Friday, February 27, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 2-27-09


Money, White House pick revive Everglades restoration hopes
By Curtis Morgan and Lesley Clark
Miami Herald
After years of tepid support, Washington appears primed to jump-start stalled Everglades restoration.

Wakulla Springs protection zone, workshop in the works
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida Environmental News
See our recent post for related info
With Tallahassee seeking federal money to upgrade its sewage treatment plant, Wakulla Springs supporters now are focusing more attention on the threat to groundwater posed by septic tanks.

Bill encouraging growth angers environmentalists
By Brandon Larrabee
Florida Times-Union
See our recent post for related info
A new proposal aimed at encouraging development in urban areas to cut sprawl and juice the economy is running into resistance from environmental organizations and growth-management groups.

A lot of people rethinking nuclear power
By Russell Ray
Tampa Tribune
Visit here
When Progress Energy announced plans more than two years ago to build a nuclear plant in Levy County, the project was met with little resistance.

Sansom's friend pushes for toll road through nature preserve
By Craig Pittman
St. Pete Times
Visit Nokuse Plantation’s website here
A developer closely linked to former House Speaker Ray Sansom is pushing for a new toll road to slice through a nature preserve that taxpayers spent $16.5 million to save from development.

Maybe the bears could just take taxis
By Howard Troxler
St. Pete Times
Related article: Swiftmud delays vote on Pasco land swap with developer SunWest
Florida has its own subspecies of black bear: ursus americanus floridus. It once lived all over the state, but we have hemmed it into a few remaining areas, six or eight depending on how you count.

An estimated 12,000 bears once roamed the area that is now Florida. Approximately 1,000 to 1,500 Florida black bears survive today.


Stimulus to help utilities go green
By David Hunt
Florida Times-Union
The federal stimulus package is expected to pump nearly $125 million into renewable energy projects in Florida, according to state documents.

Gainesville Betting on Solar Energy
By Zac Anderson
Gainesville Sun
Mike Roach is not your typical energy entrepreneur.

Florida State, City of Tallahassee cleared of violations in biomass project
By Bill Cotterell
Tallahassee Democrat
A grand jury quickly and emphatically cleared city and Florida State University officials of any legal or ethical violations Tuesday in planning the aborted biomass electricity project south of Tallahassee.

Lawmakers to Consider Reducing Fla. Pollution
By Brian Skoloff
Associated Press
With much of this peninsular state situated at or below sea level, parts of Florida could disappear under water if global warming predictions indicating significant sea level rise come true.

King of Spain, Fla. gov discuss renewable energy
By Jennifer Kay
Associated Press
Spain and Florida, which already share so much history, are poised to share in a future based on renewable energy projects that create new jobs and solve environmental problems, King Juan Carlos said Friday.

FL State Parks Are Back in the Game
Audubon of Florida News
Hooray! The proposal to temporarily close nineteen state parks and transfer another three to the agencies that hold title to them was not included in the Governor’s budget.

Funding brings safe haven for endangered manatees
By Robby Douglas
Citrus Daily
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) announced Monday there's $1.5 million in the 2009 federal appropriations bill for preserving and protecting Three Sisters Springs in Citrus County.

The Story of Leonard Abess, Banker
By Alan Farago
In his first speech to Congress, President Obama briefly bonded with popular outrage at Wall Street's excess and greed.

Edison Farms’ vision, Mother Nature’s nightmare
By Nancy A. Payton
Naples News
Jason Wagoner’s Feb. 16 Guest Commentary, “Edison Farms fulfills vision for Lee County, Red Sox,” might better be titled “Mother Nature’s Nightmare.”

Loosening safeguards a bad move
Ft. Myers News-Press
Business opportunities exist in good times and bad, and the shrewdest individuals look to take advantage of crisis situations.

Endangered wood stork in flight over Fred George Basin, May 2008. Photo courtesy Richard Baas.

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

"it's all connected"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 2-20-09


Ed. Note: The article below details an attempt by radical right-wing members of the Florida Legislature to implement sweeping deregulation designed to make it easier for developers to obtain permits to wipe out wetlands, access dwindling drinking water supplies and destroy endangered species habitat. See the end of the article for more info and stay tuned for ways to take action against these short-sighted proposals.

