Saturday, April 3, 2010

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the period ending 4-2-10


FEATURED STORIES


Ruling puts U.S. Sugar-Everglades land buy in peril

By Curtis Morgan

Miami Herald

The Miami federal judge overseeing Everglades cleanup issued a ruling Wednesday that could prove the final nail in the coffin of Gov. Charlie Crist's controversial Big Sugar land buy -- or serve as a judicial kick in the butt to finally seal the much-delayed, twice-downsized deal.


Florida for sale? Is the state going to start selling off its land?

By Bruce Ritchie

Florida Tribune

With Florida facing a budget crisis, some legislators say it's time for the state to put some land up for sale that is no longer needed for conservation.


Water bill raises red flag for environmentalists

By Kate Bradshaw

WMNF Community Radio Tampa

Environmentalists say a bill that the Florida House of Representatives is slated to take up next week may adversely impact Florida’s water resources.


Cities and counties told there could be no parks money again this year

By Bruce Ritchie

FloridaEnvironments.com

Representatives of Florida cities and counties were warned Tuesday that there may not be state grant money again this year for their park and open space purchases.


Group wants voters to have a say in growth

By Dale White

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The president of Florida Hometown Democracy, a group pushing a proposed state constitutional amendment that would empower voters to ratify or veto changes in their communities' growth management plans, rallied her local fan base Saturday.


Florida’s government proves itself incapable of managing growth without citizen oversight

By Mariella Smith

Creative Loafing

Even after ruining our economy with a drunken spree of speculative over-building, Florida’s political leaders cannot stop digging us further into the hole, irresponsibly dishing out way too many development approvals to their developer-cronies.


No More Fish? Let Them Eat Cake

By Alan Farago

Counterpunch

A noteworthy report in The New York Times, "In Florida, the Seafood Becomes Less Local", makes the case obvious to anyone with half a brain: the vision of the oceans to be the world's future breadbasket is rapidly fading in the rear view mirror.


Snapper season reduced but catch increased

By Bruce Ritchie

FloridaEnvironments.com

Anglers from Gulf states including Florida will be allowed to catch more red snapper this year but must do so during shortened season under a new federal proposal.


Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary ghost orchid does it again, just early

By Kevin Lollar

Ft. Myers News-Press

Scanning the high branches of an ancient bald cypress with borrowed binoculars Monday in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Robert Firth acquired his target.


'An awful lot of development'

Editorial

Tampa Tribune

Every legislative session, pro-growth lawmakers try to weaken growth rules. This year the pretext is to restore lost construction jobs, as if a worthy motive validates the false assumption that state and local governments have somehow stopped developers.


Sneak attack

Editorial

Florida Today

The development industry’s powerful hold on Florida lawmakers is legendary with last year the ultimate proof.


Watch sneaky lawmakers

Editorial

Tampa Tribune

The Florida Legislature showed last week why it can't be trusted.



Endangered ghost orchid.


THE BIG OIL ROUNDUP


The Big Oil roundup: news and information about Big Oil’s push to rig Florida’s coastline for the week ending 4-2-10:


Map of areas to be opened for offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling under newly unveiled Obama administration proposal.


Obama moves to open Florida coast to drilling

By Alex Leary and Craig Pittman

St. Petersburg Times

Related: Newt Gingrich in St. Petersburg, supports drilling now

Related editorial: Obama gives away too much in oil drilling offer

President Barack Obama moved decisively Wednesday to eliminate a hard-fought federal ban on oil drilling off Florida's west coast, drawing mixed political reaction and outrage from environmentalists.


Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time

By John M. Broder

New York Times

The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling for the first time, officials said Tuesday.


Florida environmentalists blast Obama oil plan

By Lesley Clark

Miami Herald

Excerpt: Progress Florida, which has opposed past efforts to lift bans on offshore oil drilling, reacted quickly to the news. "Offshore drilling, especially drilling as close as 4 miles from Florida's Atlantic beaches, tastes bad no matter which president from whatever party is serving it," said Mark Ferrulo, director of Progress Florida. "The President's support doesn't change the facts, expanded drilling won't lower gas prices and it represents a dirty and dangerous activity that risks catastrophic damage to our beloved beaches."


Could oil-spill disaster happen in Florida? Aussie rig debacle offers lessons

By Kevin Spear

Orlando Sentinel

As the nation's top regulator of offshore drilling, Elmer "Bud" Danenberger was nearing retirement last year when he began to get word of a major rig accident halfway around the world.


Obama's drilling plan stuns Fla. environmentalists, encourages GOP (includes reader poll)

By Michael C. Bender

Palm Beach Post

Oil and gas rigs could drill 105 miles closer to Florida beaches under a plan President Obama said today would strengthen national security and boost the depressed economy.


