Friday, August 28, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 8-28-09


Senator Nelson: No drilling off Florida's coast (includes audio)
By Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Community Radio Tampa
Related: Sierra Club Report: Don’t Rig Our Coastal Economy
Senator Bill Nelson said today he will do whatever it takes to make sure a proposal to allow offshore drilling near Florida's coast is rejected in the Senate.

Sen. Landrieu's plan to export Louisiana's coastal destruction to Florida
By Sue Sturgis
Facing South
While Louisiana struggles to restore coastal wetlands ravaged in large part by decades of oil and gas drilling, its senior senator is leading the effort to lift the ban on drilling off Florida's Panhandle.

State Amendment 4 Opposition is The Pot Calling The Kettle Black
By Jill Elverton
Eye On Miami
I keep getting news releases from this young man, Ryan Houck, (who worked for U.S. Senator Martinez) of Floridians for Smarter Growth.

Florida's growth management boss fends off developers' criticism
By Michael Van Sickler
St. Petersburg Times
All summer, Tom Pelham has been Public Enemy No. 1 for developers unhappy with his interpretation of a law passed this year designed to ease regulation of growth.

Judge: Water managers can borrow $650 million for U.S. Sugar deal
By Tony Doris
Palm Beach Post
Water managers' plans to buy a vast swath of sugar cane land for Everglades restoration got a boost today when a judge cleared them to borrow $650 million for the initial purchase.

Florida environmental projects rescued
By Jim Ash
Tallahassee Democrat
For the first time in 20 years, the governor and Cabinet on Tuesday approved a priority list for the nation's largest environmental land buying program without any new money to pay for it.

Future of Apalachicola Bay Hangs on Water Battle (audio story)
By Margie Menzel
WFSU Public Radio Tallahassee
The 19-year court battle among Florida, Georgia and Alabama over the river system they share has flared up again.

Coming to a beach near you? Joel Sandoval, a spill response worker with Miller Environmental, tosses a bag with sand and tar on top of more than a dozen other bags Tuesday, July 28, 2009, as he and other workers clean tar off Malaquite Beach in Corpus Christi, Texas.


Climate panel rejects scrapping energy test
By Bruce Ritchie
A state climate panel today rejected a commissioner's recommendation for Florida to replace its test for analyzing energy programs -- a test that environmentalists have argued is a barrier to conservation.

As loggerhead populations decline, group wants turtle on endangered list
By Kevin Lollar
Ft. Myers News-Press
A recent report states that most populations of loggerhead sea turtles worldwide, including those that nest on Southwest Florida beaches, are at risk of extinction.

Eliminate bottom longlines altogether
By Gary Appelson
Tallahassee Democrat
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has an excellent record of protecting Florida's marine resources and safeguarding our coasts from oil and gas development to sustain our unique environment, economy and way of life.

Is it finally time to drill for oil of Florida's coast?
Two views on the topic.
Florida Times-Union
Advocates for oil drilling off the coast of Florida appear to be gathering momentum as the state seeks much-needed revenue and more jobs.

State senator backs drilling off Gulf Coast
By Rick Neale
Florida Today
Florida lawmakers should open the Gulf Coast to offshore oil drilling to help fund schools, State Sen. Mike Haridopolos believes.

EPA Agrees to Set Limits on Florida Fertilizer and Waste Pollution (includes audio)
By Gina Presson
Public News Service Florida
The Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups represented by Earthjustice have negotiated a deal to set limits on the amount of fertilizer and waste that can be released into Florida's waterways.

Environmental group wants to extend coral reef protection
By David Fleshler
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
An environmental group has petitioned the federal government to extend a coral protection zone 15 miles up the Palm Beach County coast, where it could interfere with plans to widen eroded beaches.

In the Florida Keys, staghorn, elkhorn coral making a comeback
By Curtis Morgan
Miami Herald
Every August or September on nights following a full moon, divers descend into the dark, warm waters off the Florida Keys to watch group sex -- a fascinating reproductive eruption known as the annual coral spawn.

Ag Commissioner Bronson pushes conservation easements
By Bruce Ritchie
Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet on Tuesday approved a new conservation lands purchase list but only after Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson insisted that the elected panel also should approve a state work plan for buying land.

