the funds set aside in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, leaving inadequate funding available for acquiring conservation land, and negating the benefits of Amendment 1.

    - Finally, language in Sections 15, 17, 21 and 22 allow state lands to be managed for conservation OR recreational purposes, deleting the requirement that state lands be managed in accordance with the purpose for which they were acquired. This could result in conservation lands being managed solely for recreational purposes, which might include converting natural lands into golf courses and other such inappropriate uses, harming the conservation value of the lands and betraying the original intent of acquiring the lands.

    Please let the Governor and, if you have not yet done so, your legislators know that these bills are unacceptable and ask the Legislature to withdraw them or vote them down.  Ask them to take the time to carefully consider the public’s views and concerns and work with the conservation community and the public to determine if any needs to alter the state’s land acquisition and management policies exist.  We know it is the legislature who makes the decision to pass bills, but we need a clear statement from Governor Scott that he understands that the public does not want their lands tampered with nor Florida Forever dollars spent for infrastructure projects.

     
    To find your legislators, click here. To use our template to write Governor Scott, click here.
     
    The member organizations and individuals that make up the Florida Conservation Coalition are working diligently on this important issue.  But it’s people like you, writing and calling these public officials, who will have the most effect in determining the outcome.

     

    Governor Scott     rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com     (850) 488- 7146

     
     
    Sincerely,
     

    Victoria Tschinkel

     
    Florida Conservation Coalition

Please Oppose SB 1290 and HB 1075

E-mail sent by Gladys Delgadillo, Monday, February 8th, 2016 @ 3:29pm

Dear FCC Members,
 
Last week, we asked that you write the Legislature in opposition to SB 1290 and HB 1075, and we certainly hope you did. Now, we ask you again to voice your opposition to these bills which propose destructive changes to Florida’s conservation lands policies.  This time, however, we would like to address the Governor for the following reasons:
 
Many parts of these bills were conceived and offered by the Administration and would result in the degradation of our state parks, preserves, and other lands purchased over the past three decades for the purpose of protecting and conserving our natural areas, water and natural resources, and providing world class recreational and leisure opportunities.
 
For more than four years the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has persistently sought to dispose of and change the allowed use of conservation lands from what they were acquired for to a lesser protected status. DEP proposed to construct an RV park in Honeymoon Island State Park in 2011; this was rejected by the public. In 2013, DEP launched a statewide program to surplus state conservation land and sell it to the highest bidder; this ill-conceived proposal was withdrawn due to widespread public opposition. A 2015 proposal to lease a portion of Myakka River State Park for cattle grazing was withdrawn due to public opposition.  And a more recent proposal by DEP to allow various commercial and other inconsistent activities in State Parks was also shelved due to public opposition. This session, having failed so far in its attempts to circumvent the public’s wishes to protect state conservation lands, the Department has worked with the legislature to circumvent the clear will of the people by conceiving and supporting the majority of the provisions in SB 1290 and HB 1075.
 
We have already asked you to tell the legislature to protect our parks, preserves, forests, and wildlife management areas. It is now time to ask the Governor to intervene to make it clear that he does not support this destructive effort and he wants these bills withdrawn by the sponsors. To use our template to write Governor Scott, click here.

To recapitulate the problems with these bills, SB 1290/HB 1075 threaten Florida’s ability to acquire, preserve and manage state conservation lands and must be withdrawn or amended:

- Provisions within Section 5 and Section 6 allow the State to surplus and sell state lands when it determines that the land's short-term management goals are not being met, if it is not actively managed by any state agency, or if a management plan has not been completed. Failure to meet short-term management goals, an incomplete management plan, or lack of active management may be a direct result of inadequate land management funding by the Legislature, or other temporary or avoidable situations, and should not be used as an excuse to dispose of conservation lands. Instead, the Legislature should ensure adequate funding for the management of Florida's conservation lands.

- Another provision within Section 6 directs the Division of State Lands to review all state-owned conservation lands every ten years to determine whether any can be surplused. This is a duplicative and unnecessary provision since each land management plan requires a review for surplus on a rotating basis when the management plan is updated.

- Language in Section 8 allows private land owners who own land contiguous to state-owned lands to exchange it for the state-owned land, including state park land, if the state is given a permanent conservation easement over both parcels in the exchange. Conservation easements are often less protective of the environment than the management plans for state-owned land, resulting in practices that diminish the conservation values of the lands. Placing state lands in private ownership also reduces the ability of the state to comprehensively manage conservation lands. Finally, this type of exchange will often result in the loss of public access to lands that are currently owned by the state, diminishing the recreational value of the land. This daunting prospect would have a significantly negative impact on such beloved places as Paynes Prairie State Park and Myakka River State Park were they to be placed into private ownership under this provision.

- A policy change in Section 14 allows money from Florida Forever, the state's premiere land acquisition program, to be used to fund all water resource development hardware, including the construction of treatment, transmission, and distribution facilities. Utilizing Florida Forever funds for the construction of water supply infrastructure is currently prohibited under state law. This change comes on the heels of Floridians overwhelmingly approving Amendment 1 in an effort to restore funding for land acquisition. With billions of dollars needed for water infrastructure projects around the state, this provision could readily exhaust the funds set aside in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, leaving inadequate funding available for acquiring conservation land, and negating the benefits of Amendment 1.

- Finally, language in Sections 15, 17, 21 and 22 allow state lands to be managed for conservation OR recreational purposes, deleting the requirement that state lands be managed in accordance with the purpose for which they were acquired. This could result in conservation lands being managed solely for recreational purposes, which might include converting natural lands into golf courses and other such inappropriate uses, harming the conservation value of the lands and betraying the original intent of acquiring the lands.

Please let the Governor and, if you have not yet done so, your legislators know that these bills are unacceptable and ask the Legislature to withdraw them or vote them down.  Ask them to take the time to carefully consider the public’s views and concerns and work with the conservation community and the public to determine if any needs to alter the state’s land acquisition and management policies exist.  We know it is the legislature who makes the decision to pass bills, but we need a clear statement from Governor Scott that he understands that the public does not want their lands tampered with nor Florida Forever dollars spent for infrastructure projects.

 
To find your legislators, click here. To use our template to write Governor Scott, click here.
 
The member organizations and individuals that make up the Florida Conservation Coalition are working diligently on this important issue.  But it’s people like you, writing and calling these public officials, who will have the most effect in determining the outcome.

 

Governor Scott     rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com     (850) 488- 7146

 
 
Sincerely,
 

Victoria Tschinkel

 
Florida Conservation Coalition
 
 
 
 

FCC News Brief - Feburary 8, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Monday, February 8th, 2016 @ 11:06am

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 8, 2016

     

     

    The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board writes – “[F]racking [is] an aggressive form of oil drilling that could threaten the drinking water supply, damage private property and hurt Florida’s tourist economy…The House sellout to heavy polluters was on full display as it rejected a series of amendments that would have required water testing, imposed tough penalties for damaging spills and given communities a say in whether the activity should be allowed. A companion measure, SB 318, is awaiting action in the Senate Appropriations Committee and committee Chairman Tom Lee…should ensure it never sees the light of day. Fracking is wrong for Florida because the state’s limestone terrain puts underground water sources at risk of contamination…A study last year…found that up to 18,000 gallons of chemicals…are typically injected in each fracking operation. When combined with water…more than 1 million gallons of fluids are typically injected per well. That heavy use would unduly tax Florida’s groundwater resources…Where is the financial argument for the Sunshine State to invest in fossil fuels when clean-energy technology is creating new jobs and a more sustainable future?” Read Fracking bad for Florida

    Devon Vann writes for Florida Today – “What the people want is evident in the fact that 20 counties and 40 cities have already banned [fracking]. In fact, 80 percent of Florida Senators have fracking bans in their districts…Floridians will get the…carcinogens and long-term environmental consequences. Tallahassee lawmakers and a few oil tycoons will split the spoils…Concerned about the effects on Florida’s drinking water? The fracking industry doesn’t share your concern- it has been exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act since 2005…Elsewhere, wastewater has been found to be laced with chemicals such as arsenic, chloride, the known carcinogen benzene as well as naturally occurring radioactive materials such as radon and radium…The wastewater is hazardous to transport and store…[L]egislators’…staff research indicates ‘a significant negative fiscal impact on the state’ (from fracking). ” Read Fracking too hazardous for Florida

    Ray Bellamy writes for Tallahassee Democrat – “Pro-fracking legislation being promoted by GOP lawmakers in our legislature is opposed by counties and communities representing more than half of our state’s people…Public health studies question whether we can carry on this evolving technology without serious danger to our people, livestock, karst geology and stressed sole source aquifer. Prematurity, neurologic damage, drinking water supplies contaminated for future generations, demonstrated decrease in property values for those with well water within a half mile of fracking, boom and bust stresses on community resources- the public seems to get it, along with their city and county politicians…All of these politicos from House and Senate will be up for election this year due to redistricting. Let them know you want them to protect our water and future.” Read Could we face a Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis in Florida?