Obama clears way for oil drilling off eastern Gulf coast (includes reader poll)

By Eric Staats

Naples News

The oil and gas industry should first tap the millions of acres opened in 2006, Progress Florida director Mark Ferrulo said Wednesday. "Every time we give them an inch they take a mile," he said. "Our buffer continues to keep shrinking. We think we just need to draw a line in the Gulf and not let them cross it." Ferrulo said the Obama plan is particularly problematic for the state's Atlantic coast, where drilling would be even closer from shore between Fernandina Beach and Melbourne.


Environmentalists blast Obama's offshore drilling plan as a threat to coastal communities

By Sue Sturgis

Facing South

President Obama wants to open vast expanses of ocean along the Atlantic coastline, eastern Gulf of Mexico and north coast of Alaska to offshore oil and gas drilling -- but concerns are being raised about how the plan would impact coastal ecosystems as well as local economies.


No-take fishing zone is 30 miles from proposed drilling buffer

By Kevin Wadlow

Florida Keys Keynoter

A chart showing areas of possible oil exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico looks like a knife blade aimed at the Gulf Stream current -- cutting close to one of the nation's largest marine preserves. “This could come very close to the Dry Tortugas," said Mark Ferrulo, executive director of Progress Florida. "In terms of distance to the Keys, this is nothing."


Nelson's stand dismays critics of oil drilling

By Jeremy Wallace

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Excerpt: Ferrulo said he is hopeful Nelson will drive a harder bargain when the legislation makes it into the Senate for debate.


Florida's political opposition to offshore drilling erodes

By Alex Leary

St. Petersburg Times

"If they were sitting around the White House knowing that Florida would rise up in an apoplectic uproar, chance is this proposal would have looked a lot different," Mark Ferrulo of Progress Florida, which tracks the oil debate, said Thursday.


Risk Is Clear in Drilling; Payoff Isn’t

By John M. Broder and Clifford Krauss

New York Times

Related: Obama's Offshore Drilling Pitch Sways Few Fence-Sitters on Climate Bill

Related: No Production From Obama's Offshore Drilling Proposal Until at Least 2014, MMS Says

In proposing a major expansion of offshore oil and gas development, President Obama set out to fashion a carefully balanced plan that would attract bipartisan support for climate and energy legislation while increasing production of domestic oil.


Offshore drilling: Did Rahm Emanuel sell out too soon?

By Joe Conason

Salon

With President Obama's announcement that he will reopen offshore drilling, in the absence of any reciprocal commitment from Republicans to support carbon caps and alternative energy development, there is now an unmistakable pattern of White House strategy.


The Risks, Benefits of Off-Shore Drilling for Florida (includes audio)

By Scott Finn

WUSF Public Radio Tampa

In the wake of President Obama’s announcement to expand offshore oil and gas drilling, people in Florida are struggling to weigh its potential risks and benefits to the state.


Florida Democrats opinions mixed in on President Obama’s proposal to open eastern Gulf for oil and gas exploration

By Mitch Perry

Creative Loafing

Environmental activists are angry, while Florida Democrats more mixed in discussing President Obama’s announcement today to allow for drilling along the eastern Gulf of Mexico as part of his plan to open up a total of 167 million along the Atlantic coastline and the north coast of Alaska


Sea grass protection tangled up in offshore oil drilling

By Dan DeWitt

St. Petersburg Times

Last year, we wrote about the mapping of an under-appreciated natural treasure: a 380,000-acre sea grass bed — the second-largest in the nation — off the coast of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.


Hands Across the Sand protests at Newt Gingrich’s Town Hall

By Heidi Lux

Creative Loafing Tampa

Hands Across the Sand — a Florida anti-offshore drilling movement — staged a protest in front of Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions town hall meeting at the Vinoy in Downtown St. Petersburg.


Powerful restaurant and hotel group says don't take up drilling

By Bruce Ritchie

FloridaEnvironments.com

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is opposing offshore oil and gas drilling and is asking the Legislature not to take up the issue before the session ends on April 30.


Fool's gold

By Patrick Ferry

Northwest Florida Daily News

Now that oil lobbyists have showered sufficient money upon Florida’s legislators to render many of them analytically brain-dead, they are taking their case to “the people,” assuring Floridians that opening coastal waters to oil drilling will improve domestic security and lower gas prices.


Wrong way on energy

Editorial

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

President Barack Obama's proposal to expand offshore oil and gas drilling shows a disappointing lack of foresight and creativity toward meeting our nation's future energy needs.


Drilling plan: Good politics, bad policy

Editorial

Miami Herald

President Obama's expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling in Florida may be good politics, but it's bad policy.


Black gold, Florida snake oil

Editorial

Daytona Beach News-Journal

So, as Florida's drilling supporters drool over royalty millions, they will do well to remember that beach-related tourism accounts for roughly $50 billion a year, or 10 percent of the state's entire economy.