Legislators envision less regulation as salve for Florida's economy
By Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite
St. Pete Times

Florida legislative leaders want to make it easier to get permits to destroy wetlands, tap the water supply and wipe out endangered species habitat, all in the interest of building houses, stores and offices.

They say streamlining the permitting process will get the economy moving again.

"We've got to get permits going and flowing," said Rep. Trudi Williams, R-Fort Myers. "We need to make some incentives for people to revitalize our economy."

But opponents, ranging from Audubon of Florida to the Florida League of Cities, say making permits easier to get ultimately would hurt the economy and the environment.

State officials estimate more than 300,000 Florida houses are vacant. Why add more, asked Audubon's Eric Draper.

"We do not believe the current environmental regulatory structure is the root cause of our economic problems," agreed Kurt Spitzer, who lobbies for the Florida Stormwater Association. "The problem with the Florida economy is declining home prices and tightening credit."

The groups pushing for looser permitting include such politically powerful entities as Associated Industries, the Florida Home Builders Association and the Association of Florida Community Developers.

"We need to be creating conducive conditions for more growth," said Frank Matthews, who lobbies for the builders and developers. "You know what the Florida economy is based on. It's an article of faith that those houses will one day be occupied. (The recession) is not going to last forever."

Associated Industries president Barney Bishop has been passing out a booklet headlined "Economic Stimulus Package 2.0." It prioritizes something called "Regulatory Relief," which says, "Policymakers must look at reductions in regulatory red tape as a way to stimulate business activity.''

Bishop pointed to impact fees that local governments charge developers to help pay for roads, schools, sewer lines and other public facilities for new residents. He suggested a temporary suspension of those fees, as well as easing the challenge to such fees in the future.

Senate Bill 630, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, would block local governments from collecting impact fees on new development through 2012. Another Bennett bill, Senate Bill 360, calls for eliminating most state growth-management review of big, new developments proposed for Hillsborough County and a host of other cities and counties around Florida.

The home builders, meanwhile, want to reduce the number of agencies that have a say on development permits. Matthews called it "less overlap, less duplication."

Take endangered species habitat, he said. Right now a federal agency, the U.S. Fish and Widlife Service, as well as the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and various local governments all get to comment on permits regarding destruction of that habitat.

"We like the idea of having a single regulatory body in charge of a single subject matter," he said.

The same goes for Florida's wetlands. Wiping out wetlands requires a permit from the state that says the project won't harm water quality, and another from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that says it's in the public interest under the Clean Water Act.

However, those agencies rarely reject a permit, which is why Florida lost an estimated 84,000 acres of wetlands to houses, stores, roads and parking lots between 1990 and 2003, according to a St. Petersburg Times analysis of satellite imagery.

The state's wetlands permitting criteria have failed to halt pollution from fertilizer-laden stormwater runoff, which has spurred toxic algae blooms in the St. Johns River and other waterways. Last month U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials announced they would impose new, tougher runoff restrictions because the state's criteria weren't working.

Some counties such as Hillsborough have their own wetland rules that are more stringent than the state or federal regulations. The builders have tried before to pre-empt those local rules.

"We're hoping we can move the ball forward a little more," Matthews said.

Williams said she was charged with pushing regulatory reform by former House Speaker Ray Sansom.

Sansom's ties to a Panhandle developer and a community college led to a grand jury investigation and his ouster from that post this month. But Williams said she and other leaders are still pursuing a rollback in regulations.

Williams, an engineer who has worked for some of Florida's biggest developers, chairs the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Committee, which has a scheduled workshop today. The agenda lists one item for the two-hour meeting: "Workshop on streamlined permitting issues."

Williams said she wants to hear other people's ideas for speeding up permits, but she has a few of her own. For one thing, she said, she'd like to see the state water managers make it easier to get permits to take large quantities of water for new development.

Williams said she would also like to see the state wetlands permitting process cut in half. State law now requires approval or rejection of a permit within 90 days or the permit is automatically approved. She suggested cutting that to 45 days. A Times analysis of state permits found that in 2003 the average processing time was 44 days.

