Friday, April 30, 2010

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 4-30-10

Note: see the Big Oil Roundup below for complete oil spill coverage.


Developers Poor-Mouth While Pumping Millions Into Denying People’s Right To Vote

By Florida Hometown Democracy

The Bradenton Times

The real estate speculators’ latest online video against Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment 4 is a dramatic piece of work, courtesy of skilled political spinners, and it is designed to scare people away from getting their right to vote.

Water bill goes to governor but springs program could get cut

By Bruce Ritchie

A springs program launched in 2001 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush would be sharply cut by the Legislature in its proposed 2010-11 state budget even as the Senate on Thursday gave final approval to a bill aimed at protecting springs.

Groups rally for action on Florida DCA

By Bruce Ritchie

Representatives of eleven environmental groups called on the House Monday to adopt legislation reauthorizing the state's land planning agency.

Renewable energy plan put on hold

By Mary Ellen Klas

St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Florida legislators had second thoughts Monday about a plan to let Florida's four largest utility companies bypass the rate-setting process and raise customers' electric rates by $772 million for renewable energy projects by 2013.

A shameful record on protecting the panther


St. Petersburg Times

The federal government's shameful record of protecting the Florida panther is leading the state's official animal straight to its extinction.


The Big Oil roundup: news and information about Big Oil’s push to rig Florida’s coastline for the week ending 4-30-10:

Heavy winds and high tides hamper Gulf oil fight

By Cain Burdeau

The Associated Press

Related: Crist declares potential 'major disaster' in Florida from oil spill

Special report: Oil spill cleanup in the gulf

Heavy winds and high tides complicated efforts to hold back oil that threatened to coat birds and other marine life as it oozed ashore from the Gulf of Mexico on Friday.

Oil slick oozes closer, grows bigger

The Associated Press

Pensacola News Journal

Related: Six lawsuits filed against BP, other companies

Related: Oil barriers go up along local waterways

Related editorial: What 'risk' really means

An oil spill that threatened to eclipse even the Exxon Valdez disaster spread out of control with a faint sheen washing ashore along the Gulf Coast on Thursday night as fishermen rushed to scoop up shrimp and crews spread floating barriers around marshes.

Officials: Leaks spewing more oil into Gulf

By Cain Burdeau

The Associated Press

A massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is even worse than believed and as the government grows concerned that the rig's operator is ill-equipped to contain it, officials are offering a military response to try to avert a massive environmental disaster along the ecologically fragile U.S. coastline.

Crist says oil spill proves drilling isn't safe, withdraws his support

By Marc Caputo, Mary Ellen Klas and Craig Pittman

St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Related editorial: Oil spill opens minds to threat to Florida beaches

The oil spill spreading across the Gulf of Mexico is sending ripples through Florida and national politics, giving Gov. Charlie Crist a reason to withdraw his support for offshore drilling.

Gulf oil spill could eventually foul South Florida beaches

By Curtis Morgan

Miami Herald

Scrambling to head off looming ecological disaster, the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday set fire to an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico -- already the size of Miami-Dade County and expanding -- from a blown-out drilling rig spewing some 42,000 barrels of crude a day.

DEP: Response team ready to act when oil reaches Fla.

By Paul Flemming

Tallahassee Democrat

Florida emergency responders continued to monitor the massive, growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, ready to join the multistate and federal effort to contain it.

Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Florida, Louisiana face worst disaster in US history

By Maryann Tobin

Hernando County Political Buzz Examiner

In an effort to save the lives of thousands of birds, marine life and miles of environmentally sensitive coastline, the US Coast Guard is planning to set the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on fire.

Nelson calls for halt to offshore energy exploration

By William Gibson

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

While the White House promises a full-fledged effort to plug a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Senator Bill Nelson on Thursday urged President Obama to call a halt to exploratory drilling in coastal waters.

10 Animals Most At Risk from Gulf Oil Spill

By Julia Kumari Drapkin

CBS News

Oil is spreading across the Gulf of Mexico -- the result of the sinking of an oil rig last week. A spill of this magnitude so close to the wetlands, estuaries and national fisheries of south Louisiana is unprecedented.

Oil rig springs new leak, tar balls could hit Panhandle

Staff Report

Northwest Florida Daily News

The Coast Guard says a new leak has been found at the site where a oil platform exploded and sank off in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil spill may put Florida wildlife at risk

By Thomas Stewart

Gainesville Sun

Though the threat seems to be focused on Louisiana's coastline for the time being, officials say Florida's coast could be hit by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as well, which local experts say would come at the worst time and affect some of the state's most unspoiled beaches.