Shelve state drilling plan: Push might be off for this year, back on for next year

Editorial

Palm Beach Post

Five weeks remain in the legislative session, and until the handkerchief drops on April 30, Tallahassee remains capable of mischief.


Oil spills kill.


TAKE ACTION NOW


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.


ACTIONS OPPOSING OBAMA’S DRILLING PLAN
President Obama, Drilling Is Not the Answer, via Friends of the Earth.
Tell President Obama You Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling, via Endangered Species Coalition.
Don’t Sacrifice the Oceans in the Name of Climate Change, via Oceana.
MORE ONLINE ACTIONS
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.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES OF NOTE
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.
EnergyFLA.com, online hub of drilling proponents; their Twitter page is here.


MORE GREEN NEWS


Amendment 4 empowers citizens to vote on their community’s future

By Andrew Dickman

Naples News

Florida’s 1985 Growth Management Act was a promise to all Floridians that they would have a fair say in decisions about the future of their communities.


Carl Hiaasen backs Hometown Democracy

By Abel Harding

Florida Times-Union

Carl Hiaasen, the legendary Miami Herald columnist, has endorsed the Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment, more commonly known as Amendment 4.


Pasco County Commission Approves Huge Coastal Development

By Kate Bradshaw

WMNF Community Radio

Today the Pasco County Commission voted unanimously to approve a large development in the county’s northwest corner.


Survey shows most Floridians support 'Hometown Democracy' amendment, oil drilling

By Jeff Burlew

Tallahassee Democrat

Most Floridians support the “Hometown Democracy” constitutional amendment but not in high enough numbers to pass the controversial measure this fall, according to the fourth annual Sunshine State survey, released today.


New poll shows Hometown Democracy has majority support, but not enough to pass

By Mitch Perry

Creative Loafing

One of the most interesting state wide races this year will Amendment Four, the Hometown Democracy Amendment.


Florida Association of Counties opposition to Amendment 4 is no surprise to Florida Hometown

Staff Report

The Bradenton Times

It’s no surprise that the Florida Association of Counties voted yesterday to oppose Florida Hometown Democracy/Amendment 4, a citizen’s reform which will appear on the November ballot.


Did TBARTA break the law in voting to oppose Hometown Democracy?

By Mariella Smith

Creative Loafing Tampa

It’s not surprising that TBARTA (Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority) passed a resolution opposing Amendment 4, also known as Florida Hometown Democracy.


Feds thinking of new protections for newts of North Florida, South Georgia

By Steve Patterson

Florida Times-Union

The striped newt is adaptable enough to breathe through gills in small ponds, then shed its gills, breathe straight air and head for the forest when the ponds dry up.


Group Wants to Stop Swims With Crystal River Manatees

By Barbara Behrendt

St. Petersburg Times

Citing record manatee deaths this year, an environmental watchdog group wants to close the popular Kings Spring in Crystal River to swimmers and divers.


Boating restrictions may be tightened in Broward to protect manatees

By David Fleshler

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Hated by many boaters and defended by environmentalists, slow-speed zones on Broward County's waterways may soon see their first changes in 17 years.


Florida sugar growers sue to stop regulation under Clean Water Act

By Paul Quinlan

Palm Beach Post

Two of the nation's largest sugar growers, Florida Crystals Corp. and U.S. Sugar Corp., are fighting a new push from the federal government to regulate them under the Clean Water Act.


Judge orders restart of Everglades reservoir project and questions governor's massive land-buy plan

By Paul Quinlan

Palm Beach Post

The federal judge overseeing Everglades cleanup issued a ruling Wednesday that could be the death knell for Gov. Charlie Crist's controversial Everglades restoration land deal with U.S. Sugar Corp.


Water worries for area

By Nathan Crabbe

Gainesville Sun

Gainesville residents are being confronted with a choice: Ease off the tap or prepare to get your drinking water from the Atlantic Ocean or Ocklawaha River.


Florida Legislature must keep Department of Community Affairs in its current form

Editorial

TC Palm

The state of Florida’s most important agency in the effort to properly manage growth is under scrutiny. Again.


Florida's lagging

Editorial

Tallahassee Democrat

The South as a region, and Florida in particular, are trailing behind most of the nation in setting basic standards and goals for renewable energy.


Threatened striped newt.



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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1 comment:

sam said...

What an interesting and nice blog,though I haven't read all the reports but I still enjoyed reading some articles like "Florida for sale? Is the state going to start selling off its land?","The Risks, Benefits of Off-Shore Drilling for Florida " and lastly "Powerful restaurant and hotel group says don't take up drilling"..Thanks a lot for posting these reports..Good post.!
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