Doing a job on growth controls
By Joel Engelhardt
Palm Beach Post
In the name of economic stimulus, the Legislature is about to do what it couldn't do under eight years of Gov. Jeb Bush: Kill growth management.

As U.S. Tightens Environmental Rules, Cash-Strapped States Loosen Them
By Josh Harkinson
Mother Jones
The stimulus package is an environmental boon, the EPA will probably regulate carbon, and Sen. Harry Reid wants to take a green pen to the Energy Bill.

Find information including bill text for Senate Bill 360 here.
Find information including bill text for Senate Bill 630 here.
Read the Florida Today editorial opposing this reckless legislation here.
Subscribe to our blog for updates and ways to take action on this and other Florida environmental and wildlife issues.

Great blue heron in Fred George Basin


Bill could block Everglades land deal
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida Environmental News
A Senate committee chairman has introduced a bill that could be used to block Florida's purchase of up to 187,000 acres from U.S. Sugar Corp. for Everglades restoration.

Scientists: Pace of Climate Change Exceeds Estimates
By Kari Lydersen
Washington Post
The pace of global warming is likely to be much faster than recent predictions, because industrial greenhouse gas emissions have increased more quickly than expected and higher temperatures are triggering self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms in global ecosystems, scientists said Saturday.

Birds and Climate Change: On the Move
Audubon Society
Related: Take Action: Birds and Climate Change: Ecological Disruption in Progress
Nearly 60% of the 305 species found in North America in winter are on the move, shifting their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles.

Prolific Florida panther Don Juan lands in Homosassa Springs retirement home
By Jeff Klinkenberg
St. Pete Times
Related: Click here to visit the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge website.
The wind blew in the panther's favor. He smelled me before he saw me, and saw me before I saw him. "He's got a bead on you,'' Susan Lowe whispered.

Senate president says auto emissions not dead despite setback
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida Environmental News
Related AP story: Crist optimistic about Fla. auto emissions plan
Senate President Jeff Atwater said today he thinks Florida's possible adoption of California's proposed auto emissions standards will remain an issue in the upcoming legislative session despite committee action this week against the measure.

Coastal Wetlands In Eastern U.S. Disappearing
Science Daily
While the nation as a whole gained freshwater wetlands from 1998 to 2004, a new report by NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents a continuing loss of coastal wetlands in the eastern United States.

Photos trace Florida reef fish decline
Press Release
United Press International
A U.S. researcher has used historic photographs as evidence of fishing's impact on marine ecosystems and the decline of "trophy fish."

Desalination plant subject of study
By Peter Guinta
Florida Times-Union
A consortium of Central Florida cities late last week proposed a plan that would require building 500 miles of interconnected water pipelines and withdrawing 262 million gallons of water per day from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers.

Rethink nuclear plant law
St. Pete Times
Progress Energy Florida's announcement last week that it wants to roll back surcharges was welcome relief for electric customers still whipsawed from January's 24 percent rate increase.

Endangered bird thriving in Blackwater River State Forest
Special to the Pelican
Pensacola News Journal
Officials with the Florida Division of Forestry report a very productive 2008 nesting season for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker population at Blackwater River State Forest, Florida's largest state forest.

'There are bird-watchers and there are birders'
By Amy Mariani
Orlando Sentinel
Gallus Quigley Jr. is a birder. He has seen about 640 species in his lifetime, and only a Philadelphia Flyers game might bring him in from the outdoors.

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

"it's all connected"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Saving Wakulla Springs

See the end of this post for more info and ways to take action.

Working together to make Wakulla spring back
By Jennifer Portman
Tallahassee Democrat

WAKULLA SPRINGS STATE PARK ‑ The limpkins haven’t returned yet, but their beloved apple snails, seeded by scientists to lure back the park’s departed signature bird, are multiplying.

The slimy hydrilla still has a grip on the swimming area, but the native eel grass biologists have planted is taking hold.

And while the quality of the water coursing out of the main vent hasn’t changed much, plans to reduce the amount of polluted runoff reaching the spring remain on track.

Wakulla Spring - the park’s centerpiece and one of the largest, deepest and most studied springs in the world - isn’t in the clear yet, experts say. But there are positive signs that recent attention to the threats it faces from development and poor stewardship is making a difference.