Drilling debate digs for real solutions
By Bill Cotterell
Tallahassee Democrat
The head of Florida's most powerful business group said Thursday a "radical left-wing fringe" of voters is stopping the state from cashing in on offshore oil drilling.

Pro-Drilling, Anti-Carbon Cap (audio story)
By Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Radio Tampa
A group calling themselves Energy Citizens held a rally that included a glossy video presentation, live music and Cuban sandwiches.

Political clout bolsters FPL push for rate increase
By Mary Ellen Klas
Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee Bureau
Related: FPL chief says his $3.6 million pay is justified
Related: Sparks fly as FPL rate-increase hearing opens
When Florida's largest electric utility goes to state regulators Monday to ask for permission to dramatically raise rates, it will have recent history, powerful supporters and financial clout on its side.

Beaches Energy weighs nuclear energy option
By Caren Burmeister
Florida Times-Union
The Beaches-area electric utility could tap into the first nuclear power plant to be built in Florida since 1976 as part of a long-term plan to diversify energy resources and limit pollution and price fluctuations.

Citrus County residents plan protest of proposed nuclear plant
Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times
Angered by Progress Energy Florida's proposed rate hikes, a group of Citrus County residents are taking their opposition of the utility to the streets and the media.

Editorial cartoon by Andy Marlette, Pensacola News Journal.

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, August 21, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 8-21-09



Fla. could run out of land-buying money by Oct. 1
By Bruce Ritchie
Related: Ranking system urged to save nation's largest land-buying program
Florida could be out of money for buying conservation lands by Oct. 1 unless new bonds are issued to allow purchases.

Fla. Governor's Moves Scrutinized for Clues to U.S. Climate Debate
By Alex Kaplun
New York Times
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is getting intense heat from his party's right wing over his support of climate legislation, fueling speculation that the popular politician may move away from "pro-green" positions that have been praised by top Democrats and environmentalists.

Activists criticize pro-oil rallies (includes audio)
By Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Community Radio Tampa
Next Thursday in Ybor City, a rally is being organized by Energy Citizens, a pro-oil, anti-cap-and-trade group.

Forget Russians; fear Texas oilmen
By Eric Draper
TC Palm
In the 1960s comedy “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming,” coastal villagers and hapless sailors almost start a war as their imaginations get the best of them.

FWC invites public comments on endangered and threatened species listing changes
Staff Report
Foster Folly News
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a meeting for the public to comment on draft rules for the state’s imperiled species listing process.

Florida's utilities want to build, not conserve
By Stephen Smith
Tallahassee Democrat
Last week was a big one for Florida utilities in Tallahassee.

Sea turtle hatchlings get running start to a life full of peril
By Terry Tomalin
St. Petersburg Times
This evening, shortly after sunset, Jim Wilson plans to dig a hole in the sand and look for stragglers in nest No. 22.

So long, Gov. Green, vanishing in political smog
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Two years ago, Gov. Charlie Crist looked more green than tanned. In a single day, he signed three executive orders that set Florida on an environmental course as progressive as California's.

Sea turtle hatchling looking to beat the odds.


Ruling on Longline Fishing Aids Turtles
By Cornelia Dean
New York Times
When a federal panel that regulates fishing in the Gulf of Mexico voted last week to limit the use of longlines to catch grouper because the lines can snag and drown threatened loggerhead sea turtles, no one was completely satisfied with the decision.

One Person’s Boondoggle, Another’s Necessity
By Michael Cooper
New York Times
The $14.7 million for a new airport on an Alaskan island that averages only 42 flights a month.

Land swap helps St. Johns River stay wild
By Kevin Spear
Orlando Sentinel
Authorities are on the verge of finally assembling a vast sanctuary along a Central Florida stretch of the biggest and most beleaguered river within the state.

We can protect turtles and fishermen
By Sen. Bill Nelson
Tallahassee Democrat
One of the things I've tried to do in the U.S Senate is to protect Florida's marine resources, upon which many livelihoods depend.

