Friday, March 19, 2010

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 3-19-10


Wildlife 2060: In the next 50 years..What's at stake for Florida?


Foster Folly News

Nevertheless, like the storybook tortoise, development plods on. And as the hare did, Floridians could learn a lesson from the resolute, slow-moving turtle.

‘Hometown Democracy’ foes offer bogus arguments

By Lauren Ritchie

Orlando Sentinel

you don't have to sort through confusing wording of two competing constitutional amendments — one that would give you absolute power to limit or grant huge developments and a second that was just developers in a tree-hugger's Birkenstocks.

Amendment 4 for livability

By Lesley Blackner

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Amendment 4 isn't on the ballot until November, but our opposition is already in overdrive.

4 or against? There’s more to Hometown Democracy than environment vs. sprawl

By Kate Bradshaw

Creative Loafing Tampa

He approaches the podium in a black turtleneck.

Bill would overhaul Florida water laws

By Kevin Spear

Orlando Sentinel

Virtually every important aspect of water in Florida, from tap to toilet and from storm runoff to bubbling spring, has a place in sweeping legislation unveiled Wednesday by state Sen. Lee Constantine.

Less than three months in, 2010 manatee deaths set annual record

By Karen Voyles

Ocala Star-Banner

Three months into 2010, Florida already has set an annual record for manatee deaths, and the number is expected to continue rising.

Deathly cold: Frigid temps kill record number of manatees

By Eric Staats

Naples Daily News

The largest manatee die-off ever recorded in Florida is playing out in the state’s backwaters and bays this winter.

Information Key to FL Panther Survival

By Glen Gardner

Public News Service Florida

There are only some 100 Florida panthers left in the state, and public awareness may be the key to their long-term survival.

Loggerhead turtles have chance at protection

By Kate Spinner

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Science showing steep declines in the number of loggerhead sea turtles may not be enough for the animal to achieve endangered status under federal law.

Charter committee strikes compromise on environmental standards

By Jeff Burlew

Tallahassee Democrat

Leon County's charter-review committee backed away from a proposal to allow county environmental ordinances to prevail over city ordinances in all instances.

Wood stork fledglings nesting in Fred George Basin, Leon County.


The Big Oil roundup: news and information about Big Oil’s push to rig Florida’s coastline for the week ending 3-19-10:

Atwater Indicates Drilling Bill Will Be a Tough Sell

By Keith Laing

News Service of Florida

Senate President Jeff Atwater said Monday that the debate on oil drilling in Florida waters should be shaped by a recent report that said that new drilling would "have no discernible impact" on gas prices.

Commission: no strong case for drilling off Florida

By Jeremy Wallace

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Opening Florida's Gulf Coast to oil drilling would have almost no impact on prices at the pump or on the state's ongoing budget problems, a nonpartisan commission told a key committee of the Legislature on Monday.

Drilling report's conclusions disappoint both sides

By Jim Ash

Tallahassee Democrat

With its chief proponent saying he is in no hurry, the push to open Florida waters to oil and gas drilling inched past another milestone Monday when a House panel was briefed on a report by a Florida think tank.

Study: Drilling debate over state’s Gulf waters has wider implications

By Kevin Spear

Orlando Sentinel

Florida's debate over whether to open its narrow strip of waters in the Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling is really about a much bigger decision, according to a report done for the state Legislature.

Florida oil: not so much, not so bad?

By Howard Troxler

St. Petersburg Times

Related: Collins Center Report

Last year, when some in our Legislature wanted to throw open Florida's waters to oil drilling right away, the president of our state Senate slowed it down.

New map suggests coastal residents aren't buying off-shore drilling concept

WTXL ABC News Tallahassee

A new map recently released, suggests residents near the coast aren't buying the concept of off-shore drilling.

The fight against nearshore oil drilling in Florida isn’t nearly over

By Cathy Harrelson

Creative Loafing Tampa

The last year could be considered a success in local environmental activism.