“I look at this as our Everglades,” said Charles Pattison, president of 1000 Friends of Florida.

Now, advocates say, it’s time to keep pushing forward. On Feb. 25, scientists, planners, politicians and regular citizens will get together for a two-day conference to hear the latest scientific findings about the spring, learn about continuing efforts to improve its health and set goals for the future.

Out of the discussion, organizers hope to come up with an action plan and get a general commitment from local governments to do what is needed to protect the spring.

“We cannot rest on our laurels,” said Tallahassee City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey, who spearheaded the upcoming workshop, which is being coordinated through Pattison’s environmental group. “If you love the spring, you can’t stop after taking the first step.”

New focus: Septic tanks

A similar workshop was last held about four years ago. Much of the scrutiny at that time was on how Tallahassee's sewage was degrading water quality at the spring. Two years later, the city agreed to make improvements to its wastewater system, including spending $160 million to reduce the amount of nitrate-rich runoff that drains from its south-side spray field and flows underground directly to Wakulla Spring.

High nitrate levels are thought to be bad for springs because the nutrient fuels the growth of invasive plants such as hydrilla and algae. The state's Department of Environmental Protection is considering limiting nitrate levels at all springs to no higher than .35 milligrams per liter. Wakulla Spring's nitrate level has been hanging steady in recent years at .5 milligrams per liter.

Despite some delays related to Tropical Storm Fay, the city's system upgrades are underway. So, this year's conference will focus on the creeping problem of septic tanks.

There are about 20,000 septic tanks in southern Leon and Wakulla counties, the most fragile part of the spring basin. It's a number expected to grow. That troubles those concerned about the health of the spring, because while the volume of wastewater from the city sewer system is greater, the effluent from individual septic tanks contains higher nitrate concentrations.

Brian Katz, researcher with the United States Geological Survey, recently studied the nitrate levels in ground water near septic tanks.

"I was amazed at how much variation there was," said Katz, who will discuss his findings at the workshop. "There are a lot of unknowns yet that need to be addressed."

Springs don't obey boundaries

The workshop also will emphasize the need for local governments to work together to ensure the spring is protected.

"It's a complex problem that needs an inter-governmental approach," Pattison said.

The event will culminate with the signing of an agreement that commits in principle municipalities in the basin to make policy decisions safeguarding the spring.

"Spring protection doesn't stop at the county line," said Lindsay Stevens, Wakulla County's assistant county manager for planning since 2007. "We have a lot of enthusiastic, smart people who have gotten beyond the political boundaries and have really rallied around the issue. I think we are all poised to do something great."

That unified desire to protect the spring has helped foster cooperation between governments, particularly between Wakulla and Leon Counties, said Stevens,.

"We have accomplished a lot, and I think we are going to build on that," she said. "We want to make sure that on both sides of the line we are doing what we need to be doing. We need to be consistent."

Challenging economic times also make it more important than ever for local governments to work together, Lightsey added.

"Regional partnerships are the name of the game right now," she said. "Money is hard to come by for local governments right now, but you can't put everything on hold."

Pattison said politicians have come to recognize the importance of the spring to voters.

"It's a complex problem that needs an inter-governmental approach," he said. "I don't think anybody wants to see the decline of Wakulla Springs happened on their watch."

Public education

Community sensitivity to the problems facing the spring has never been higher, experts say.

"Overall, there is a much greater awareness in the community about what the issues are and how they can get involved," said park manager Brian Fugate.

One-time critics of government stewardship of the spring now have mostly good things to say about restoration efforts.

"Most of the Friends are feeling hopeful," said Jack Leppert, of the citizen's group Friends of Wakulla Springs. "We are beginning to see some improvement."

Leppert said the once-weed choked area in front of his dock down river is clear enough to push a canoe through for the first time in years.

But there is more to do, and organizers of the event are hopeful that members of the public also will take the time to attend the event. Jim Stevenson, coordinator of the Wakulla Springs Basin Working Group, said he's made the scientists promise to speak in layman's terms.