    Jeff Burlew reports for Tallahassee Democrat – “A Texas oil company’s plans to conduct seismic testing for oil and gas in Calhoun and Gulf counties are on hold because of a legal challenge filed by a Clarksville man (named Voss) worried it will lead to fracking…About a third of the testing zone is located in wetlands…[Voss] also complained production would lead to pollution and increased traffic from heavy vehicles on rural roads…The Gulf County Commission last year approved a ban on fracking, but the Calhoun County Commission opted not to pass one. Representatives of the Neal Land & Timber Company, which owns much of the land where testing would occur, urged commissioners tin Calhoun County to reject a fracking ban.” Read Seismic testing on hold in Gulf, Calhoun counties

    Naples Daily News reports – “An endangered Florida panther found dead…three weeks ago has been ruled a roadkill victim…So far this year, four panthers have died in vehicle collisions, following a record 30 roadkill panthers in 2015.” Read Florida panther found in Okeechobee County ruled a roadkill victim

    Isadora Rangel reports for TC Palm – “None of the four bills U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson filed since 2012 to expedite projects caught in red tape to clean the Everglades and St. Lucie River has progressed in Congress. And it’s not looking good for a fifth bill he filed…three days after Lake Okeechobee discharges started…Congress is supposed to pass the Water Resource Development Act every two years, but it took seven years to pass the last one in 2014. That’s why Nelson and other lawmakers, in the meantime, introduced bills to approve Everglades projects…Gov. Rick Scott could provide a boost by lobbying Congress members on behalf of Nelson’s most recent bill, said Frank Jackalone, Florida staff director of the Sierra Club…Yet Scott is considering running for Nelson’s Senate seat in 2018, so supporting a bill by the Democrat could go against Scott’s political aspirations.” Read Nelson’s Everglades bill has slim chance of passing

    Pine Island Eagle reports – “Sanibel officials say a ‘perfect storm’ of unfortunate circumstances is being felt on local beaches…Lee County Hotel Association president and general manager of the Inns of Sanibel John Lai [said,] ‘The rains didn’t help, the red tide didn’t help and the discharge from the Caloosahatchee River didn’t help. The timing could not have been any worse, either, with this being the peak season…’…City of Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane…called for immediate implementation of a three-point action plan and asked the support of surrounding Mayors…The three points include: Maximizing storage on all private lands currently under contract with the SFWMD; maximize potential storage on public lands within Lee County’ call on the Army Corps of Engineers and the SFWMD to exercise their operational flexibility to hold more water in the Lake.” Read ‘Perfect storm’: Stormy reaction to Lake O discharges

    Scott Calahan reports for Daily Commercial – “An Ocala company wants to sink a well and pump nearly a half-million gallons of water a day…and sell it to a Leesburg bottling company…The company owns about 10 acres…that contains what has been called Fern Spring and Heart Spring...SWR Properties is seeking to pump 496,000 gallons of water a day for 2- years – 4,000 less than the 500,000-gallon threshold needed to schedule a public meeting on the permit application…Arlene Smith, a resident of The Villages, [wrote]… ‘If we have such an abundance (of water in the ground), why do we have water restrictions?...We need our own water. To sell this precious resource is sinful.’” Read Permit seeks 500k gallons a day from aquifer

     

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager


    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at johanna@healthygulf.org.

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at mary.earthethics@cox.net.

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 8, 1:30 pm – Attend Manatee Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee Meeting at the Bradenton Library (1301 Barcarrota Blvd.) in Bradenton. Discuss local environmental issues and plan priorities for 2016. Contact Sandra Ripberger for more information at (941) 794- 3878 or sandrarip@yahoo.com

    February 9, 12:00 pm – Participate in Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s webinar, “Rights of Nature & Community Rights: What are they? Are they being implemented?” To register (48 hours in advance) and for more information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu.

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13 – Participate in Save Our Parks, Statewide Day of Action. The Day of Action will include rallies, marches, and other events advocating against private, non-conservation uses in public lands including hunting, cattle grazing, timber harvesting, oil drilling, and more. Click here for more information.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library in Inverness. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    February 28, 1:30pm, Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact education@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 5, 10:00 am – Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for an interactive edible plant walk at PEAR Park in Leesburg. You will get to taste, touch and smell some of the native plants growing in the native plant demonstration garden. Learn which are edible, which have medicinal properties, and which have cultural and historical importance. The event is free for members and $15 for non-members. Click here for more information.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of the Marion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 30, 5:30 pm – Participate in a meet and greet for environmental nonprofit groups in Pensacola. Each speaker will be given approximately 10 minutes to provide information on their group. The public is invited to attend. Please contact Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics, Inc., if you’re interested. Her e-mail is mary.earthethics@cox.net.

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 6, 12:00 pm - April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Reddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at lespierpont@mac.com or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

    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.

    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).

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    Please send all suggestions, comments and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com

    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 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 www.floridaconservationcoalition.org

FCC News Brief - February 6, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Saturday, February 6th, 2016 @ 12:00pm

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 6, 2016

     

     

    Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “The Senate’s budget chief, Sen. Tom Lee, said…he is putting the bill to prevent local governments from imposing regulations on fracking…on hold until the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, which he believes has been absent from the contentious discussion, is prepared to provide some ‘honest answers.’…The Senate bill is next scheduled for a vote before the Senate Appropriations Committee which Lee chairs…Lee’s home county of Hillsborough…passed a resolution urging the legislature to remove the local preemption language from the bill and remove the provision that shields disclosure of the chemicals used… ‘We want credible, scientific responses to questions. Not special interest responses. And so I think a lot of people have concerns about a number of differences in the bill as it relates to our substrate made of limerock—versus where fracking is going on in other places of the country—as well as the preemption language…’ He said he expects his committee ‘will ultimately agenda the bill’ but ‘we will continue to work with the Department of Environmental Protection to try to get some straight answers.’” Read Sen. Tom Lee says he’s putting brakes on fracking bill until he gets ‘honest answers’ from regulators

    Jessica Weiss reports for Miami New Times – “Twenty-seven counties and 41 cities have already banned fracking in Florida…Activists have spent this week pressing Senate Republicans to vote against the bill…Sen. Anitere Flores, from Kendall, came out against the bill…But the oil and gas industry is also flooding the coffers of state lawmakers…As part of the Florida fracking legislation, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection would not have to disclose chemicals used in fracking that are deemed trade secrets, which means the public would likely not have access to information about the chemicals or carcinogens being pumped into the ground.” Read Activists Push Miami Republicans to Kill Plan to Frack in Florida

    Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “The sponsor of a House bill (HB 7007) that was amended…to prohibit local governments from banning foam plates and other foam containers to protect wildlife said…that a compromise was reached with cities and counties…In 2015, Miami Beach expanded an ordinance restricting use of foam containers to include a ban on their sale or use in stores and restuarants…[The] amendment…[allows] local ordinances adopted before Jan. 1 to remain in effect. Local governments can also restrict the use of polystyrene on public property or local government functions under the compromise language. But Holly Parker, representing the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental group for surfers, said… ‘Polystyrene foam clogs storm drains, is rarely recycled, frequently littered and never biodegrades,’... ‘Regardless of the amendment, this remains a bad bill that takes away a local government’s ability to protect their coasts and communities.’…The Senate bill companion, SB 1010, does not contain the preemption language and has one more committee stop.” Read House sponsor reaches compromise with cities on foam container bans

    Christopher Curry reports for The Gainesville Sun – “Federal regulators have approved the controversial Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline project, which will cut through conservation areas, under rivers and near springs in north central Florida…John S. Quarterman, president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, which fought an unsuccessful legal battle against a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit for the pipeline, said the FERC permit will not end the fight. ‘In fact, the opposition is increasing…the number of groups and individuals is growing,’ he said. Quarterman noted that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not issued a permit allowing for construction through wetlands…” Read Feds OK Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline through north central Florida

    Jim Saunders reports for the News Service of Florida – “Sen. Joe Negron, a powerful Stuart Republican who is slated to become the Senate president in November, offered an amendment to the Senate’s proposed budget to expand a water-storage project…But as the Senate Appropriations Committee considered the issue, Negron’s proposal drew opposition from committee Chairman Tom Lee,…Majority Leader Bill Galvano,…Rules Chairman David Simmons…and General Government Appropriations Chairman Alan Hays…who oversees environmental funding. It also faced opposition from Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is slated to serve as appropriations chairman when Negron becomes president, and Sen. Rene Garcia…who oversees the health budget…Negron proposed shifting $6.75 million of the money from a fund that is used for state park facility improvements. Critics of the amendment said they were not opposed to the water-storage project- but wanted to look for another source of money to tap.” Read Water Projects Splits Senate GOP Leaders

    James Rosen reports for Star-Telegram – “Sen. Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor…to launch a fierce assault against a legislative initiative to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by providing states huge financial incentives to increase energy exploration.” Read Bill Nelson blasts proposal to allow offshore drilling near Florida coast

    International Dark-Sky Association shares – “Dark skies have rapidly vanished in the eastern United States, leaving very few locations relatively untouched by the effects of artificial light at night. The need to identify and preserve these places is increasingly important for everyone dependent on the natural nighttime environment, from wildlife to stargazers. IDA has recognized the first such protected dark location in the…state of Florida…Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park…” Read Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park Named Florida’s First Dark Sky Place

    Kris Sarri writes for USDA Blog – “President Obama is committed to passing on America’s public lands and waters to future generations in better shape than we found them. That’s why he is proposing full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, and pursuing permanent authorization in annual mandatory funding for the Fund’s programs beginning in 2018.” Read Investing in Our Public Lands: The President’s Proposal to Fully Fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund

     

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager


    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at johanna@healthygulf.org.

