FCC News Brief
Florida’s best environmental reporting, editorials, and op-eds
May 7, 2016
Patricia Mazzei reports for the Miami Herald – “Coral Gables has taken several steps to become a sustainable city in the past year by encouraging and mandating green building standards, easing the process to obtain solar panels, and taking steps to ban the use of polystyrene products in the city…[T]he Florida Legislature passed a bill in February preventing local municipalities from banning the use of Styrofoam…products. Cities that approved their bans before Jan. 1 were allowed to keep their laws in place, but others-like Coral Gables- were forced to reverse their decisions. The Gables commission has since taken steps to keep the city ban including approving an ordinance that makes their ban effective as of December 2015…and backing up their decision to keep the ban by citing the Miami-Dade home rule charter.” Read Florida Legislature: Cities can’t ban Styrofoam. Coral Gables: Yes, we can
Evan Williams reports for Fort Myers Florida Weekly – “More panthers were killed in April than ever before in a single month…[A]ll but two killed along Southwest Florida highways and roads. There is no record of the panthers ever attacking a person… ‘I think it’s fair to say that most private land in Florida is under some level of development threat,’ said David Shindle, Florida panther coordinator for the USFWS and a biologist who has worked with panthers since 1998…Ms. Hecker with the Conservancy (of Southwest Florida) said, ‘The biggest concern I have is that regulatory protections would be relaxed in an effort to gain support of…large landowners. And certainly while we want to gain their support we can’t do it at the expense of upholding the Endangered Species Act and all the protections it provides for the species.’” Read Officials consider less-ambitious Florida panther recovery goals
Dinah Voyles Pulver reports for The Daytona Beach News-Journal – “A growing wave of opposition faces the city of DeBary’s plan to use…publicly owned conservation land near Gemini Springs for development around the SunRail station…Scott walks the Volusia County multi-use trail that runs through the conservation land ‘at least every other day’ and opposes any development plans. ‘This is important to me,’ she said. ‘What keeps me and other people in DeBary is the green space, the parks, the nature, the river. It’s our natural resources.’…[T]he St. Johns Riverkeeper and the Seminole Audubon Society…have issued statements opposing the plan…Lasley Blackner, a South Florida attorney who often represents groups that oppose sprawl, said the city’s plan may violate state laws that bar officials from predetermining land use before public hearings. If that’s what’s happening… ‘then it’s just void because it’s good old boys cutting deals in the back room.’” Read Outcry over DeBary land plan grows
James Call reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Lake Jackson could pump an additional $26 million annually into Tallahassee’s economy if only someone would clean it up…A citizens group, Friends of Lake Jackson, wants state and local policymakers to convene a task force to restore the…lake to what it once was. Through the 1980s, Lake Jackson was a nationally recognized bass trophy fishing spot. As recently as 20 years ago, it attracted water skiers from across the Southeast…The state of Florida has recognized it as an Outstanding Florida Water Body and is the only lake designated a Florida Aquatic Preserve… ‘I’ll take on the leadership role in establishing a task force,’ said (Senator) Montford (D-Tallahassee)…More than two dozen government entities share some responsibility for managing the lake. Advocates say that prevents any one agency from developing and implementing a coordinated, holistic approach… ‘We are in full support of the Task Force…,’ said Dee Ann Miller, DEP’s deputy press secretary. ‘We are happy to offer technical assistance to support this effort.’” Read Wanted, a force to restore Lake Jackson
Kyle Arnold reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “More than 115,000 people have signed an online petition asking Publix to stop selling eggs from chickens raised in cages…Olive Garden, Costco, Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart have all agreed to go cage-free over the next decade, giving their suppliers enough time to make changes. Publix is the only major retailer left that hasn’t agreed to a timeline…” Read Cage-free egg activists target Publix
Dinah Voyles Pulver reports for The Daytona Beach News-Journal – “After experiencing the most nuisance bear calls in Florida last year, Volusia County will consider opposing the state’s controversial black bear hunt…At its June meeting, the wildlife commission is scheduled to consider a repeat of its hunt…Regarding counties taking action to ban or oppose the hunt, wildlife commission officials say they would rather see counties take action to reduce human bear conflicts… ‘Tammy Sapp, spokeswoman for the commission’s division of hunting and game management, said ‘…[W]e appreciate Seminole County’s leadership in establishing a proactive local ordinance regarding waste management in communities experiencing high levels of human-bear conflicts.’” Read Volusia looks to take (symbolic) stand against bear hunt
The News Service of Florida reports – “Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will be asked Tuesday to consider a pair of land deals that would cost the state about $6.6 million, keep nearly 3,800 acres in Osceola County from new development and allow ranch operations to continue on the properties. Money for both deals…would come from the state’s Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.” Read Scott, Cabinet eye Osceola land deals
Tallahassee Democrat Editorial Board writes – “This is the Sunshine State and solar energy is a big deal. Installing solar panels on a rooftop is expensive…and they add to the value of the properties using them…There is utterly no prospect of the Legislature appropriating money to subsidize solar systems, so a tax exemption is the next best thing…The idea is to provide tax relief for large-scale solar farms or commercial installations. Big box retailers like CostCo and Wal-Mart, even smaller strip malls, could lease their rooftops for solar systems, without hiking their property taxes.” Read Yes on Amendment 4 – in August
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.
