Friday, June 12, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 6-12-09


Senate looks to shrink no-drilling zones
By Curtis Morgan
Miami Herald
Offshore oil and gas rigs could move dramatically closer to Florida's coastline -- nearly within sight of pristine Panhandle beaches -- under a provision approved Tuesday by a key Senate panel.

Senate Panel OKs Expanded Oil and Gas Leasing in Eastern Gulf
By Ben Geman and Greenwire
New York Times
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved expanded oil and gas leasing today in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in a bipartisan vote that would upend a 2006 compromise with Florida senators that provided their state at least a 125-mile buffer in most areas until mid-2022.

Offshore-drilling measure could hurt energy bill's chances
By Eun Kyung Kim
Tallahassee Democrat
The latest attempt to open up oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico -- this time as close as 10 miles from pristine Panhandle beaches -- likely will face tough opposition from Senate leaders anxious to avoid jeopardizing major legislation on climate change and renewable energy.

Conservative activists working to overturn Florida's 20-year ban on offshore drilling
By Jim Ash
Tallahassee Democrat
Claiming that offshore drilling is the answer to the nation's addiction to foreign oil, conservative activists are gearing up a constitutional drive to lift Florida's 20-year-old ban.

New Bay Co. airport faces possible DEP fines
By Bruce Ritchie
The Panama City-Bay County Airport Authority is facing possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for potential water quality violations caused by erosion at its new airport now under construction.

Keep Water Management Permit Decisions Public!
Action Alert
Save the Manatee Club
Ask Governor Crist to Veto SB 2080.

Anti-development 'Hometown Democracy' amendment has enough signatures for 2010 ballot, supporters say
By Dara Kam
Palm Beach Post
Related: Hometown Democracy’s website
Backers of a proposed state constitutional amendment that would give residents control over changes to local land-use plans believe they have enough signatures to get onto the 2010 ballot.

Click on the graphic above to sign on to the letter thanking Sen. Nelson for opposing efforts to expand offshore oil drilling to within just miles of Florida’s coastline.


More sprawl feared in bid to boost Florida economy
By Brandon Larrabee
Florida Times-Union
With the economy seemingly in a tailspin and the housing market rocked by the subprime mortgage crisis, developers focused during this year's legislative session on easing laws meant to limit sprawl and manage growth in Florida.

State, federal investigators offer reward for Florida panther killed in Hendry County
By Craig Pittman
St. Petersburg Times
For two months, state and federal wildlife investigators have been trying to figure out who shot a Florida panther and left its carcass to rot.

Water managers hand off permitting duties, despite environmental concerns
By Andy Reid
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Fighting water permits needed for new development and agriculture could soon get harder for South Florida residents worried about strained water supplies.

Controversy catches water bill sponsor by surprise
By Bruce Ritchie
A Senate co-sponsor of a controversial environmental bill says he didn't know it was amended to include a provision that critics say would limit public input on permitting decisions by the state's five water management districts.

Panel offers mixed views on Everglades land buy
By Bruce Ritchie
Representatives of the Everglades Foundation and the Florida Park Service say a revised U.S. Sugar Corp. purchase proposal will help restore the "River of Grass."

Fla. justices agree to expedite initiative ruling
The Associated Press
Tampa Tribune
The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to expedite a decision in a case affecting a petition drive for a ballot proposal that would give voters a say in the development of their communities.

Crist signs invasive species bill
By Bruce Ritchie
Flanked by Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and state Rep. Leonard Bembry, Gov. Charlie Crist this morning signed HB 255 to formalize Florida's participation with other states in battling invasive pests.

Law could damage Crist's environmental reputation
By William March
Tampa Tribune
Gov. Charlie Crist's long-standing reputation as an environmentalist could take a hit because of his signing last week of a controversial bill on growth management.

Drop in state's pollution fines irks group
By William March
Tampa Tribune
An environmental group says that Florida Department of Environmental Protection enforcement actions against polluters have declined.

Beauty Under the Sea
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Foster Folly News
Worldwide, coral reefs provide habitat for more than one million species of plants and animals and support an estimated 25 percent of all marine life.

Florida's Cabinet OKs $5.1M land acquisition
By Paul Flemming
Tallahassee Democrat
Nearly 1,400 acres in Santa Rosa County is now protected from further development and encroachment on Whiting Field Naval Air Station while providing recreation for off-road vehicles, hikers, canoeists and bicyclists.

Senate Bill 360 a circle of ineptitude
By Ron Rae
Tampa Tribune
My hands are shakin' and my knees are weak. I'm so upset my words are much too black and the mood too bleak.

Dizzying SB 360
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Before Charlie Crist flies again, his doctor should check him out.

Again, with feeling: No new drilling
St. Petersburg Times
There is a rhythm to summer that has become as predictable in Washington as it is predatory and senseless: Schools let out, vacation season begins, gas prices rise and opportunists in Congress -- encouraged by Big Oil -- cite the pain at the pump to push for expanding offshore drilling, jeopardizing Florida's priceless coastline.

Make it 'Chill, baby, chill!'
Palm Beach Post
Last fall, Democrats in Washington tried to turn Florida into Louisiana.

Reject power grab on water
St. Petersburg Times
Florida's water resources shouldn't be controlled by just five people across the state.

Oceans in peril
Daytona Beach News-Journal
In observance of World Oceans Day, take a quick look at the land around us in the United States.

Imperiled Florida coral reef

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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