"It has taken 30 years of sloppiness on our part to degrade the spring. It's going to take 30 years of good management practices to restore it," Stevenson said. "Whoever works or lives in the basin has a role to play."

Attend the Wakulla Springshed Restoration Workshop
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26.
Where: Tallahassee Antique Car Museum, U.S. Highway 90 and Interstate 10.
Cost: $30. The fee is payable at the door, but organizers are encouraging early registration by going to the Web site here. The fee covers the cost of lunch the first day, snacks and drinks. For more information, contact Dan Pennington at (850) 222-6277, ext. 105.
Check out the Tallahassee Democrat editorial Saving Wakulla Springs: You Can Do Your Part Right Now for suggested ways to take action today.
Click the picture below
to visit and support Friends of Wakulla Springs:

Endangered manatee at Wakulla Springs.

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

"it's all connected"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 2-13-09


Miami-Dade's stance on urban development boundary: Yes and no
By Fred Grimm
Miami Herald
Miami-Dade County, defending a decision to allow developers to breach the Urban Development Boundary, was up against damning evidence from compelling experts. Those experts just happened to be on the county payroll.

Click the banner above to visit Hold The Line’s website and help protect Miami-Dade’s UDB.

Volunteers work to make sure turtles survive
By Sarah Rose Stewart
Florida Times-Union
Related: Click here to visit the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch website.
Hours before many residents along the beaches of Amelia Island rise on summer mornings, the sea turtles nesting there are hard at work on their lives' ambition: reproduction.

Congressional panel told drilling in gulf off Florida too big of a risk
By Wes Allison
St. Pete Times
Related: Click here to visit Environment Florida’s page on offshore oil drilling.
D.T. Minich, executive director of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday that drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is not worth the risk to the environment and the area's economy.

Gainesville proposes solution for Paynes Prairie pollution
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida Environmental News
Related: Click here to visit the Friends of Paynes Prairie website.
Dirty stormwater runoff laden with nutrients and trash for decades has been spilling onto Paynes Prairie State Preserve near Gainesville before flowing underground into the Floridan Aquifer -- the source of the region's drinking water.

Endangered wood stork at Paynes Prairie


New endangered species: the flatwoods salamander
By Teresa Stepzinski
Florida Times-Union
A shy, diminutive salamander native to South Georgia, North Florida and coastal South Carolina has been listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Endangered Flatwoods Salamander

Environmental group files petition against new nuke plant
By Fred Hiers
Ocala Star-Banner
Related: Click here to read the NIRS petition to the nuclear regulatory agency.
The Ecology Party of Florida has joined the Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS) in an attempt to stop the construction of two proposed nuclear reactors in Levy County.

Dirty energy loan guarantees stripped from compromise stimulus bill
By Sue Sturgis
Facing South
Clean energy advocates scored a victory yesterday when a provision to provide $50 billion worth of taxpayer loan guarantees for new nuclear and high-tech coal plants was stripped out of the final version of the economic stimulus bill negotiated by the House and Senate.

Can developers keep green promises?
By Ludmilla Lelis
Orlando Sentinel
For decades, one of Florida's last huge undeveloped tracts -- 59,000 acres of swamps and pine mostly in southeast Volusia County -- was considered a "sleeping giant," used for timber farming and hunting.

State Senate bill would give voters say on U.S. Sugar deal
By Paul Quinlan
Palm Beach Post
Anger in Tallahassee over Gov. Charlie Crist's $1.34 billion bid to restore the Everglades could help a proposed law that threatens to block financing for the deal.

Powerful chairman criticizes EPA waterways plan
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida Environmental News
The chairman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday criticized a federal plan to set new water quality standards for nutrients in Florida within a year.

Defenders of black bears in Chassahowitzka unhappy as developer moves closer to land swap
By Barbara Behrendt
St. Pete Times
Related: Pasco land swap would be bad for black bears
The planned SunWest Harbourtowne development in Pasco's far northwest corner got a boost Thursday with the approval of a controversial land swap that conservation groups say could lead to the extinction of the black bears in the Chassahowitzka wilderness.

Progress Energy to lower bills 11 percent
By Asjylyn Loder
St. Pete Times
Progress Energy Florida customers reeling from a recent 24 percent increase in their electric bills will get some welcome relief in April, but it may be short-lived.