The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking a staff or senior attorney – Southeast Endangered Species.
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
Save the Econlockhatchee River!
Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances
Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project
Ask the USACE to reject Harbor Sound application to fill wetlands
Paynes Prairie in danger
Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U . S . A . from Development
Deny Beruff’s Mitigation Bank Permit
Gulf Restoration Network’s Johanna de Graffenreid wants to help citizens/environmental groups interested in opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Environmental Events
May 11, 12:00 pm – Listen to “Ethics in Leadership Development for the Planner,” a 1000 Friends of Florida webinar covering the ethics requirements of the American Institute of Certified planners and how these interface with Florida’s ethics laws. Emphasis will be placed on ethics as it relates to leadership and common ethics traps. For more information and to register, click here.
May 11, 6:00 pm – Attend Conservation Conversations and Beer: Florida’s Global Importance as a Nesting Site for Sea Turtles at The Ale and the Witch in St. Petersburg. This is the first of a new speaker series hosted by the Center for Biological Diversity. For more information, click here or here.
May 14, 9:00 am – Participate in Troy Springs Float Cleanup Down to Little River. You will need to have your own boat (canoes and power boats are both useful). Bring food and water, and let Fritzi Olson know if you can attend by May 12th. You can contact her at email@example.com.
May 14, 2:00 pm – Attend “Long Leaf Pine- Restoring Fred George Basin’s ecosystem,” a presentation by Tom Ostertag (FWC Imperiled Species Biologist), at 2043 Capitol Circle NW, Tallahassee, FL. For more information, contact Michael Kelly at (229) 225- 6530.
May 17, 12:00 pm – Attend Tri-County Working Group of Sierra Club’s meeting at the Crystal River Preserve State Park meeting room in Crystal River to discuss conservation issues of importance to Citrus, Levy, and Marion County residents. Following the meeting, the Education Committee will discuss progress on their new PPT presentation on solar energy for Florida. For more information, contact Nancy Kost at (352) 628- 0698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 19, 10:00 am - Attend Tri-county Working Group of Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club’s Water Works: Stand Up and Act Now at Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunellon. It is an interactive, presenter-led PowerPoint program that translates scientific facts into common language, detailing the specific impact of Florida’s and especially the tri-county’s (Citrus-Levy-Marion) water problems on jobs, property values, lifestyles, ecotourism and most importantly, our drinking water. For more information contact Nancy Kost at (352) 628- 0698 or email@example.com.
May 19-22: Attend the Florida Native Plant Society’s 36th Annual Conference in Daytona Beach. The conference includes a variety of presentations and workshops on butterflies, bees and wildflowers, tree care, plants of the everglades, environmental education, invasive plants, rain gardens, landscape ecology, protection of water resources, and rare native plant conservation. Field trips include landscape tours, kayak trips, pontoon boat trips, eco-buggy excursions, truck-bed trips, and hikes. For more information and to register, click here, call (321) 271- 6702, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 21, 11:00 am – Start or participate in a Hands Across the Sand event near you to Say No to Dirty Fuels and Yes to Clean Energy! For more information, click here.
June 4, 10:00 am – Attend Coastal Dune Lake Day. Learn about the coastal Dune Lakes and experience Western Lake from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Paddle to clean up the Lake from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Clean up the park from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Meet at the Boat Launch Parking Lot at Grayton Beach State Park.
June 7, 12:00 pm – Attend Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center (99 NW 1st Avenue) in High Springs every first Tuesday of the month. There is a suggested donation of $5 per class to help support the efforts of Florida Springs Institute. This month’s class will be on springs chemistry: General, nutrients, and trace contaminants. For more information, click here.
June 18, 2:00 pm – Attend “Karst Environments in Florida and Geology of Fred George Basin,” a presentation by Harley Means (FLGS Geologist), at 2043 Capitol Circle NW, Tallahassee, FL. For more information, contact Michael Kelly at (229) 225- 6530.
June 25, 2:00 pm – Attend “The Beautiful Life of a Dead Tree: The Most Important Tree in the Woods,” a presentation by Jim Stevenson (Florida Springs Expert), at 2043 Capitol Circle NW, Tallahassee, FL. For more information, contact Michael Kelly at (229) 225- 6530.
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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 60 conservation organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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