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at mary.earthethics@cox.net.

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 6, 9:00 am- Attend Fire in the Florida Ecosystem, a lecture and demonstration of how fire is important to Florida’s natural habitats, presented by Kevin Main, Land Manager at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, in Venus. Meet at the Learning Center. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact kmain@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x253.

    February 6, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Belleview Branch, Marion County 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net.

    February 6, 4:30 pm – Celebrate the first designated International Dark-Sky Park in Florida: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park in Okeechobee/Osceola Counties with live music, face painting, coffee, and cake. Find out more information here.

    February 8, 1:30 pm – Attend Manatee Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee Meeting at the Bradenton Library (1301 Barcarrota Blvd.) in Bradenton. Discuss local environmental issues and plan priorities for 2016. Contact Sandra Ripberger for more information at (941) 794- 3878 or sandrarip@yahoo.com

    February 9, 12:00 pm – Participate in Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s webinar, “Rights of Nature & Community Rights: What are they? Are they being implemented?” To register (48 hours in advance) and for more information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu.

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13 – Participate in Save Our Parks, Statewide Day of Action. The Day of Action will include rallies, marches, and other events advocating against private, non-conservation uses in public lands including hunting, cattle grazing, timber harvesting, oil drilling, and more. Click here for more information.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library in Inverness. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    February 28, 1:30pm, Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact education@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 5, 10:00 am – Join the Florida Wildflower Foundation for an interactive edible plant walk at PEAR Park in Leesburg. You will get to taste, touch and smell some of the native plants growing in the native plant demonstration garden. Learn which are edible, which have medicinal properties, and which have cultural and historical importance. The event is free for members and $15 for non-members. Click here for more information.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of the Marion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 30, 5:30 pm – Participate in a meet and greet for environmental nonprofit groups in Pensacola. Each speaker will be given approximately 10 minutes to provide information on their group. The public is invited to attend. Please contact Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics, Inc., if you’re interested. Her e-mail is mary.earthethics@cox.net.

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 6, 12:00 pm - April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Reddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at lespierpont@mac.com or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

    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.

    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).

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    Please send all suggestions, comments and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com

    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Floridas land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.   

    For more information on the FCC visit www.floridaconservationcoalition.org

Martin County Passes Resolution Requesting Amendment 1 Funding for Land Acquisition in Florida

E-mail sent by Gladys Delgadillo, Friday, February 5th, 2016 @ 6:12pm

Dear FCC Members,

With the Florida Conservation Coalition’s encouragement, Martin County has adopted a resolution (attached) urging the Florida Legislature to allocate $300 million annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Amendment 1 funds) to the Florida Forever program for conservation land acquisition. This resolution is an important step toward protecting Florida’s natural areas and the vast natural resources and economic benefits they provide. We applaud Martin County’s accomplishment and urge other counties to follow in its footsteps.

Sincerely,
Estus Whitfield
Florida Conservation Coalition

Oppose State Lands SB 1290 (Sen. W. Simpson)/HB 1075 (Rep. Caldwell)

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Friday, February 5th, 2016 @ 3:22pm

  • Oppose State Lands SB 1290 (Sen. W. Simpson)/HB 1075 (Rep. Caldwell)



    Dear FCC Members,

    Despite your calls and emails, Senate Bill 1290 will be heard in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee on Tuesday, February 9th, at 1:30 p.m.

    Please call and write the members of this committee (see below) and ask them to vote no on SB 1290. To use our template, click here.

    The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee is the first of three committee stops for SB 1290. HB 1075 has only one committee stop left, State Affairs, and it has not yet been placed on the agenda for that committee.



    About SB 1290/HB 1075:

    Florida’s protected state lands, purchased over the past three decades via the wildly popular Florida Forever program and its predecessor programs, are under attack. The Governor and Legislature are planning to sell conservation lands and are promoting changes in management that are detrimental to Florida’s wildlife and waters. In addition, this legislation would gut funding for land conservation by allowing Florida Forever funds to be spent on local water projects, instead of acquiring land and development rights as intended. We must stop this bad bill now!

    The following provisions in SB 1290/HB 1075 threaten Florida’s ability to acquire, preserve and manage state conservation lands:

    - Section 5 and Section 6 allow the State to surplus and sell state lands when it determines that the land's short-term management goals are not being met, if it is not actively managed by any state agency, or if a management plan has not been completed. Failure to meet short-term management goals, an incomplete management plan, or lack of active management may be a direct result of inadequate land management funding by the Legislature, or other temporary or avoidable situations, and should not be used as an excuse to dispose of conservation lands. Instead, the Legislature should ensure adequate funding for the management of Florida's conservation lands.

    - Section 6 also directs the Division of State Lands to review all state-owned conservation lands every ten years to determine whether any can be surlused. This is a duplicative and unnecessary provision since each land management plan requires a review for surplus on a roating basis when the management plan is updated.

    - Section 8 allows private land owners who own land contiguous to state-owned lands to exchange it for the state-owned land, including state park land, if the state is given a permanent conservation easement over both parcels in the exchange. Conservation easements are often less protective of the environment than the management plans for state-owned land, resulting in practices that diminish the conservation values of the lands. Placing state lands in private ownership also reduces the ability of the state to comprehensively manage conservation lands. Finally, this type of exchange will often result in the loss of public access to lands that are currently owned by the state, diminishing the recreational value of the land. This daunting prospect would have a significantly negative impact on such beloved places as Paynes Prairie State Park and Myakka River State Park were they to be placed into private ownership under this provision.

    - Section 14 allows money from Florida Forever, the state's premiere land acquisition program, to be used to fund all water resource development hardware, including the construction of treatment, transmission, and distribution facilities. Utilizing Florida Forever funds for the socnstruction of water supply infrastructure is currently prohibited under state law. This change comes on the heels of Floridians overwhelmingly approving Amendment 1 in an effort to restore funding for land aquisition. With billions of dollars needed for local water infrastructure projects around the state, this provision could readily exhaust the funds set aside in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, leaving inadequate funding available for acquiring conservation land, and negating the benefits of Amendment 1.

    - Sections 15, 17, 21 and 22 allow state lands to be managed for conservation OR
     recreational purposes, deleting the requirement that state lands be managed in accordance with the purpose for which they were acquired. This could result in conservation lands being managed solely for recreational purposes, which might include converting natural lands into golf courses and other such inappropriate uses, harming the conservation value of the lands and betraying the original intent of acquiring the lands.

     

    If you love Florida's state lands, speak up for them today. Call or email the members of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (see below) and ask them to oppose SB 1290! To use our template, clickhere.




    Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee Members


    Charles Dean

    Dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov  

    (850) 487-5005

    Wilton Simpson

    Simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov

    (850) 487-5018

    Thad Altman

    Altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov  

    (850) 487-5016

    Greg Evers

    Evers.greg.web@flsenate.gov

    (850) 487-5002

    Alan Hays

    Hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov  

    (850) 487-5011

    Travis Hutson

    Hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov  

    (850) 487-5006

    David Simmons

    Simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov

    (850) 487-5010

    Christopher L. Smith

    Smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov  

    (850) 487-5031

    Darren Soto

    Soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov  

    (850) 487-5014

     
       
         

    Thank you, as always, for your work. Without direct contact by voters, the legislators will only be speaking with the special interests promoting these terrible changes.

    Sincerely,

    Estus Whitfield

    Florida Conservation Coalition



Oppose State Lands SB 1290 (Sen. W. Simpson)/HB 1075 (Rep. Caldwell)

E-mail sent by Gladys Delgadillo, Friday, February 5th, 2016 @ 12:57pm

Dear FCC Members,

Despite your calls and emails, Senate Bill 1290 will be heard in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee on Tuesday, February 9th, at 1:30 p.m.

Please call and write the members of this committee (see below) and ask them to vote no on SB 1290. To use our template, click here.

The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee is the first of three committee stops for SB 1290. HB 1075 has only one committee stop left, State Affairs, and it has not yet been placed on the agenda for that committee.