Lobbyist hisses: Give snakes fair shake
By Frank Cerabino
Palm Beach Post
For Andrew Wyatt, a fascination with snakes began when he was the son of an American serviceman stationed in India.

Crist checks out beach erosion in Destin
By Tom McLaughlin
Northwest Florida Daily News
Gov. Charlie Crist traveled to Destin Monday to survey damage done by Tropical Storm Claudette.

Gator hunters taunt protesters as season starts
By Jerome Burdi
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Gator meat tastes like chicken," and "Going to get a few of them right now" are some of the jeers tossed at a handful of alligator-hunt protesters holding signs that read: "If you respect them, protect them" and "Ban gator hunt."

Crist considers meeting with Ala., Ga. in water dispute
By Michael Peltier
News Service of Florida via
Gov. Charlie Crist is mulling over dates to meet with his counterparts from Alabama and Georgia as leaders of the three neighboring states try to resolve a longstanding feud over how to divvy up water coming from Lake Lanier.

Regulators: FPL must reveal executives' salaries
By Mary Ellen Klas
Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee Bureau
State regulators on Tuesday unanimously voted to force Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy to disclose how much they pay their top executives. FPL's response: We'll see you in court.

FPL says bills will go down
Staff Report
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Florida Power and Light -- under attack for a proposed rate increase and with questions being raised about its executive compensation -- said that it expects its overall customer rates to drop about 8.3 percent in 2010.

Mercury In Fish Widespread (audio story)
By Trimmel Gomes
WFSU Public Radio Tallahassee
A federal study out Wednesday shows that mercury in fish is widespread across the country, and some of the highest levels of contamination are found right here in Florida.

Polluted policy
St. Petersburg Times
Taxpayers in Florida and across the nation are spending billions of dollars to restore the Everglades.

Back on Everglades track
Palm Beach Post
When it comes to restoring the Everglades, an agreement on science may be only as good as an agreement on finances.

Endangered wood storks and others in Everglades National Park.

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, August 14, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 8-14-09


Scientists: Development draining St. Johns springs
By Steve Patterson
Florida Times-Union
Some springs that feed the St. Johns River are producing less water, likely because of spreading development around them, a team of federal scientists has found.

Third proposal surfaces for pumping water for public use from St. Johns River
By Kevin Spear
Orlando Sentinel
Orange County and a half-dozen Central Florida cities are getting ready to spend $5 million to draw up what could become another controversial plan to pump water from the St. Johns River.

By Dana Summers, Orlando Sentinel.

U.S., Florida reach Everglades restoration deal
By Curtis Morgan
Miami Herald
Water managers and the White House signed a crucial contract Thursday that promises a much-needed infusion of federal dollars for the Everglades.

Crist, Cabinet okay Progress Energy's nuclear power plant in Levy County
By Shannon Colavecchio
St. Petersburg Times
The governor and Cabinet on Tuesday approved Progress Energy's controversial proposal to build a nuclear plant in Levy County, the first such plant approved in Florida in 33 years.

Crist averts GOP heat, tables climate summit
By Michael C. Bender
Palm Beach Post
Gov. Charlie Crist's plans for a third high-profile climate summit have been indefinitely postponed as the Republican weighs the political cost of the event's expensive price tag.

Lehigh Acres: Florida's lesson in unregulated growth
By Kris Hundley
St. Petersburg Times
Hoping to jump start the economy, Florida lawmakers have eased the rules on developers.

Commercial sustainability in North Florida requires collaborative effort
By Will Brown
Tallahassee Democrat
There may be an “I” in sustainability, but the term is certainly not something that can be done by individuals alone or on an isolated basis.

St. Johns River near Blue Spring State Park.


Florida to unveil rules for listing imperiled species
Staff Report
Tampa Tribune
The state will unveil draft rules Monday night for listing imperiled species.

The Future of Florida Bay
By Alan Farago
Can Florida Bay be restored? Yes.

Florida, federal government declare truce in Everglades money war
By Paul Quinlan
Palm Beach Post
After eight years of wrangling, the state and federal government have come to terms on how to split the multibillion-dollar cost of restoring the Everglades, clearing the way for the money that President Obama has pledged to the effort.

