Thursday, May 5, 2011

Top Florida Environmental News - May 5, 2011


Contents:

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


Sierra Club Florida in the News

Florida House set to vote on controversial environmental permitting measure
Florida Independent
David Cullen, who lobbies for the Sierra Club, said the measure would undo “decades and perhaps centuries of legal precedent and established legal procedure,” and stymie citizen involvement in regulatory decisions that affect the environment. ...


Energy, Waste & Green Transit

SunRail project is under the gun
Tbo.com
Rick Scott to be as tough on the project as he was on high-speed rail. They started a website, VETOSunRail.org, focusing on the $1.2 billion cost of the project, which gives about $600 million in state tax money to private freight rail giant CSX. ...


BP funding a dog and pony show
Pensacola News Journal
In the end, 11 groups came away with some of the money given to Escambia County by BP to get "heads in beds" after the oil spill last year damaged tourism and deflated an already-sagging economy. The largest amount approved by the council — $2463694 ...


Jolley Trolley, PSTA plan youth summer fares
Suncoast News
The summer pass will save families money and encourage young people to use environmentally friendly transportation, Lasher said. "With gas prices now topping $4 a gallon, many parents simply can't afford to drive their kids around all summer long. ...


Growth Management

Senate dismantles Florida growth management laws in four minutes, without debate
Florida Independent
The Senate approved S.B. 1122 30-9, in four minutes, without debate. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, managed to ask a couple of questions, but nobody objected as Senate President Mike Haridopolos rolled the measure over for approval. Nobody sounded a voice of caution about the weight of the decision lawmakers were about to make.


Dismantling DCA is a step backward
Lake Wales News
Growth management laws required local governments to plan ahead to pay for future development, and set aside land for parks, money for roads, and water resources for everyone. Floridians had hope that not every mile of beachfront would sport high-rise ...


Florida Legislature might gut decades of growth rules
Sun-Sentinel
Last November, Floridians rejected a constitutional amendment that would have given final say to local voters on major land-use changes, like turning a cow pasture into a strip mall or a golf course into townhomes. Now, as part of sweeping reform to ...


Officials say road plans moving ahead
TCPalm
"Florida lags behind most of the rest of the nation in passenger rail service," said Kim DeLaney, growth management coordinator for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. "The state transportation network is dominated by highways. ...

Deardorff: Green Swamp protections not affected by growth law changes
The Ledger (blog)
by Tom Palmer Protection of the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Conern will not be affected by the pending changes in the state growth law, Growth Management Director Tom Deardorff told the Polk County Planning Coommission this morning. ...

Census reveals Brevard full of vacant homes
Florida Today
Right now, the foreclosure registry has 750 homes listed and "there are lots more out there not on the list," said Courtney Barker, planning and growth management director. "There's always a certain percentage of vacancies in any community, ...


Habitat & Wildlife

12-year-old credited with manatee's rescue
NBC2 News
And after packing up from Tang-Lee's release, FWC's next stop was in Everglades City to pick up the corpse of another cold-stunned manatee. ...


Motorists urged to slow down, save lives of Florida panthers
Marco Island Sun Times
These are the significant results of the recent "Save a Panther" detail, conducted by officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Division of Law Enforcement. From April 18-22, FWC officers patrolled and enforced panther speed ...


Bulrush plant expected to boost lake's fish count
NBC2 News
Growing close to the shores of Lake Trafford is the bulrush - a plant that is commonly called home by fish and other wildlife. But the plant didn't just grow there on its own. It's a tedious job done in about two feet of water – and right beside some ...


Editorial, May 5: Use BP cash for preserves
Pensacola News Journal
The staffs of these offices — working under the Department of Environmental Protection — are among the most knowledgeable experts Florida has on our bays, bayous and the fish and wildlife that populate them. When officials from BP and the various ...


Florida EcoSafaris: New Cypress SkyCycle will put pedaling guests up in the ...
Orlando Sentinel (blog)
The Cypress SkyCycle attraction will be a ride — picture a reclining bicycle — suspended from high-tension steel cables over forested wetlands and over a pond that's home to a 13-foot alligator named George. Cypress SkyCycle is set to be completed in ...


Water

Scott's policies threaten St. Johns River
Florida Times-Union (blog)
Rick Scott and his supporters in the Legislature are dismantling the Department of Community Affairs, the state agency that has been the last line of defense against development that destroys critical wetlands and threatens our waterways. ...


House Republicans vote to undo key environmental-protection law
Tallahassee.com
"Just last week, a judge nearly removed Florida's control over water quality programs relating to Everglades protection and restoration. Today, the majority has all but ensured federal government intervention in protecting Florida's waterways from ...


Economic impacts on the local economy by restoring Everglades
Marconews
I've written letters to the editor, and we just initiated a fertilizer ordinance. Since the fertilizer ordinance went into effect, we've noticed a ...


Driest dry season in 80 years
WPTV
This year's dry season not only started early but the months between October and February were the driest in 80 years of record keeping by the South Florida Water Management District. In fact, Robert Molleda, of the National Weather Service in Miami, ...


Guest commentary: Collier County needs to pass restrictive fertilizing laws to ...
Naples Daily News
Nitrate and phosphate levels doubled in one year.  Oxygen saturation levels were under what is necessary for healthy ponds. Consultants estimated that we had two to three inches of muck on the bottom of our ponds. A diver measured it and found 12 to 30 inches of muck. ...


Despite rains, drought conditions may not ease until June or later
TCPalm
Meteorologists from South Florida Water Management District and National Weather Service reported at a briefing Wednesday in Miami that sea-breeze cycle rains — which drive the wet season — will need time to begin alleviating months of low water ...


Sun-Sentinel
The lost water also raises conservation concerns in the midst of a lingering drought. Delray Beach initially couldn't account for 28 percent of the water it pumps out to homes and businesses, almost triple the water-loss threshold considered acceptable ...