Monday, May 2, 2011

Top Florida Environmental News - May 2, 2011


Contents:

Sierra Club Florida in the News
Energy, Waste & Green Transit
Growth Management
Habitat & Wildlife 
Water


Sierra Club Florida in the News


Groups protest FPL's proposed new reactors at Turkey Point
Sun-Sentinel - Julie Patel
The protest was staged by nine groups including the Sierra Club...







Energy, Waste & Green Transit 

Does Gov. Scott have a legal right to kill SunRail?
Orlando Sentinel
Jones predicted Scott probably would prevail in court if he sued, as he was over high-speed rail. But, Jones added, that does not mean a Scott victory is beyond question. SunRail would have "a very different fact pattern" from the fast train, ...

Dutch experts bringing bicycle-riding expertise to Miami
Miami Herald
The Dutch are coming, and they're armed with a radical idea about the future of transportation that could cure obesity and global warming, stall traffic congestion, and maybe shake the very steering wheel from your hands: Scoff if you must, ...

UCF's 'Green' Garage Selected for National Energy Competition
University of Central Florida
At UCF, the Department of Sustainability & Energy Management is working with Parking andTransportation Services to make Garage C as efficient as possible by performing retrofits of older equipment. The garage minimized its energy consumption by nearly ...

Some Drivers Who Want to Save Money at the Gas Pump are Buying Scooters
10 Connects
But more often than not they're using the scooter as a secondary form of transportation. But in every case, the more they run it versus running their car, the more money they're saving," said Lynch. Motorist Fred Cards says he's been using his bicycle ...

Bus becomes top priority as rail runs into roadblocks
Tbo.com
Florida elected an anti-rail governor who killed the federally funded high-speed rail project that would have linked to Tampa's future line. President Barack Obama, under pressure from newly elected Republicans on the budget deficit, has agreed to many ...
Tampa Electric Offers New Energy-Efficiency Programs and Increased Rebates on ...
Bradenton Herald
Tampa Electric leads the state in the number o Tampa Electric announced today that it will launch enhancements to its existing residential energy-efficiency programs. Beginning Tuesday, May 3, residential customers can learn more and sign up for ...

Sun-Sentinel
By Armando Olivera In October 2009, all eyes were on Florida for the commissioning of America's largest solar photovoltaic power plant, Florida Power & Light Co.'s 25-megawatt facility in DeSoto County. But in less than 18 months, Florida lost its ...

The News-Press
Dulmer said Bonita will focus on energy, transportation, land use, environment and conservation. Energy will include finding alternatives to fossil fuels. Lee County also plans to use $1 million in state grants to link its bus system with Collier's in ...

FPL wind towers in western St. Lucie County not creating controversy like ...
TCPalm
While environmentalist groups and island residents worried turbines on Hutchinson Island would negatively affect humans and wildlife, those concerns have not been brought up with the new location. In fact, no one came to speak against the matter at the ...




Growth Management

Lawmakers bypass normal procedures to undo decades of environmental regulations
Florida Independent
On Friday, Senate budget negotiators led by Niceville Republican Don Gaetz let a House measure that would undo large swaths of Florida's growth management laws into a budget conforming bill. ...

Controversial growth management bill wedged into budget to force passage
MiamiHerald.com
It would include the governor's Office of Tourism, Transportation and Economic Development, the Agency for Workforce Innovation and portions of the Department of Community Affairs. The changes merge the Black Business Investment Board and the Florida ...

State turns back clock on development
(Anti-growth-management measures were attached to both the House and Senate budget bills on Friday.) Leonard and Jack Rosen may be dead, Gulf American gone bankrupt, but their old swamp-land business ethic has been revived in Tallahassee. ...

Tom Tryon: State's parental attitude is getting old
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
The 2001 study was conducted to examine the state's proper role in growth management and its relationship with local planning organizations. The study doesn't have much value anymore: After all, it's attracted a lot of dust during the past decade and, ...

Senator derails dump proposal
St. Petersburg Times
But once Latvala realized the intent of the provision, he angrily asked that it be removed from a larger growth management bill. "I got duped," said Latvala, who for years represented portions of Pasco. "I have very good friends on the Pasco County ...

Comparing Florida's growth management laws to others across the country
PolitiFact
The issue here is the state Department of Community Affairs' ability to review local comprehensive plans and amendments, and more specifically, to determine whether or not they are in compliance with state growth management laws. ...

Capital Comment: Discouraging session for green activists
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
At the top of their list is an all-but-done deal to dramatically scale back the state's landmark 1985growth management law, which established state oversight of Florida's sprawling development. But with Florida's economy slumping and pro-business, ...

Working to stimulate growth
Tampa Tribune
Future growth will be targeted to this area to prevent sprawl, use existing infrastructure such as roads and water and sewer lines, and promote regional transit in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority. ...



Habitat  & Wildlife

Dead Florida panther found in Big Cypress National Preserve
Lehigh Acres News Star
A Florida panther was found dead Saturday on US 41 at Fifty-Mile Bend in Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County. The male panther was likely struck and killed by a vehicle, according to Big Cypress National Preserve biologist Deborah ...

It's baby sea turtle time once again
St. Augustine Record
Two turtle nests have already been documented on St. Johns County beaches, according to St. Johns County habitat conservation coordinator Tara Dodson. Volunteers started monitoring beaches Sunday as the sea turtle season began. ...