About SB 1290/HB 1075:

Florida’s protected state lands, purchased over the past three decades via the wildly popular Florida Forever program and its predecessor programs, are under attack. The Governor and Legislature are planning to sell conservation lands and are promoting changes in management that are detrimental to Florida’s wildlife and waters. In addition, this legislation would gut funding for land conservation by allowing Florida Forever funds to be spent on local water projects, instead of acquiring land and development rights as intended. We must stop this bad bill now!

The following provisions in SB 1290/HB 1075 threaten Florida’s ability to acquire, preserve and manage state conservation lands:

- Section 5 and Section 6 allow the State to surplus and sell state lands when it determines that the land's short-term management goals are not being met, if it is not actively managed by any state agency, or if a management plan has not been completed. Failure to meet short-term management goals, an incomplete management plan, or lack of active management may be a direct result of inadequate land management funding by the Legislature, or other temporary or avoidable situations, and should not be used as an excuse to dispose of conservation lands. Instead, the Legislature should ensure adequate funding for the management of Florida's conservation lands.

- Section 6 also directs the Division of State Lands to review all state-owned conservation lands every ten years to determine whether any can be surlused. This is a duplicative and unnecessary provision since each land management plan requires a review for surplus on a roating basis when the management plan is updated.

- Section 8 allows private land owners who own land contiguous to state-owned lands to exchange it for the state-owned land, including state park land, if the state is given a permanent conservation easement over both parcels in the exchange. Conservation easements are often less protective of the environment than the management plans for state-owned land, resulting in practices that diminish the conservation values of the lands. Placing state lands in private ownership also reduces the ability of the state to comprehensively manage conservation lands. Finally, this type of exchange will often result in the loss of public access to lands that are currently owned by the state, diminishing the recreational value of the land. This daunting prospect would have a significantly negative impact on such beloved places as Paynes Prairie State Park and Myakka River State Park were they to be placed into private ownership under this provision.

- Section 14 allows money from Florida Forever, the state's premiere land acquisition program, to be used to fund all water resource development hardware, including the construction of treatment, transmission, and distribution facilities. Utilizing Florida Forever funds for the socnstruction of water supply infrastructure is currently prohibited under state law. This change comes on the heels of Floridians overwhelmingly approving Amendment 1 in an effort to restore funding for land aquisition. With billions of dollars needed for local water infrastructure projects around the state, this provision could readily exhaust the funds set aside in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, leaving inadequate funding available for acquiring conservation land, and negating the benefits of Amendment 1.

- Sections 15, 17, 21 and 22 allow state lands to be managed for conservation OR
 recreational purposes, deleting the requirement that state lands be managed in accordance with the purpose for which they were acquired. This could result in conservation lands being managed solely for recreational purposes, which might include converting natural lands into golf courses and other such inappropriate uses, harming the conservation value of the lands and betraying the original intent of acquiring the lands.

 

If you love Florida's state lands, speak up for them today. Call or email the members of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (see below) and ask them to oppose SB 1290! To use our template, click here.




Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee Members


Charles Dean

Dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov  

(850) 487-5005

Wilton Simpson

Simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov

(850) 487-5018

Thad Altman

Altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov  

(850) 487-5016

Greg Evers

Evers.greg.web@flsenate.gov

(850) 487-5002

Alan Hays

Hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov  

(850) 487-5011

Travis Hutson

Hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov  

(850) 487-5006

David Simmons

Simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov

(850) 487-5010

Christopher L. Smith

Smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov  

(850) 487-5031

Darren Soto

Soto.darren.web@flsenate.gov  

(850) 487-5014

 
   
     

Thank you, as always, for your work. Without direct contact by voters, the legislators will only be speaking with the special interests promoting these terrible changes.

Sincerely,

Estus Whitfield

Florida Conservation Coalition

FCC News Brief - February 5, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Friday, February 5th, 2016 @ 9:10am

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 5, 2016

     

     

    The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “Floridians saw six years ago what happens when their well-being is put at risk for the sake of oil and gas industry profits. But rather than learn from the mistakes of the BP oil spill, state lawmakers seem determined to repeat them. And this time, instead of polluting the Gulf of Mexico, the drilling practice being considered could poison our drinking water supply…The House rejected amendments to [HB 191] that would have required the disclosure of cancer-causing chemicals used in fracking and monitoring of the practice’s effect on pregnant women. Worse yet, [HB 191 and SB 318] would prohibit local municipalities from imposing their own bans…Dozens of cities and counties have already passed resolutions banning fracking or urging the Legislature to do so…Protests…across the state…showed widespread concern about the dangers of fracking…The oil and gas industry contributed at least $443,000 to the political committees of top Republicans since the last election…The top contributor seeks a permit for fracking in Naples…Florida’s hydrology and geology make it particularly prone to the dangers of Fracking…The potential costs of fracking far outweigh oil and gas industry profits.” Read Florida should ban fracking

    Jonathan Petramala reports for WTSP – “ ‘We all need to call Senator Lee, he chairs the appropriations committee, and tell him not to bring [SB 318] up,’ said Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility…Senate Bill 318 is in the appropriations committee. Opponents say the bill is a senate version of pro-fracking legislation…A similar bill passed in the House last week…Protests have been organized throughout the state since that bill passed in the House.” Read Activists protest fracking in Florida

    Isadora Rangel reports for the TC Palm – “HB 1361 eliminates state review of new Developments of Regional Impact – subdivisions so large they could affect roads and other public facilities in multiple counties – as long as they are compatible with a local comprehensive plan…Sponsor Rep. Mike LaRosa…made several changes to the legislation…One of them gives local governments a say when a developer wants to make changes to a DRI’s approved land use that would cause more traffic or any impact to public facilities…Ryan Smart, president of the conservation group 1,000 Friends of Florida, was pleased with the changes to the bill. But he’s still concerned about eliminating the state review of large developments because it doesn’t give neighboring communities a say on a project that affects them…The House Local Government Affairs Subcommittee approved HB 1361 unanimously…A similar Senate version, SB 1190, cleared a committee last week.” Read Bill relaxes development regulations

    Karl Fortier reports for Fox 4 – “Contact between bears and people have been increasing, according to Florida Fish & Wildlife officials. That’s despite a controversial hunt in October 2015, held in an attempt to stabilize Florida’s growing black bear population… ‘We think that’s primarily due to loss of habitat,’ said Amber Crooks, of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples. ‘We’ve been seeing a lot of habitat being eaten up by development.’…Crooks recommends following FWC’s advice: secure your trash in locked containers, and avoid leaving pet food in your yard or lanai-bears can easily crash through the screen. ‘Because if a bear is attracted to their yard, due to bird feeders or trash or pet food, that bear could become a habituated nuisance bear,’ Crooks said.” Read FWC: nuisance bear calls still common after bear hunt

    Ben Brasch reports for News Press – “Wildlife officials…recovered the second dead panther carcass this year from the roads of Lee County.” Read 2nd panther found dead in Lee this year, 5th in Southwest Florida

    Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “A bipartisan group led by Florida’s U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings and Mario Diaz-Balart introduced bills…intended to green-light Everglades restoration projects by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…Their new proposal would allow the Corps to pursue the $1.9 billion Central Everglades Planning Project, which is designed to direct water flow away from Lake Okeechobee or the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, and into the Everglades…Usually projects such as CEPP would be included in a broader water resources bill Congress passes every few years, but this legislation would allow it- and any other project the Corps clears in the next five years- to immediately begin moving forward, Nelson’s office stated.” Read Bill Nelson, Alcee Hastings, Mario Diaz-Balart Introduce Everglades Bills

    Puneet Kollipara reports for Science – “Analysts have long argued that nations aiming to use wind and solar power to curb emissions from fossil fuel burning would first have to invest heavily in new technologies to store electricity produced by these intermittent sources…But a study…suggests that the United States could, at least in theory, use new high-voltage power lines to move renewable power across the nation, and essentially eliminate the need to add new storage capacity. This improved national grid, based on existing technologies, could enable utilities to cut power-sector carbon dioxide emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2030 without boosting power prices, researchers report…in Nature Climate Change…The…hurdle to realizing the study’s vision of a national grid…may be persuading policymakers, utilities investors, and landowners that it’s a good idea, says Susa Tierney, a former U.S. assistant secretary of energy under President Clinton who’s currently an energy consultant at the Analysis Group in Boston.” Read Better power lines would help U.S. supercharge renewable energy, study suggests

    Chad Gillis reports for News Press – “Wetlands...[are] some of the most valuable lands in Florida: They filter our drinking water, provide wildlife habitat and protect coastal areas from the devastating effects of hurricanes and tsunamis. But these systems are increasingly being lost to development, and they need more protection here in the Sunshine State and around the world.” Read Scientists: Wetlands need protection

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager



    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at johanna@healthygulf.org.

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at mary.earthethics@cox.net.

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 6, 9:00 am- Attend Fire in the Florida Ecosystem, a lecture and demonstration of how fire is important to Florida’s natural habitats, presented by Kevin Main, Land Manager at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, in Venus. Meet at the Learning Center. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact kmain@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x253.