Oil spill probably won't hit Florida's Panhandle beaches this weekend

By Paul Flemming

Tallahassee Democrat

A massive oil slick from a collapsed rig 130 miles off the coast of New Orleans is so big it's "humbling," but probably won't hit Florida's pristine Panhandle beaches this weekend, Florida's top environmental regulator told Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday.

Haridopolos says oil spill 'gives me pause' on pursuit of drilling in Florida

By Mary Ellen Klas

St. Petersburg Times

Sen. Mike Haridopolos, the Senate's incoming Senate president who along with incoming House Speaker Rep. Dean Cannon had expected to push for oil exploration when they take office next year, said he is having second thoughts in the wake of the spill off the Louisiana Coast.

Castor, Young seek bigger buffer for drilling

By Rob Shaw

Tampa Tribune

Kathy Castor doesn't want offshore oil drilling – and the potential environmental dangers that can go with it -- anywhere near her home turf.

Dead Birds Washing Up on Florida Beaches

By Bobbie O’Brien

WUSF Public Radio Tampa

Dead birds have been washing up on Pinellas County beaches over the past few days.

Oil spill in Gulf could threaten Florida

By Craig Pittman

St. Petersburg Times

An oil spill from a rig that sank off the coast of Louisiana is threatening marshes and beaches across the Gulf Coast, and unless it's contained it could wind up tainting the Florida Keys and perhaps the state's Atlantic coast, oceanography experts said Monday.

Oil spill poses real risks for Florida

By Dale White

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Excerpt: Ferrulo noted that some state legislators favor drilling within three miles of Florida's coast. "If this spill happened just three miles off our coast, how many people from around the world would be cancelling hotel reservations," Ferrulo said. The state could require years to recover from the damage to coastlines and fisheries, Ferrulo said. "Our coast defines us around the world."

Robots Work to Stop Leak of Oil in Gulf

By Campbell Robertson and Clifford Krauss

New York Times

Oil continued to pour into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday as the authorities waited to see if the quickest possible method of stopping the leaks would bring an end to what was threatening to become an environmental disaster.

Big Oil Fought Off New Safety Rules Before Rig Disaster

By Marcus Baram

Huffington Post

As families mourn the 11 workers thrown overboard in the worst oil rig disaster in decades and as the resulting spill continues to spread through the Gulf of Mexico, new questions are being raised about the training of the drill operators and about the oil company's commitment to safety.

'Drill, Baby, Drill' Champions Silent On Gulf Oil Spill

By Nico Pitney

Huffington Post

More than a week has passed since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers, injuring over a dozen more, and causing a massive oil spill that may eclipse the Exxon Valdez.

FWC staff deployed to help track oil spill

The Associated Press

Miami Herald

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff have been deployed to the Panhandle and Alabama to help with track the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill a threat to Florida

By Kevin Spear

Orlando Sentinel

Florida scientists are warning that much of the state's coastline — even to the Keys and beaches in southeast Florida — is vulnerable to damage if workers can't quickly contain crude oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from a stricken well off the Louisiana shore.

Crist tours oil spill threatening coast

By Paul Flemming

Tallahassee Democrat

Gov. Charlie Crist Tuesday took a look for himself at the oil spill that could threaten Florida's coast as well as proposals to allow drilling in state waters.

The Tricky Clean-Up of a Deep-Water Oil Spill

By Bryan Walsh

Time Magazine

The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico last week was without question a human tragedy.

Vast oil spill may alter debate on Gulf drilling

By Fred Grimm

Miami Herald

A few days ago, the oil gushing out of the ruins of the Deepwater Horizon was termed “manageable.”

'Not here, not now, not ever'

By Sue Carlton

St. Petersburg Times

A couple of months back I was walking one of our glorious beaches on a cool Saturday morning when people dressed in black started showing up by the dozens.

Two top Fla. politicans weigh in on offshore drilling

By Kate Bradshaw

WMNF Community Radio Tampa

Last week, the Obama Administration said the oil leak in the gulf will not sway its support for expanded offshore drilling.

Recent disaster shows dangers of oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico

By Kevin Spear

Orlando Sentinel

Workers in pursuit of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico have been dying in accidents at the rate of one every 45 days since the mid-1990s.

Gulf oil spill worrisome for the Florida Keys

By Kevin Wadlow

Florida Keys Keynoter

Whatever oil leaks from the remains of a deepwater oil-drilling rig that sank Thursday off Louisiana could be headed toward the Florida Keys.

Gulf rig explosion 'heard' in Florida as officials ponder Atlantic oil exploration

By Christine Stapleton

Palm Beach Post

As the drilling rig Horizon burned on the oily surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a small group of environmentalists, government officials and oil speculators gathered at a hotel in Jacksonville to discuss environmental impact of offshore drilling — in the Atlantic Ocean.