Tar balls come ashore on St. George Island
Tallahassee Democrat
More pieces remain scattered along the coastline of Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park. The tar balls have not yet been collected or analyzed to determine if they are from last year's BP oil rig disaster. The water was closed to swimmers ...

Editorial: Don't cut Florida preserve protection
The News-Press
"Fort Myers Beach has a growing ecotourism economy, and we fear that without direct management and conservation of Estero Bay, the health of the bay may suffer and result in negative economic and ecological consequences. ...

Volusia Conservation Corridor a winding path to preservation
Daytona Beach News-Journal
To limit collisions among animals and cars along the corridor, the county and Department ofTransportation plan underpasses and wildlife pipes under Interstate 4 and State Road 415 when the roads are widened in coming years. ...

Turtle nests spring up on Collier, Lee beaches before start of season PHOTOS
Naples Daily News
What is unknown – and likely will be for decades to come – is what the effect of the April 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be on the sea turtle population. Through the first week of April, 474 visibly oiled turtles washed ashore in Gulf ...

FSU Coastal & Marine Lab Lecture Series to Focus on Effects of Oil Spill ...
Wakulla.com
The Florida State University Coastal & Marine Lab Conservation Lecture Series presents "Fish and Oil Don't Mix: Exploring The Effects of Oil Spill-Related Pollutants and Other Environmental Contaminants on Fish Populations. ...

Mullet fishermen gather outside the state Capitol to protest regulation
 WPTV
They are calling on Governor Rick Scott and the Fish and Wildlife Commission to allow them to use different nets. The fishermen are not asking for larger nets, but nets of the same overall size with lager holes to allow smaller fish to escape. ...

Wernicke: Our aquatic preserves should be preserved
Pensacola News Journal
Earlier this year, an outcry caused Scott to dump a proposal to close some state parks, including Perdido Key State Park. The critics included many businesses that prosper from the tourists and locals who flock to Florida's world-class parks. ...

For the public, access to areas an asset
Daytona Beach News-Journal
She fell in love with the wide, open spaces, pine trees, palmettos, wildflowers and wildlife she found here, especially along the Volusia Conservation Corridor. "I think it (the corridor) is brilliant," Valley said this week. "I think it's great. ...

Ron Littlepage: Guana Park splendor a reminder of need for vision
Florida Times-Union
In 1984, after a quarter of century of effort, the state of Florida was finally able to acquire what would become the Guana state park. Reaching that goal had not been easy. It was accomplished after Gate Petroleum bought the property as part of a ...

Approve scrub jay pact
Cape Coral Daily Breeze
Little has been changed in the proposed habitat conservation plan that would allow the city to develop land purchased in the north Cape for a park suitable for festivals and major events except the fact that council needs to get off point before its ...

Preservationists Fear For Egmont Key's Future
WUSF 89.7 News
Egmont Key State Park has a history going back to the Seminole Wars and has army forts dating from the Spanish American War. There's fear that state budget cutbacks could threaten that history. John Colman revs up his 1977 Loach helicopter at Peter O. ...

Biscayne National Park announces plan to restore coral damaged by boats
Sun-Sentinel
The Coral Reef Restoration Plan assesses several techniques for dealing with damaged corals and provides guidance for park managers to know what technique to use in a particular case. Among these are reattaching the coral, seeding an area with new ...




Water   

Bill would ease rules on water pollution
St. Petersburg Times
The changes called for by HB 239 will be, says Audubon of Florida's Charles Lee, "devastating," particularly in the Everglades. "This is what all the polluters are fighting for, the complete overthrow of Florida's water quality criteria," agreed Linda Young...
House passes controversial environmental bill in minutes - Miami Herald


Everglades suffering from sulfate runoff, Methylmercury contamination

Florida Independent
The use of sulfate in agricultural areas near the Florida Everglades is creating an enormous mercury problem — with seemingly no end in sight...


Lee leaders defeat mining regulations in House bill
Naples Daily News
It was just a week ago the House voted to cut back state oversight of local growth management plans, entrusting localities with the responsibility. Some saw the mining language as running contrary to that belief in home-rule. “I believe the conditions ...

On the Mark: Are we to be the California of the east?
Naples Daily News
We only get one shot at protecting our estuaries, marshes, wetlands, fertile soils and water sources; eliminating state level oversight such as being proposed in Tallahassee will result in growth expanding across our limited remaining rural areas. ...

Ocala's water director says the water supply issue is critical
Ocala Star Banner
And yet the community as a whole has not embraced water conservation as part of its daily routine. Many go only as far as observing the water management district's twice-a-week lawn irrigation rule. But as the community grows and the demand for water ...

Ecology Party Alleges Major Conflict of Interest with Army Corps of Engineers ...
The Bradenton Times
The AEIS is supposed to determine all of the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of phosphate mining in Florida, including groundwater pirated from the Everglades watershed by the phosphate mining companies. One of the adverse impacts of phosphate ...

Airport to save money on wetlands restoration
Walton Sun
The Airport Authority board approved two wetlands restoration projects this week that will cost at least $2 million less than first anticipated, but that will not replace native vegetation damaged during the airport's construction. ...