    February 6, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Belleview Branch, Marion County 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net.

    February 8, 1:30 pm – Attend Manatee Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee Meeting at the Bradenton Library (1301 Barcarrota Blvd.) in Bradenton. Discuss local environmental issues and plan priorities for 2016. Contact Sandra Ripberger for more information at (941) 794- 3878 or sandrarip@yahoo.com

    February 9, 12:00 pm – Participate in Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s webinar, “Rights of Nature & Community Rights: What are they? Are they being implemented?” To register (48 hours in advance) and for more information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu.

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library in Inverness. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    February 28, 1:30pm, Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact education@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of the Marion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 6, 12:00 pm - April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Reddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at lespierpont@mac.com or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

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    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.

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    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Floridas land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.   

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2016 Legislative Session Bill Summaries, February 4, 2016

E-mail sent by Gladys Delgadillo, Thursday, February 4th, 2016 @ 1:53pm

2016 Legislative Session Bill Summaries, February 4, 2016

 
Note:  This is a summary of pending legislation, and is provided as a service of the Florida Conservation Coalition to our members.  To date, the FCC has identified the top pieces of legislation as priorities.

 
 

Priority Legislation

 
SB 552 (Sen. Dean) / HB 7005 (Rep. Caldwell): FCC sent an action alert on this bill requesting amendments be made to strengthen the bill. SB 552 was passed by the Senate and the House without amendments. An FCC letter requesting a veto of the bill, signed by Senator Graham and several environmental organizations, stated that this legislation leaves the people, businesses, and environment of Florida unprepared to meet the water challenges of the 21st century. It urged Governor Scott to veto this bill, send it back to the Legislature, and ask them to send him a bill that focuses more on water conservation and providing stronger mechanisms for controlling pollution at its sources now.

Current Status: Governor Scott signed SB 552 into law on January 21, 2016.

 
SB 1290 (Sen. W. Simpson)/ HB 1075 (Rep. Caldwell): These bills threaten Florida’s ability to acquire, preserve and manage state conservation lands.

The following provisions in these bills are of greatest concern:

- Section 5 and Section 6 allow the State to surplus and sell state lands when it determines that the land's short-term management goals are not being met, if it is not actively manageed by any state agency, or if a management plan has not been completed. Failure to meet short-term management goals, an incomplete management plan, or lack of active management may be a direct result of inadequate land management funding by the Legislature, or other temporary or avoidable situations, and should not be used as an excuse to dispose of conservation lands. Instead, the Legislature should ensure adequate funding for the management of Florida's conservation lands.

- Section 6 also directs the Division of State Lands to review all state-owned conservation lands every ten years to determine whether any can be surplused. This is a duplicative and unnecessary provision since each land management plan requires a review for surplus on a roating basis when the management plan is updated.

- Section 8 allows private land owners who own land contiguous to state-owned lands to exchange it for the state-owned land, including state park land, if the state is given a permanent conservation easement over both parcels in the exchange. Conservation easements are often less protective of the environment than the management plans for state-owned land, resulting in practices that diminish the conservation values of the lands. Placing state lands in private ownership also reduces the ability of the state to comprehensively manage conservation lands. Finally, this type of exchange will often result in the loss of public access to lands that are currently owned by the state, diminishing the recreational value of the land. This daunting prospect would have a significantly negative impact on such beloved places as Paynes Prairie State Park and Myakka River State Park were they to be placed into private ownership under this provision.

- Section 14 allows money from Florida Forever, the state's premiere land acquisition program, to be used to fund all water resource development hardward, including the construction of treatment, transmission, and distribution facilities. Utilizing Florida Forever funds for the construction of water supply infrastructure is currently prohibited under state law. This change comes on the heels of Floridians overwhelmingly approving Amendment 1 in an effort to restore funding for land acquisition. With billions of dollars needed for local water infrastructure projects around the state, this provision could readily exhaust the funds set aside in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, leaving inadequate funding available for acquiring conservation land, and negating the benefits of Amendment 1.

- Section 15, 17, 21, and 22 allow state lands to be managed for conservation OR recreational purposes, deleting the requirement that state lands be managed in accordance with the purpose for which they were acquired. This could result in conservation lands being managed solely for recreational purposes, which might include converting natural lands into golf courses and other such inappropriate uses, harming the conservation value of the lands and betraying the original intent of acquiring the lands.

Current Status: HB 1075 has one committee stop left in the House. SB 1290 has not been placed on the agenda for its first Senate committee.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; Appropriations

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee (Passed); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (Passed); State Affairs Committee

 
Environmental Appropriations

In 2014, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 1 to ensure dedicated funding for managing and acquiring conservation lands. Following the disappointing funding allocations for environmental priorities such as land acquisition and springs protection in the 2015 Legislative Session, the FCC will be closely monitoring the appropriations process and funding proposals in 2016. This year, the FCC is asking the Florida Legislature to allocate $300 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Amendment 1 dollars) to the Florida Forever program for land acquisition. The FCC is actively working with counties across Florida, asking them to pass resolutions that support this request.

Appropriations could be shaped by several bills discussed below. SB 1168/HB989 would dedicate $200 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF), or 25% of the total amount in the LATF, to Everglades restoration. SB1290/ HB1075 would allow Florida Forever funds to be used for construction of water treatment, transmission, and distribution facilities. To date, no bills have been filed guaranteeing funding for the Florida Forever program or land conservation and acquisition outside of the Everglades.

 
 

Other Environmental Legislation of Interest

 
Water

 
SB 1400 (Sen. Gibson)/ HB 1159 (Rep. Antone): These bills create the Water Oversight and Planning Board. The Board is authorized to oversee regional water supply and water quality planning, flood protection planning, and environmental restoration. The board includes two members appointed by the Governor, several industry-minded members, and only one representative from an environmental organization. The stated purposes of this bill are basic functions of the water management districts. This board would appear to replace or override the authority of the Districts and further weaken the autonomy and independence of the water management districts.

Current Status: Not on agenda for any committees.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; Appropriations

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

 
SB 658 (Sen. Evers)/ HB 851 (Rep. Drake): Legislation banning the land-spreading of waste material from septic tanks was passed in 2010. These bills repeal that ban on the land application of septage, allowing nutrient pollution from septic tanks to continue to spread into our waterways.

Current Status: HB 851 has passed all House committees and has been added to the Second Reading calendar on the House floor. SB 658 has not been placed on a Senate committee agenda.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Health Policy; Fiscal Policy

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee (Passed); State Affairs Committee (Passed)

 
SB 318 (Sen. Richter)/ HB 191 (Rep. Rodrigues): Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a type of “high pressure well stimulation” (HPWS) that utilizes high pressure, significant amounts of fresh water, and potentially hazardous chemicals to fracture the underground strata and increase production and recovery of oil and gas. Due to Florida’s geology, several other types of well stimulation techniques will also be used in this state. According to these bills, the definition of HPWS does not apply when rock is incidentally fractured by a well stimulation treatment, yet, by definition, HPWS is a well stimulation treatment that fractures rock.

These bills provide funding and require a study regarding HPWS in Florida, require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop rules for regulating HPWS, and impose a moratorium on HPWS permits until the study is complete and the rules have been ratified.  The bills also allow well operators to withhold information on the chemicals they’ve used in their operations for 60 days after the operation and then explicitly prevent public disclosure of many of these chemicals. Additionally, these bills pre-empt local governments from banning any well stimulation treatments, even if they have existing bans in place.

These bills are very controversial; they are opposed by several conservation organizations, local governments, and media, and supported by the petroleum industry.

Current Status: The House passed HB 191, with amendments, on 1/27/2016 by a 73-45 vote.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation (Passed); Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (Passed); Appropriations

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resource Subcommittee (Passed); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (Passed); State Affairs Committee (Passed)

 
Conservation

 
SB 570 (Sen. Dean): This bill eliminates state park entrance fees for one year. $27.3 million would be allocated to the State Park Trust Fund within the DEP to fund state parks for one year.

Current Status: There is no companion bill for SB 570 in the House.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation (Passed); Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (Passed); Appropriations.

 
Growth Management

 
SB 7000 (Sen. Simpson): Development projects that impact communities outside the jurisdiction of the local government which approves the project must currently go through the “state coordinated review process.” This bill would eliminate this requirement for new projects if the land use proposed by the developer is consistent with the existing comprehensive plan and zoning requirements of the approving municipality.

Current Status: This bill has passed through all of its committee stops in the Senate. It does not have a companion bill in the House.

Senate Referrals: Community Affairs (Passed); Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development (Passed); Fiscal Policy (Passed)

 
SB 1190 (Sen. Diaz de la Portilla)/ HB 1361(Rep. Mike La Rosa): These bills originally allowed existing Developments of Regional Impact (DRI) to change their plans without approval by the Department of Economic Opportunity or the applicable local government. Additionally, these bills reduce the acreage required for a development to qualify as a Sector Plan.

