Friday, January 16, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 1-16-09


Florida Forever's future cut short
Miami Herald
Gov. Charlie Crist has some tough choices to make on the $1.2 billion in spending cuts approved by the Legislature Wednesday.

Is Florida Just One New Development Away From Environmental Ruin?
By Stan Cox
A thousand people a day move to Florida, but with development gone wild, the state's natural systems have passed the brink of sustainability.

New Navy sonar poses threat to right whales
By Jim Waymer
Florida Today
Navy subs could one day play war games about 60 miles off Jacksonville, with sonic pings that environmental groups fear might ring a death knell for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Biomass Plant Opposition Mounts (includes video)
Reported by Julie Montanaro
WCTV News Tallahassee
Opposition to a proposed Biomass Plant in Tallahassee is mounting as neighborhoods, ministers and the NAACP add their names to the list.

Landowner says he'll sell rather than wait on state
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida Environmental News
A Leon County landowner says he likely won't sell to the state now that the Legislature has cut its conservation land-buying program.


Gov. Crist addresses first climate change meeting
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida Environmental News
Gov. Charlie Crist today told the inaugural meeting of the state Energy and Climate Commission that Florida has embarked on a "great path and challenge" in developing renewable energy and diversifying its fuel resources.

Florida's first commercial ethanol plant announced
Associated Press
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A Massachusetts biofuel company is teaming up with a Florida business to build the state's first commercial-scale ethanol plant, and says it should be up and running by 2011.

Report calls for ban on coal-waste storage in mines
By Renee Schoof
Miami Herald
A day after the nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency promised to look into the problem of coal ash storage in ponds such as the one that burst in Tennessee last month, a new report says another disposal strategy is just as dangerous: using the coal waste to fill in active or abandoned mines.

County reverses course on mining proposal
By Duane Marsteller
Bradenton Herald
County commissioners reversed course on a controversial mining proposal Thursday, giving Mosaic Co. the first set of county approvals it needs to unearth phosphate ore from the Altman Tract.

Preserve 'Florida Forever'
Florida Today
You won’t find a more ecologically unique area in the nation than the Space Coast.

Legislative panel skeptical about global warming
By Brandon Larrabee
Florida Times-Union
Proposals aimed at curbing Florida's greenhouse gas emissions led to skepticism about global warming from a key legislative committee Tuesday, highlighting potential trouble for the most significant environmental legislation expected in this year's regular session.

Senate panel questions nuke plant rate hike
By Jim Saunders
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Trying to spur more nuclear power, Florida lawmakers in 2006 agreed to allow utility companies to pass along upfront costs of new nuclear plants to their customers.

Supreme Court ruling is a big win for Florida's water rights
Associated Press
Orlando Sentinel
The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will let stand a lower-court ruling that threatens to unravel Georgia's long-term water plans for the Atlanta region, giving Florida and Alabama a pivotal victory in the states' long-running water wars.

State may have to raise taxes or walk away from $1.34 billion U.S. Sugar deal
By Andy Reid
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A declining economy could leave state officials facing a politically dicey decision in the $1.34 billion deal with U.S. Sugar Corp. - either raise taxes or walk away from the largest public land buy in Florida history.

State environmental regulators give go-ahead for nuclear plant
By Fred Hiers
Ocala Star-Banner
Progress Energy cleared one of its last hurdles Monday when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection gave the utility permission to continue with its plans for a 2,200 megawatt nuclear power plant in Levy County.

The end of forever
Gainesville Sun
Lawmakers evidently think that when it comes to budget cutting, all bets are off - even if it means ignoring a previous commitment to continue funding the state's highly successful, nationally recognized land-preservation program.

17 protesters arrested at Barley Barber swamp, demand FPL open area to the public
By Daphne Duret
Palm Beach Post
Deputies arrested 17 protesters on trespassing and resisting arrest charges Saturday near the Barley Barber swamp, where members of an activist group have camped out for nearly a week, demanding Florida Power & Light officials open the swamp to the public.

PSC sets targets for Florida renewable energy goals
By Julie Patel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
About one-fifth of Florida's energy supply would come from renewable resources in about 11 years under a plan recommended Friday by the Florida Public Service Commission.

Progress Energy Rate Hikes Prompt Complaints
WESH News Orlando
Complaints are mounting Friday against one of the state's largest power companies as customers start seeing a new rate hike in their bills.

Congresswoman promises to jump-start Washington's commitment to Everglades restoration
By Paul Quinlan
Palm Beach Post
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz pledged to make jump-starting Washington's floundering commitment to restore the Everglades her "personal responsibility" as she takes hold of Congressional purse strings for the second year in a row.

Florida's natural bounty being looted
By Carl Hiaasen
Miami Herald
Every day, hundreds of wild freshwater turtles are snatched from Florida's lakes and rivers, and shipped to Asia where they are butchered for food and folk remedies.

Exposing the Myth of Clean Coal Power
By Bryan Walsh
Time Magazine
If you paid any attention to last year's Presidential campaign, you'll remember ads touting the benefits of "clean coal" power, sponsored by the industry group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Obama seen as hope for Glades restoration
By Curtis Morgan
Miami Herald
Everglades projects are running years behind, cost estimates have ballooned by billions and political support has deeply eroded.

Fresh Hope for the Everglades
New York Times
People who care about the Everglades have had little to cheer about over the last eight years.

Wildwood Preservation Society is a non-profit 501(c)(4) project of the Advocacy Consortium for the Common Good. Click here to learn more.

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