Florida key to success of Obama's energy bill

By Zac Anderson

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Katy Swanson has her response down pat when people ask about oil drilling off the Florida coast.

Offshore Drilling Faces New Skepticism

By Bobbie O'Brien

WUSF Public Radio Tampa

The explosion and collapse of an oil rig in the off Louisiana’s coastline has U.S. Senator Bill Nelson calling for a congressional investigation.

Oil spill just one reason for accurate Gulf weather report

By Phil Lewis

Naples Daily News

Our newsroom can expect a series of emergency alerts from weather forecasters when the tropics spawn hurricanes each year.

'Drill, baby, drill' is now 'Spill, baby, spill'

By Tom Lyons

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Related editorial: It can happen here

Doug Holder, the real estate broker and state representative from Sarasota, still owes me a call back about oil drilling.

Keep oil rigs away from Florida coast


Ft. Myers News-Press

The deadly explosion of an oil drilling rig 50 miles off Louisiana is a warning to keep these rigs well away from the Florida coast.

Plan D: Don't drill in Florida waters


Pensacola News Journal

The full impact of the risks of offshore drilling are coming home. Anyone who was "on the fence" about those risks should have a clear picture now.

The big lie about drilling for oil


Tampa Tribune

The tragic explosion of a drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana exposes the big lie espoused by the oil industry and its minions in the Florida Legislature: Modern drilling is harmless.

Drilling is not safe


Florida Today

Trust us, it’s safe. That has been the oil industry’s sales pitch as it continues pushing to open Florida waters to drilling and has gotten members of the Legislature to do its bidding.

It's not worth it


Gainesville Sun

State Rep. Dean Cannon announced last week that he was tabling a bill that would allow oil drilling between 3 and 10 miles off the coast of Florida.

April 29, 2010 satellite image of Gulf oil slick following BP rig disaster, via SkyTruth.


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.

Help rescue Florida’s coastal birds, via Audubon of Florida.
Help protect marine wildlife from BP drilling disaster, via Gulf Restoration Network.
Enough is enough!, via Sierra Club.
Help prevent another drilling disaster, via Defenders of Wildlife.
Stop offshore drilling, via Environment America.
Tell officials: fight for Florida’s beaches, via Emerald Coastkeeper.
Save both coasts from offshore drilling, via Oceana.
Obama must call a time out on Arctic drilling, via Earthjustice.

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.Demand that President Obama protect our oceans from oil drilling, via Center for Biological Diversity.

Oppose Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida's Waters, via Audubon of Florida.
Protect our oceans from offshore oil drilling, via Oceana.
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.


FPL executive has meetings with key state officials

By Julie Patel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Florida Power & Light Co. employs three lobbyists in Tallahassee, has 22 more who were paid at least $221,000 combined in the last quarter of 2009 and donates to state political parties — more than $670,000 in the past 15 months.

Snakes bill passes House while FWC takes closer look

By Bruce Ritchie

A bill that would ban Burmese pythons and five other snake species along with Nile monitor lizards was approved Wednesday by the House.

Callery Judge bid to avoid planning rules fails

By Kimberly Miller

Palm Beach Post

Callery Judge Groves lost out on a bid Thursday to let it bypass rigorous planning requirements in building on the half-century-old orange grove.

Septic tanks targeted for inspections

By Mary Ellen Klas

St. Petersburg Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Florida's 2.6 million septic tanks, half of which are more than 30 years old, will have to undergo regular health department inspections for the first time in state history under legislation sent to the governor Thursday.

GOP lawmakers attack solar energy

By Jim Ash

Pensacola News Journal

The same Republican led House that last year voted to open Florida waters to offshore drilling on Tuesday continued killing Democratic attempts to expand a popular solar energy rebate program.

House lowering price of renewable energy

By Mary Ellen Klas

Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee Bureau

Florida legislators had second thoughts Monday about a plan to allow Florida's four largest utility companies to bypass the rate-setting process and raise customers' electric rates by $772 million for renewable energy projects by 2013.

3 Days to D Day: Who wants to move the Urban Development Boundary and will you come to the County Commission on Wednesday to watch?

By Gimleteye

Eye on Miami

Who wants to move the Urban Development Boundary?

Count the ways: Moving UDB is a bad idea


Miami Herald

How many public officials and independent authorities have told the Miami-Dade County Commission that moving the Urban Development Boundary would open the floodgates to westward expansion for no good reason?

More solar for Florida


Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Florida must increase its solar energy capacity.

Seabirds need their space


Sarasota Herald-Tribune

As an oil spill jeopardizes the Gulf Coast, another environmental drama is playing out on Southwest Florida beaches -- hundreds of miles from the scene of last week's offshore drilling disaster.

Editorial cartoon by Chan Lowe, South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Read the artist’s commentary here.

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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