Two positive changes these bills were approved by the House and Senate. The first protects the ability of local governments to decide whether to approve or deny changes to existing DRIs that seek to reduce density, height or intensity. The second requires that land use changes to an essentially built out DRI must be approved by the local government and that the developer must demonstrate that the exchange will not result in a net increase in impacts to public facilities.

Current Status: SB 1190 has two remaining committee stops and HB 1361 has one final committee stop.

Senate Referrals: Community Affairs (Passed); Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development; Fiscal Policy

House Referrals: Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee (Passed); Local Government Affairs Subcommittee (Passed); Economic Affairs Committee

 
SB 584 (Sen. Brandes)/ HB 929 (Rep. Ahern): These bills provide matching grants to local governments for projects that would reduce flood hazard risks. It also authorizes the Florida Communities Trust to take a leadership role over flood mitigation projects and allows the Trust to acquire and dispose of real and personal property or specified interest to reduce flood risk when necessary.

A concern with this bill, as originally filed, was that it could allow for increased funding of coastal armoring projects that would harm coastal habitats and threaten endangered sea turtle nesting sites. The bill has been amended to only allow the development of natural or green infrastructure which eliminates this concern.

The House essentially stripped all policy and funding from HB 929 before passing it in the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.

Current Status: Neither bill is on a committee agenda.

Senate Referrals: Community Affairs (Passed); Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development (Passed); Appropriations

House Referrals: Insurance & Banking Subcommittee (Passed); Economic Affairs Committee

 
Regional Environmental Financing

 
SB 770 (Sen. Simpson)/ HB 447 (Rep. Raschein): These bills, known as the “Florida Keys Stewardship Act,” provide funding mechanisms for projects to protect the Florida Keys including land acquisition, water quality improvement projects, alternative water supply projects, and projects which mitigate the negative impacts of new development on hurricane evacuation times.

Current Status: Neither bill is on a committee agenda.

Senate Referrals: Community Affairs (Passed); Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; Appropriations

House Referrals: Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee (Passed); Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

 
SB 1168 (Sen. Negron)/ HB 989 (Rep. Harrell): These bills state that either 25% or $200 million of funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, whichever quantity is smaller, will be provided for projects in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Projects that reduce harmful water discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries are given priority.

None of the bills currently filed this session provide funding from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for acquisition of conservation lands and needs in other parts of the state.

Current Status: Neither bill is on a committee agenda.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; Appropriations

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (Passed); Appropriations Committee

 
Wildlife

 
SB 1674 (Sen. Sachs): This bill makes the disposal of “bear-attracting garbage” outside of bear-resistant containers in “high human-bear conflict areas” punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Current Status: This bill does not have a companion in the House and is not on any committee agendas.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; Appropriations

 
SB 1096 (Sen. Soto)/ HB 1055 (Rep. Pafford): These bills set up a revolving fund for local governments to provide bear-resistant garbage receptacles to their constituents. They protect natural black bear food sources on state lands by prohibiting the harvesting of saw palmetto berries and the timbering of acorn-producing trees. They call for controlled burns to encourage the growth of trees and plants that provide natural sources of food for black bears in an effort to prevent black bears from entering residential areas in search of food.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has continually stated that trash management is the most effective way of reducing bear-human conflict. As long as bears have access to human attractants like trash, bird feed, and pet food, they will continue to enter residential areas placing both humans and bears at risk.

Current Status: Neither bill is on a committee agenda.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; Appropriations

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

 
Climate Change/ Renewable Energy

 
SB 838 (Sen. Evers)/HB 639 (Rep. Diaz, M.) : These bills prevent the state from implementing or planning to implement regulations that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources in Florida in order to comply with the federal Clean Power Plan. The state would not be allowed to take these actions until the U.S. Congress passes legislation limiting carbon dioxide from existing stationary sources or a federal court upholds the Clean Power Plan. If the current litigation of the proposed EPA regulation results in the rules being upheld, and Congress fails to pass legislation to the contrary, sources in Florida would be required to comply with the federal law.

Current Status: Neither bill is on a committee agenda.

House Referrals: Energy & Utilities Subcommittee (Passed); Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Regulatory Affairs Committee

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities; Fiscal Policy

 
SB 170 (Sen. Brandes)/ HB 195 (Rep. Rodrigues and Rep. Berman): These bills propose an amendment to Florida’s Constitution to provide limited ad valorem tax breaks for properties with renewable energy devices. The amendment is set to expire in 2036.

Current Status: SB 170 is not on a committee agenda. HB 195 has been added to the Second Reading Calendar on the House floor.

Senate Referrals: Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities (Passed); Community Affairs (Passed); Finance and Tax (Passed); Appropriations

House Referrals: Energy & Utilities Subcommittee (Passed); Finance & Tax Committee (Passed); Regulatory Affairs Committee (Passed)

 
Miscellaneous

 
SB 306 (Sen. Bullard) / HB 143 (Rep. Richardson): These bills give coastal municipalities with fewer than 100,000 residents the authority to begin pilot projects to regulate or ban plastic bags within their jurisdiction. Pilot projects are temporary and reports from the project are to be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Current Status: Neither bill is on a committee agenda.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation (Passed); Community Affairs; Fiscal Policy

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Business & Professions Subcommittee; Local Government Affairs Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

 
 SB 400 (Sen. Hays) / HB 561 (Rep. Combee): These bills authorize the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to establish and delete divisions and offices within the Department as the Secretary deems fit.

Current Status: Neither bill is on a committee agenda.

Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation (Passed); Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government (Passed); Appropriations

House Referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee (Passed); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

FCC News Brief - February 4, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Thursday, February 4th, 2016 @ 9:07am

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 4, 2016

     

     

    Burt Eno writes for Ocala Star Banner – “What’s wrong with [the water] bill? Simple. It doesn’t conserve water and it doesn’t prevent water from being polluted with nitrates. As a result, we are going to see a continuance of depletion of our aquifer and growth of algae in our rivers, streams and springs. This comes from overpumping of ground water and continued deposition of nitrates from fertilizers, animal waste and septic tanks. Our state agencies have recently derived reports for minimum flows and levels, plans for limiting nitrate pollution, and best management practices for agricultural operations. Unfortunately, these limits and plans have no teeth, no enforcement. They cannot achieve their desired outcomes. Recognizing that, 1000 Friends of Florida, Sierra Club, Florida Springs Council and other major environmental organizations tried to offer amendments to the water bill to include some measures of conservation and pollution control enforcement. Our legislators didn’t listen.” Read New law does little to help water crisis

    Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “[I]f legislators truly appreciate the value- and vulnerability- of Florida’s water supply, and the potential that Crisafulli highlighted for choices today to have consequences far into the future, they’ll vote down a bill that would pre-empt local regulations or bans on…hydraulic fracturing…While some local regulations on businesses operating statewide, such as wage and benefit mandates, are ill-advised or impractical, state lawmakers shouldn’t rule out local efforts aimed at protecting public health and the environment…Senators who understand how careful they need to be with Florida’s water supply, and who believe in home rule, will reject this bill.” Read Don’t block local limits on fracking

    Isadora Rangel reports for TC Palm – “The Legislature hasn’t changed its mind on how to use land and water conservation money, despite cries from conservation groups that Amendment 1 not be used for routine expenses as it was last year…A coalition of environmental and civic groups drafted Amendment 1 because of cuts to Florida Forever, which used to get roughly $300 million per year until the economic recession… ‘I think the (Florida Forever) funding in the Senate budget is a good start but I think we need to incease it,’ [Senate President-elect Joe Negron] said.” Read House, Senate again budget Amendment 1 money for operating expenses

    Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Florida is poised to approve the rise of a trash mountain in wetlands of the St. Johns River, a project that history may eventually identify as helping to farther a new city near Orlando.” Read Deseret Ranches fights Brevard landfill, other invaders

    Kimberly Miller reports for Palm Beach Post – “Water managers struggled this past week to keep up with record-setting rainfall, and were eventually forced to back pump polluted water into environmentally sensitive Lake Okeechobee to prevent flooding in the Glades…Back pumping, which dumps stormwater into Lake Okeechobee without any cleaning to reduce fertilizer and other pollutants, is allowed solely for flood control purposes under emergency conditions that are defined in a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit. Only eight back-pumping events have been necessary using the permitting process since 2008…” Read Record rains strain canals and Lake Okeechobee

    Andy Reid reports for the Sun Sentinel – “The South Florida flooding risk from Lake Okeechobee rising faster than expected has convinced federal officials to potentially dump twice as much lake water out to sea as once planned...While dumping lake water to the east and west coasts is good for protecting the dike that guards against flooding, that influx of lake water can harm coastal fishing grounds and lead to algae blooms that make water unsafe for swimming.” Read Lake Okeechobee draining to double; aim is to ease South Florida flood risk

    Dana C. Bryan writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “They say that the state parks have always cut trees, grazed cattle and allowed hunting. This is a half-truth designed to deceive you. For the record, trees have been cut in state parks, but always for restoration purposes…And yes, grazing has been allowed as an interim management measure, but only on improved pastures that came into the system with larger acquisitions. Now, DEP has told state parks to allow cattle on natural communities like prairies. State parks have never done this before and should not start now.” Read Florida State Parks should remain natural and protected

    Russell L. Meyer writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “Religious institutions and citizens of all faiths know that we have a moral duty to be stewards of the Earth, and to protect it from the disastrous effects of climate change. That’s why the Florida Council of Churches has joined with many other Florida religious organizations to demand bold action from our officials and candidates on building a clean alternative economy, in pursuit of a nationwide goal of powering America with more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030.” Read Faith communities unite for action on climate change

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager



    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at johanna@healthygulf.org.