Gov. Crist still upbeat on Everglades deal
By Michael Peltier
Naples News
Despite legal challenges that may stall the project, Gov. Charlie Crist continues to support the $536 million plan with U.S. Sugar Corp. to buy 73,000 acres in the Everglades.

Environmentalists call for more green jobs in Florida (includes audio)
By Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Community Radio Tampa
Although health care is the raging issue in Washington and across the country, U.S. Senators are also likely to take up climate change when they return from the August recess next month.

Nuclear Plant Protest
By Whitney Ray
Capitol News Service
For the first time in 33 years, the state cabinet approved plans to build a nuclear power plant.

Off-Shore Drilling: Opportunity or Mistake?
By Heather Biance
WCTV CBS News Tallahassee
Floridians guzzle 10.4 billion gallons of gas and diesel each year, making the Sunshine State the third largest consumer in the nation.

Enviros, utility reps clash over RIM test
By Bruce Ritchie
Representatives of utilities and environmental groups disagreed today on whether the Florida Public Service Commission now is required to use a new test to analyze utility conservation programs.

Florida lawmakers could force ban of Burmese pythons
By Catherine Dolinski
Tampa Tribune
Lawmakers may force the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to ban sales of Burmese pythons and other dangerous reptiles if the agency fails to act on its own.

U.S. regulators cut longline grouper fleet by 50%
By Stephen Nohlgren
St. Petersburg Times
Federal regulators decided Thursday to cut Florida's longline grouper fleet in half to protect loggerhead turtles.

Cockaded woodpeckers need your help
By Terry Pelican
Pensacola News Journal
Liz Langston is looking out for a few of our feathered friends.

Nesting numbers continue to decline for loggerhead sea turtle
By Whitney Bryen
Naples News
At 6:30 a.m., the sand on Vanderbilt Beach is void of yesterday’s footprints and sand castles as the sun rises over downtown Naples to the south.

Sea Turtle Workshop (includes video)
Georgia is preparing to step up its offensive in the long-running battle with its neighbors over federal water rights by focusing on Florida's environmental record and dredging up a 150-year-old ruling that could give Alabama less control of a key river, Gov. Sonny Perdue said last week.

Limpkin on the St. Johns River near Blue Spring State Park.

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, August 7, 2009

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 8-7-09


Florida Bay's ecology on the brink of collapse
By Brian Skoloff
The Associated Press
Boat captain Tad Burke looks out over Florida Bay and sees an ecosystem that's dying as politicians, land owners and environmentalists bicker.

Pipeline Leak in Gulf: Oil Spills Do Happen
Staff Report
Lakeland Ledger
Some 63,000 gallons of crude leaked from a cracked oil pipeline 30 miles off the Louisiana coast late last month.

Chance at $2.3B a year spurs Florida politicos to rethink oil-rig opposition
By Aaron Deslatte
Orlando Sentinel
Congress is offering Florida potentially billions of dollars in royalties if the state bows to the growing clamor to expand oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.

Both Major Candidates for Florida Governor Oppose Offshore Drilling (audio story)
By Tom Flanagan
WFSU Public Radio Tallahassee
Neither the Democratic nor Republican candidates for Florida governor seem impressed by the growing clamor for oil and gas drilling off the state's coast.

Charlie Crist cooling on climate change
By Marc Caputo
Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee Bureau
Gov. Charlie Crist is cooling to global warming.

Judge to decide next step for U.S. Sugar land deal
By Curtis Morgan
Miami Herald
Water managers once hoped their plan to borrow as much as $2.2 billion for Gov. Charlie Crist's land deal with U.S. Sugar would breeze through judicial approval, setting aside just three hours for the hearing seven months ago.

Study points to carbon-capture benefits of Florida public lands
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida's state parks, forests and other public lands some day could pay millions of dollars to the state annually for the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are captured and stored in plants and soils, according to a recent study.

Navy Does FL Right Whales a Wrong (includes audio)
By Glen Gardner
Public News Service Florida
Groups in Florida committed to protecting the North Atlantic right whale say the Navy has made an end run around environmental protections in announcing construction of its Undersea Warfare Training Range off the Florida and Georgia coasts.