Renewable Energy is Florida's Best Bet for Economic and Environmental Security, Not Offshore Drilling

Staff Report

Audubon of Florida

Be in Tallahassee March 22nd and 23rd to voice your concerns about this urgent issue.

When it comes to the drilling debate, what we already have in hand is worth protecting

By Brian Haugen

Destin Log

You’ve heard the old phrase “one in the hand, two in the bush”?

The Trouble with Offshore Drilling

By Regan Nelson

Natural Resources Defense Council

Last Friday, NRDC released this statement in response to the recent energy report issued by the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP).


Write Your State Senator: Big Oil's Promises Are "Empty"

Big Oil and their hired hands in Tallahassee have sworn that drilling Florida’s coast would be “invisible” – that there would be no unsightly rigs just a few miles off our coast. We know different – and a recent eye opening story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has proven Big Oil’s promises completely “empty.” Click the picture above – keeping the pressure on by letting our State Senators know people like you are paying attention is how we’ll beat Big Oil.


Pass a Resolution To Protect Florida's Beaches Now, via Audubon of Florida.
Urge President Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force to recommend against offshore drilling within any previously protected coastal waters, via Defenders of Wildlife.
Tell Obama: Offshore Drilling is NOT the Answer to Energy Crisis, via Oceana.
Help Drill for Solutions Not for Oil, via Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
Let us decide! Petition to Governor Charlie Crist, Senate President Jeff Atwater, and House Speaker Larry Cretul, via Civic Concern.
Contact Your Officials About New Drilling Off Florida's Coasts, via Civic Concern.
Ask your state legislators to keep the rigs out, via Save the Manatee Club.
Write a letter to the editor, via Audubon of Florida.
Write your state legislators, via Audubon of Florida.
Urge Senate President Jeff Atwater to oppose offshore oil drilling, via Progress Florida.
Tell Sen. Atwater Not To Allow Oil Drilling In Special Session, via Audubon of Florida.
Sign the petition against oil drilling, via Protect Florida’s Beaches.
Tell Salazar: No drilling off Florida's Coast, via Environment Florida.
Tell new Senator LeMieux to Repower America, via Environment Florida.
Related action: Don't go drill crazy in the Everglades, via Center for Biological Diversity.
Related action:
Keep oil drilling out of climate change legislation, via Oceana.

Hands Across The Sand website; their Twitter page is here.
Protect Florida’s Beaches, recently launched coalition website.
Protect Florida’s Beaches on Facebook.
Think, Baby, Think blog via Protect Florida’s Beaches.
Don’t Drill Florida website.
Don’t Drill Florida Facebook page.
Save Our Shores Florida website; their Twitter page is here.
Floridians Against Big Oil social network.
Save Our Shores Florida Facebook page.
Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition website.
Environment Florida offshore drilling page.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy offshore drilling page.
Skytruth blog, an excellent source of info.
Not the Answer blog, courtesy Surfrider Foundation.
Eye-opening map of oil and gas leases and infrastructure in Gulf of Mexico, via MMS., online hub of drilling proponents; their Twitter page is here.

Cumulative oil slick "footprint" resulting from the 10-week Montara oil platform blowout and spill that occurred in the Timor Sea off Western Australia in 2009; superimposed on the Gulf coast of Florida for scale. More info here.


Judge shows impatience over Glades cleanup

By Curtis Morgan

Miami Herald

Eighteen months ago, the federal judge overseeing Everglades cleanup progress tentatively endorsed a state bid to buy sugar fields for restoration projects, calling the opportunity to ``buy out the polluters'' a logical solution to long-standing problems.

Palm Beach County questions costs of governor’s Everglades restoration land deal

By Andy Reid

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The numbers for Gov. Charlie Crist's blockbuster Everglades land deal just aren't adding up for Palm Beach County officials worried about seeing local environmental projects sacrificed to help cover the $536 million cost.