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at mary.earthethics@cox.net.

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 6, 9:00 am- Attend Fire in the Florida Ecosystem, a lecture and demonstration of how fire is important to Florida’s natural habitats, presented by Kevin Main, Land Manager at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, in Venus. Meet at the Learning Center. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact kmain@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x253.

    February 6, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Belleview Branch, Marion County 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net.

    February 8, 1:30 pm – Attend Manatee Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee Meeting at the Bradenton Library (1301 Barcarrota Blvd.) in Bradenton. Discuss local environmental issues and plan priorities for 2016. Contact Sandra Ripberger for more information at (941) 794- 3878 or sandrarip@yahoo.com

    February 9, 12:00 pm – Participate in Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s webinar, “Rights of Nature & Community Rights: What are they? Are they being implemented?” To register (48 hours in advance) and for more information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu.

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library in Inverness. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    February 28, 1:30pm, Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact education@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of the Marion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 6, 12:00 pm - April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Reddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at lespierpont@mac.com or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

    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.

    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 our 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 Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com

    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Floridas land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.   

    For more information on the FCC visit www.floridaconservationcoalition.org

FCC News Brief - February 3, 2016

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 @ 10:33am

  • FCC News Brief

    Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds

    February 3, 2016

     

     

    Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “In 2000…Florida passed a law hailed as a landmark…: the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act. The legislation ordered up a strategy to deal with decades of pollution pouring into the lake…Lawmakers…set a January 2015 goal to sharply reduce damaging nutrients…The deadline passed unmet. So this month, the Florida Legislature rammed through another law, hailed once again as a landmark…but disappointingly familiar to environmentalists…[T]he latest overhaul of state water…policy…simply deletes the deadline and sets another, at least 20 years down the road. And the rules for enforcing the new plan remain uncertain, requiring another round of legislative approval. ‘I’ve had an increasing sense of déjà vu,’ said former Gov. Bob Graham… ‘Nobody knows how this is going to play out, but this bill certainly isn’t futuristic in terms of protection and restoration of our water…,’ said Estus Whitfield, who served as Graham’s environmental adviser, as well as his Republican successor. ‘It’s just a continuation of past actions. Almost every deadline that has been set to clean up Lake Okeechobee and reduce pollution runoff has been extended. This is not the first time they have extended it, and it may not be the last.’…According to an audit [of the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act], no one ever bothered to enforce ‘best management practices,’ despite a requirement that those pollution-reduction programs be revised if they were not working.” Read Florida’s ‘landmark’ water law sure looks familiar

    Scott Maxwell writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “[Here’s] what the politicians hope you’ll miss- their cycle of costly behavior. They allow pollution, bill you for the cleanup and then do it all again.  To think about it another way, imagine I was standing in your front yard about to pour a gallon of gasoline on your front lawn. You ask me not to do it because it will kill your grass. I ignore you and do it anyway. Your grass dies. So then I take $50 from your wallet to replace the turf- and call a big press conference to celebrate my commitment to green grass…The (water) law theoretically sets standards but calls on businesses to police themselves. It’s nebulous on fines, penalties, inspections cleanup timelines. (In the 134-page bill, it often says enforcement ‘may’ happen, rather than ‘shall.’)…With [the fracking] bill – whose fate now rests in the Senate- the House set up a framework to allow more chemicals to be injected into our land without serious safeguards or provisions to track the impact. Think about that. In one bill, we have the Legislature spending tens of millions of tax dollars to clean up mess in our water while passing a new bill that won’t tell us what new messes they’re allowing. It’s the cycle all over again. And you are always the one who pays.” Read Florida’s environmental policies cost you plenty

    Isadora Rangel reports for the TC Palm – “Here are some highlights of the (Senate budget) proposal, which still needs to clear the full Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate floor before the chamber negotiates a final budget with the House. The Legislature has until March 11 end of the legislative session to pass a budget. $4.2 million: That’s roughly how many Amendment 1 dollars would pay for routine expenses similar to the ones that were the target of two pending lawsuits filed by environmental groups over the Legislature’s use of the measure last year. $22.3 million: That’s proposed for the Florida Forever program to buy land for state parks and habitat preservation. Although it’s slightly more than the $17.4 million approved last year, that’s still a disappointing figure for environmentalists…$82 million: This also is a disappointing figure for Everglades restoration, said Eric Draper, Audubon Florida executive director. But that number has to increase if the Legislature passes a bill by Rep. Gayle Harrell and Senate President-elect Joe Negron…to make sure the lesser of $200 million or 25 percent of Amendment 1 dollars go into Everglades restoration.” Read Proposal still uses Amendment 1 money for routine expenses

    Maggy Hurchalla writes for the Miami Herald – “Florida Bay hasn’t fully recovered from the 1990’s crash where the sea grass died and the bay turned to pea soup…Scientists say it’s about to happen again…The solution: Send more water south from Lake Okeechobee. Sea level is rising…The solution: Send more water south from Lake Okeechobee…The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries are ‘in imminent danger of collapse’ from Lake O discharges…The solution: send more water south…If we want to save South Florida, we need to commit to the initiative to use $300 million a year of Amendment 1 revenues to buy environmental lands. We can’t demand money for the Everglades and ignore the springs and rivers and beautiful wild places outside the Everglades ecosystem. Some 75 percent of Florida voters said to use Amendment 1 money to buy land. We need to get the legislature to listen to them…It needs to come from the grass roots of every community in South Florida by getting everyone to call their state representatives and by getting every city and county to invite their legislative delegation to discuss using Amendment 1 revenues to buy land in the rest of Florida as well as the Everglades.” Read Is there hope for South Florida’s water?

    Jim Turner reports for Palm Beach Post – “The Senate confirmed Gov. Rick Scott’s environmental secretary Thursday after Democrats argued the Florida Department of Environmental Protection isn’t following its ‘core mission.’” Read Florida Senate signs off on DEP secretary

    Donald Anderson, Benne Hutson, John Lain, Dale Mullen, and James Thornhill report for JDSUPRA Business Advisor – “There are several significant regulatory and legal actions involving water issues that are expected to unfold in 2016. Each has the potential to significantly impact the regulated community and all bear watching in 2016.” Read 2016 Water Outlook

    University of Central Florida shares – “Because Florida’s human population increased by more than 40 percent [from 1992 to 2012]…researchers expected to find that artificial light levels had increased, too. But…they found that nighttime levels had decreased for more than two-thirds of the… .62-mile sections of Florida beach that were examined. Some 14 percent had increased, and the rest hadn’t changed. ‘Sea turtle populations are doing pretty well in Florida, and it may be due in part to our coastal management,’…” Read Satellites show Florida beaches becoming darker, and that’s good for sea turtles

    Tropical Audubon Society shares – “After an 8-year tenure marked by milestone achievements for South Florida wildlife and habitat, Executive Director Laura Reynolds has leveraged her considerable advocacy experience at the helm of Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) to launch Conservation Concepts, LLC.” From Press ReleaseExecutive Director Laura Reynolds spreads her professional wings, launches Conservation Concepts consultancy




     

     

     

     

     

    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 Postings

    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.

    Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is seeking a Red Hills Awareness Program Manager



    Petitions

    Paynes Prairie in danger

    Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U.S.A. from Development

     

    Making Connections

    Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at johanna@healthygulf.org.

    If your nonprofit organization would like to be a vendor FOR FREE at Earth Day Pensacola 2016, scheduled to be held on April 23rd from 10-4 at Bayview Park, contact Mary Gutierrez at mary.earthethics@cox.net.

     

    Upcoming Environmental Events

    February 4, 6:30 pm potluck social, 7:00 pm meeting – Attend Sierra Club Adventure Coast Committee Meeting in Spring Hill. For more information e-mail sierraadventurecoastcc@gmail.com or call (352) 277- 3330.

    February 6, 9:00 am- Attend Fire in the Florida Ecosystem, a lecture and demonstration of how fire is important to Florida’s natural habitats, presented by Kevin Main, Land Manager at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, in Venus. Meet at the Learning Center. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact kmain@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x253.

    February 6, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Belleview Branch, Marion County 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net.