Everglades: Florida’s Natural Heritage May Not Be Inherited
By Amadu Wiltshire
The University of Tampa Minaret
Over 50 percent of the Everglades have reached the point of no return due to man’s uncaring activities in the region.

Chamber’s plan to block Florida Hometown Democracy discriminates against military, local elections offices
By Kelly Cornelius
Creative Loafing
Here we go again. Is there no end to the dirty tricks the growth machine in Florida is willing to go to in order to stop Florida Hometown Democracy?

Northeast Florida may become a 'caution area'
By Steve Patterson
Florida Times-Union
Aquifer levels will drop seriously in Northeast Florida within 20 years if a growing population doesn’t waste less water, new estimates by water managers warn.

For years, tens of millions of gallons of drinking water have been dumped in Orlando area
By Kevin Spear
Orlando Sentinel
Before you feel guilty about a drippy faucet or a long shower, think about what happens to water inside a patch of southeast Orange County suburbia.

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

"it's all connected"

Friday, February 6, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 2-6-09


Florida heads for U-turn on road mandates for developers
By Aaron Deslatte
Orlando Sentinel
One idea emerging in the Legislature to kick-start Florida's stalled growth engine: repeal the road-building mandates developers hate.

Environmentalists, Navy clash: Planned training range could harm endangered 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.

From state mines to gulf dead zone: the trail of Florida phosphate
By Craig Pittman
St. Pete Times
For a good example of the law of unintended consequences, look no further than the nationwide push to promote ethanol.

Zoning would preserve area's charm
By Laura Lee Corbett
Tallahassee Democrat
Tallahassee has a wonderful opportunity in the coming days and weeks to protect the charm and architectural beauty — and long-term real-estate values — of one of our most unique neighborhoods.

U.S. Sugar deal too costly for state role
By Paul Quinlan
Palm Beach Post
Related: State lawmakers skewer U.S. Sugar deal
Related: Big deal threatens small towns
Related: Lobbyist ties, state appraisers' price concerns cloud U.S. Sugar deal
Gov. Charlie Crist's administration decided to put the full burden of his billion-dollar-plus Everglades initiative on taxpayers in southern Florida so as not to worsen the state's already strained budget, newly released court records show.

Critically endangered Right Whale and calf


Activists jailed for protesting Palm Beach County fossil fuel plant
By Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Community Radio Tampa
In West Palm Beach yesterday, two environmentalists were jailed and five others received probation for protesting the construction of a planned new natural gas fired power plant last February.

Nelson bill aims to ban import, trade of pythons
By Paul Quinlan
Palm Beach Post
It reads like the plot to a budget horror flick: Pythons fill up the Everglades and spread across the southern third of the United States.

Complaints About Progress Energy Increase After Rate Hike
By Yolanda Fernandez
Tampa Tribune
Homeowner Michael Martin says a 25 percent increase in his Progress Energy bills will hit him hard. He says the electricity bill for his 1,500-square-foot home could increase $75 to $150 a month, depending on how much he uses.

Progress Energy to study solar power at coal plants
Staff Report
Ocala Star-Banner
Progress Energy is teaming with the Electric Power Research Institute to examine the possibilities and engineering required to add solar energy panels to the utility company's fossil fuel plants.

Divided flock: Florida welcomes migration of whooping cranes
Staff and wire reports
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The tallest birds in North America have a new home in Florida.

Longliners say new federal rule endangers livelihood
By Stephen Nohlgren,
St. Pete Times
Related: Sea Turtle Restoration Project press release re Commercial Bottom Longline Fishing off Florida’s West Coast
Waiting to unload a boat full of fish last week, veteran crew member Tennessee Dave Kerrick sipped a beer and summed up the anger and resignation that is sweeping Pinellas County's grouper docks. "Everybody else is going out of work because of the economy; we are going out of work because of flipping reptiles."

Gainesville's solar plan attracting attention
By Megan Rolland
Gainesville Sun
As lawmakers attempt to increase Florida's renewable energy supply and decrease the use of volatile and polluting fossil fuels, Gainesville could become a microcosm test site for a different approach.

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

"it's all connected"