Florida water managers weigh cuts, selloffs to finance U.S. Sugar land deal

By Curtis Morgan

Miami Herald

With the odds of borrowing a half-billion bucks growing dicey, water managers are exploring new ways to finance Gov. Charlie Crist's deal with the U.S. Sugar Corp. -- a controversial land buy the governor stood firmly behind Thursday during a South Florida visit.

Burning down: New energy source is running into trouble

By Bruce Ritchie

Florida Tribune

As biomass energy supporters complain of opposition to some biomass projects around the state, a company that is proposing to build two in north Florida has suspended work on one in Gadsden County.

Snake slaying was improper, wildlife officials say

By David Fleshler

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A man who helped kill a Burmese python in front of journalists at a Hallandale Beach processing plant broke the rules governing the hunting of the non-native snakes in the Everglades, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Constantine’s recycling bill would boost reuse of solid waste to 75% by 2020

By Kevin Spear

Orlando Sentinel

State Sen. Lee Constantine's longtime goal of dramatically boosting the recycling of Florida's 32 million tons a year of trash is gaining momentum.

Cement Over Miami

By Kirk Nielsen

Poder 360

In the aggregate, the federal stewards of Everglades restoration are moving quickly to preserve wetland destruction for generations to come.

Sugar deal has turned sour

By Paula Dockery

Miami Herald

Friends of the Everglades were understandably excited when Florida Gov. Charlie Crist unveiled a $1.75 billion deal to buy out U.S. Sugar two years ago, effectively closing down a major polluter of the Everglades.

What's happening to pythons bagged in state-sanctioned hunt?

By David Fleshler

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

For some Burmese pythons captured in the Everglades, the end of the line is a building in a warehouse district of Hallandale Beach.

House proposes to overhaul PSC's structure

By Mary Ellen Klas

Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee Bureau

Florida's Public Service Commission would undergo a complete face lift under a draft House proposal released Tuesday that moves the commission's regulatory staff into a separate entity that answers to the Legislature and tightens qualifications for commissioners.

A Good Deal for the Everglades


New York Times

The effort to restore Florida’s Everglades has been revived thanks to the efforts of President Obama and Florida’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist.

First Coast might need a drink of (river) water soon

By Steve Patterson

Florida Times-Union

State water managers and utilities, some offering determined resistance, are drafting long-term plans for taking drinking water from Northeast Florida’s rivers.

Limbaugh needs tutorial in turtle ways

By Frank Cerabino

Palm Beach Post

Rush Limbaugh's great at using satire to make a point.

Nicer weather raising chances of boaters, whales crossing paths

By Steve Patterson

Florida Times-Union

Jay Smaglis was on his boat with a friend last week, trying to do some reef fishing east of Jacksonville Beach, when a surprise rose up from the ocean.

At Jacksonville Superfund site, Nelson calls for tax shift to pay for cleanups

By Steve Patterson

Florida Times-Union

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson visited a long-vacant Superfund site on Jacksonville's Talleyrand riverfront Monday to say he will try to reinstate taxes on the oil and chemical industries to pay for environmental cleanups at the country's most contaminated places.

Marine waters planning needed to avoid conflicts, panelists say

By Bruce Ritchie

States, industries and scientists should work together to plan for the management and use of natural resources in oceans, panelists at a Florida Oceans Day workshop said Wednesday.

House OKs red tide study

Staff Report

Ft. Myers News-Press

Algae blooms that create red tide, which kill fish and threaten tourism in Florida, would become a focus of government study under legislation the House approved Friday.

Killing solar rebate program throws Florida into reverse


Pensacola News Journal

When it comes to finding energy, the Legislature seems stuck in the past. It would rather talk about drilling for fossil fuels than lighting up Florida's future with renewable energy.

Politics and the environment


Pensacola News Journal

Decades of environmental recklessness have left us depending on the political system to fix problems. And that often creates a bigger mess.

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