    February 8, 1:30 pm – Attend Manatee Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee Meeting at the Bradenton Library (1301 Barcarrota Blvd.) in Bradenton. Discuss local environmental issues and plan priorities for 2016. Contact Sandra Ripberger for more information at (941) 794- 3878 or sandrarip@yahoo.com

    February 9, 12:00 pm – Participate in Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s webinar, “Rights of Nature & Community Rights: What are they? Are they being implemented?” To register (48 hours in advance) and for more information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu.

    February 11-13 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law in Gainesville. “Five Oceans, One Earth” is the 2016 topic. Find more information or register for the conference here.

    February 13, 10:00 am – Attend the 23rd Party in the Park, the Treasure Coast’s first and foremost environmental festival, at Ft Piere Inlet State Park in Ft Pierce. The festival is free and includes food, activities for children and adults, and entertainment by Flint Blade.

    February 15, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Citrus Springs. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    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.

    February 20, 1:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Lakes Region Library in Inverness. 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 nkost@tampabay.rr.com.

    February 28, 1:30pm, Attend Amphibians & Seasonal Ponds Nature Walk with Dr. Betsie Rothermel, Director of the Herpetology Program at Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus. Dr. Rothermel will give a lecture and take participants on a short hike to view nearby seasonal ponds. Meet at the Learning Center. All ages are welcome. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate for hiking in a wet environment. Children and adults are welcome. For more information, contact education@archbold-station.org or call 863-465-2571 x233.

    February 29, 7:00 pm – Attend Water Voices: “Up & Down with the Floridan Aquifer” at the Wilson S. Rivers Library and Media Center at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. Geologist Jim Gross will present on the structure of the Floridan aquifer; on the connections between the aquifer, springs, drinking water, public health, and the economy; and on long-term trends in aquifer levels and pollution. For more information, call Lu Merritt at (386) 454- 0415.

    March 1 – Participate in No Meat March. Take the pledge to go meat-free for 31 days and enjoy the support of an online community with many resources. Find more information here.

    March 5, 11:00 am – Attend Northeast Florida Veg Fest at Riverside Park in Jacksonville. The day-long event will feature live music, dynamic speakers, cooking demonstrations, beer garden, kids’ zone, pie-eating contest, exceptional freebies, raffles, scavenger hunt, and much more! Find more information here.

    March 15, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Dunnellon Branch of the Marion County Library in Dunnellon. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 16, 12:00 pm – Attend Florida Constitutional Revision Committee: A “Community Rights” Amendment for protecting human and ecological health. This webinar is part of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s Protecting Our Common Home series. For registration or further information, contact Sister Pat Siemen at psiemen@barry.edu. Please RSVP at least 48 hours before each program. Directions for participation will be sent to you.

    March 19, 10:00 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 24, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Ocala Main Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    March 26, 10:30 am – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Freedom Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocala. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Forest Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 6, 12:00 pm - April 2, 2:00 pm – Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at the Reddick Branch of the Marion County Library in Ocklawaha. 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 Gary Green at (352) 817- 8077 or garryegreen@centurylink.net .

    April 20, 2:00 pm – Attend The Late Bloomers Garden Club’s Flower Show at The Garden Club of Jacksonville (1005 Riverside Ave). The show will include horticulture, photography, floral design, and a conservation education exhibit featuring wetlands. The juried show has judges coming from around the SE and is a Garden Club of America Flower Show. For more information or contact Leslie Pierpont at lespierpont@mac.com or (904) 388- 1506.

     

     

     

     

    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.

    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 our 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 Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com

    About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 conservation organizations and a thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Floridas land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.   

    For more information on the FCC visit www.floridaconservationcoalition.org

Oppose State Lands SB 1290 (Sen. W. Simpson)/ HB 1075 (Rep. Caldwell)

Posted by Gladys Delgadillo, Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 @ 10:57am

  • Dear FCC Members,

    We have been very concerned about bills which would result in damaging changes to state land management in Florida.

    HB 1075 passed the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee on February 1 and is headed for its final committee of reference, State Affairs. Please contact the members of this committee (see below) and ask them to oppose this bad bill. To use our template, click here.

    The Senate bill has not been calendared for its first committee of reference, Environmental Preservation and Conservation. Please contact the chair, Senator Dean (see below), and urge him not to agenda the bill. To use our template, click here.


    Florida’s protected state lands, purchased over the past three decades via the wildly popular Florida Forever program and its predecessor programs, are under attack. The Governor and Legislature are planning to sell conservation lands and are promoting changes in management that are detrimental to wildlife. We know from the success of Amendment 1 that conservation of important natural lands still has the utmost significance to the vast majority of Floridians. These lands are the places where our natural heritage is conserved and protected, including wildlife, their habitat, and our precious water resources. They also provide public recreation for our exploding population and are integral to our economy and way of life.

    The following provisions in HB 1075/ SB 1290 threaten Florida’s ability to acquire, preserve and manage state conservation lands:

    - Section 5 and Section 6 allow the State to surplus and sell state lands when it determines that the land’s short-term management goals are not being met, if it is not actively managed by any state agency, or if a management plan has not been completed. Failure to meet short-term management goals, an incomplete management plan, or lack of active management may be a direct result of inadequate land management funding by the Legislature, or other temporary or avoidable situations, and should not be used as an excuse to dispose of conservation lands. Instead, the Legislature should ensure adequate funding for the management of Florida’s conservation lands.

    - Section 6 also directs the Division of State Lands to review all state-owned conservation lands every ten years to determine whether any can be surplused. This is a duplicative and unnecessary provision since each land management plan requires a review for surplus on a rotating basis when the management plan is updated.

    - Section 8 allows private land owners who own land contiguous to state-owned lands to exchange it for the state-owned land, including state park land, if the state is given a permanent conservation easement over both parcels in the exchange. Conservation easements are often less protective of the environment than the management plans for state-owned land, resulting in practices that diminish the conservation values of the lands. Placing state lands in private ownership also reduces the ability of the state to comprehensively manage conservation lands. Finally, this type of exchange will often result in the loss of public access to lands that are currently owned by the state, diminishing the recreational value of the land. This daunting prospect would have a significantly negative impact on such beloved places as Paynes Prairie State Park and Myakka River State Park were they to be placed into private ownership under this provision.

    - Section 14 allows money from Florida Forever, the state’s premiere land acquisition program, to be used to fund all water resource development hardware, including the construction of treatment, transmission, and distribution facilities. Utilizing Florida Forever funds for the construction of water supply infrastructure is currently prohibited under state law. This change comes on the heels of Floridians overwhelmingly approving Amendment 1 in an effort to restore funding for land acquisition. With billions of dollars needed for local water infrastructure projects around the state, this provision could readily exhaust the funds set aside in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, leaving inadequate funding available for acquiring conservation land, and negating the benefits of Amendment 1.

    - Sections 15, 17, 21 and 22 allow state lands to be managed for conservation OR recreational purposes, deleting the requirement that state lands be managed in accordance with the purpose for which they were acquired. This could result in conservation lands being managed solely for recreational purposes, which might include converting natural lands into golf courses and other such inappropriate uses, harming the conservation value of the lands and betraying the original intent of acquiring the lands.

    If you love Florida’s state lands, speak up for them today. Call or e-mail the members of the House State Affairs Committee (see below) and ask them to oppose HB 1075! Then call or e-mail the chair of the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, Senator Dean (see below), and urge him not to agenda SB 1290. To use our templates, click here to write the House State Affairs Committee and here to write Senator Dean.




    House State Affairs Committee Members


    Matt Caldwell

    Matt.caldwell@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5079

    Neil Combee

    neil.combee@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717-5039


    Dwayne Taylor

    Dwayne.taylor@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5026

    Ben Albritton

    ben.albritton@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717-5056


    Michael Bileca

    Michael.bileca@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5115

    Bob Cortes

    Bob.cortes@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5030

    Travis Cummings

    travis.cummings@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717-5018


    Brad Drake

    Brad.drake@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 718- 0047

    Reggie Fullwood

    Reggie.fullwood@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5013

    Matt Gaetz

    Matt.gaetz@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5004

    Tom Goodson

    Tom.goodson@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5050

    Shawn Harrison

    Shawn.harrison@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5063

    Mike La Rosa

    Mike.larosa@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5042

    Amanda Murphy

    Amanda.murphy@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5036

    Ray Pilon

    ray.pilon@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717-5072


    Jake Raburn

    jake.raburn@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717-5057


    Irving Slosberg

    Irving.slosberg@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717- 5091

    Clovis Watson

    clovis.watson@myfloridahouse.gov

    (850) 717-5020

         

     

     
     

    Senator


    Charles Dean

    Dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov

    (850) 487- 5005

     
       

    Thank you, as always, for your work. Without direct contact by voters, the legislators will only be speaking with the special interests promoting these terrible changes.

    Sincerely,
    Bob Graham

    Founder and Chairman, Florida Conservation Coalition

** 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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