DEP requests approval of Levy Co. nuke plan
By Bruce Ritchie
Take action: August 11th Tallahassee meeting info from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is asking the governor and Cabinet to approve Progress Energy's site application to build a nuclear power plant on 3,105 acres in Levy County.

From nature coast to nuclear coast: groups working to oppose Progress Energy’s Levy County nuclear plant include Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, the Green Party of Florida and


Burmese Python Hunt Extended
By Whitney Ray
Capitol News Service
Related: Governor visits FWC
The open season on Burmese pythons is being extended past its October 31st end date.

Neither Sink nor McCollum endorse Crist climate goals
By Bruce Ritchie
With CFO Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum ahead early as the leading candidates for governor, neither is being specific on whether they would keep the state's greenhouse gas reduction goals put in place by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Clyde Butcher continues to capture mystique of the Everglades
By Jeff Klinkenberg
St. Petersburg Times
As much as I love Clyde Butcher's Everglades photographs, I think I love watching him take a photograph even more.

Panther killed on I-75
By Eric Staats
Naples News
A Florida panther was struck by a semitrailer and killed overnight near mile marker 90 on Interstate 75 in Collier County, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Brazen Young Panther Killed a Long Way From Home
By Lisa Rab
Broward New Times
​Males. When they're young and brash, trying to mark their territory and impress girls, there's no telling what they'll do. Run off to Georgia, even, and get themselves killed.

Rough year for turtle hatchlings
By Kate Spinner
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Dozens of sea turtle nests are hatching now, but street and residential lights are drawing hundreds of them away from the water, according Mote Marine Laboratory.

Anglers Divided Over New Florida License Program
By Damien Cave
New York Times
One of the few things Eddy Corea enjoys since being laid off 18 months ago is fishing from the shore.

Scientists searching for elusive largetooth sawfish
By Neil Johnson
Tampa Tribune
Scientists will spend the next three months looking for what may be a phantom with fins.

State parks feeling budget cuts
By Amanda Nalley
Tallahassee Democrat
Stabilizing the Lake Overstreet trails at Maclay Gardens State Park is high on the park's priority list for maintenance requests. The estimated cost: $30,000.

Experts reduce hurricane season forecast
By Eliot Kleinberg
Palm Beach Post
El Niño's emergence has led the Colorado State University team of William Gray and Phil Klotzbach to reduce their forecast for this hurricane season.

Dispute over Everglades funding finally settled
By Curtis Morgan
Miami Herald
After eight years of bickering, the state and the federal government have finally shaken hands on how to split the massive bill to restore the Everglades.

Public needs a voice in land-use changes
By Daniel Shoer Roth
Miami Herald
The epic battle waged by Lowe's to build a superstore on land protected by Miami-Dade's Urban Development Boundary ended last week when Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet voted against the home-improvement chain.

The truth about Florida Hometown Democracy
By George Niemann
Hernando Today
The person on the street, pretty much anywhere in Florida, will attest to the fact that we all have seen the way we live change significantly as a result of Florida's booming growth.

Offshore drilling risks offset rewards
By Roland Loog
Gainesville Sun
Related editorial: Messy business
With our economy facing many challenges, offshore oil drilling has become an increasingly important topic for Floridians.

The Gulf and the 10th Amendment (audio story)
By James Call
WFSU Public Radio Tallahassee
Pressure is growing to allow drilling off Florida's Gulf coast.

Push back on drill push
Palm Beach Post
The bill is labeled "The Domestic Energy Security Act of 2009," but the more accurate name would be "The Help Louisiana and Alaska at the Expense of Florida Act of 2009."

Nothing slick about spills
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Some 63,000 gallons of crude leaked from a cracked oil pipeline 30 miles off the Louisiana coast last weekend.

Keep Florida safe from offshore drilling
Miami Herald
When the Florida House of Representatives this spring passed a bill to allow oil and gas drilling three miles off Florida's coast, Senate President Jeff Atwater called the measure ``dead in the water,'' and it went nowhere.

Endangered wood stork soaring above Fred George Basin, June 2009.

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"