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Keeping It Green

(There's no Planet B)
Phosphate Risk

Southwest Florida
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Gulf Dead ZoneWhat You May Not Want to
Know About the Gulf Dead Zone

June 13, 2016 -The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its annual forecast for the size of the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone"—an area of coastal water where low oxygen is lethal to marine life. The dead zone averages about 6,000 sq. miles or the size of the state of Connecticut.

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Updated: Nov. 14, 2019

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The Issues

  • Can We Speak Up for Florida's Wetlands?
    Speak Up for Florida's Wetlands

    Aug. 1, 2019 (Center for Biodiversity)) -Florida's wetlands are the state's greatest natural resource. They clean and capture water, help protect against storm surges, and provide essential habitat for protected wildlife species.

    But our wetlands are threatened by state shenanigans — and we need you to speak up.

    Currently only the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the power to authorize the destruction of U.S. waters, including wetlands. But when Rick Scott was Florida's governor, he began the process — still underway — of assuming that power at the state level. And while the Army Corps is far from perfect when it comes to water protection, at least its decisions are made under close federal scrutiny and in compliance with important federal environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act.

    Click now to read more about this issue.

  • Legislative Environmental Considerations
    Florida Conservation Coalition Legislative Priority:
    Funding for Conservation Land Acquisition:

    Mar. 4, 2019  Florida Conservation Coalition

    • SB 944 Land Acquisition Trust Fund

    • SB 1256 Apalachicola Bay Area of Critical State Concern

    • SB 92 C-51 Reservoir Project

    To read all of the bills on this list, click now.
  • The Legislature: Onsite Sewage Treatment
    Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems

    Florida House of Representatives,-Directs DOH to identify certain information for onsite sewage treatment & disposal systems, update database of such systems, & submit report to Governor & Legislature

    Requires periodic inspection of such systems

    Directs DOH to administer onsite sewage treatment & disposal system inspection program & adopt rules; provides inspection requirements

    Provides exceptions; requires owners to pay costs of inspections & pump-outs; requires that inspections & pump-outs be performed by certain registered contractors

    Provides notice requirements; requires system disclosure summary for certain properties & acknowledgement of such disclosures by purchaser before or at execution of contract for sale.

  • Public Notice: Florida Has Got Its Pollution
    Public Notice of Pollution

    -Protecting Florida's pristine environment is the Department of Environmental Protection's top priority. Pursuant to Section 403.077, F.S., the Department is establishing a method for regulated entities to submit Public Notices of Pollution for reportable releases. Additionally, the Department is making available to the public all Notices received to date as well as offering an e-mail subscription service for interested parties to be informed of Notices submitted for their area of interest.

    Reporting entities should be aware that, while submission of a Notice through this website complies with the requirements of Section 403.077, F.S., it does not relieve them of any obligation to report to the State Watch Office.

    Click for more from The Florida
    Dept of Environmental Protection

  • 6 Key Issues Facing Florida Environment
    Florida’s Environmental Challenges

    With leadership from the late Nathaniel Pryor Reed, Trouble in Paradise is the work product of deeply concerned members of the Florida environmental community who wish to help elected officials and candidates for office better understand six major statewide environmental issues impacting Florida’s natural resources and our residents’ quality of life. Reflecting that ‘one size does not fit all’ this report also identifies four of Florida’s many resource areas meriting specialized treatment.

    Click now to read more
    from troubleinparadise.org.

  • Sarasota To Go 100% Renewable
    Sarasota, Florida Commits
    to Transition to
    100% Renewable Energy

    June 19, 2017 - The Sarasota City Commission today adopted a goal of powering all of Sarasota with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2045. Sarasota joins St. Petersburg as the only two cities in the state of Florida to commit to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy.

    Click now to read the Sierra Club article.

  • Florida Schools Ignoring Lead in Their Water
    Most Florida School Districts
    Don't Test For Lead On Campus

    ABC Action News, Nov. 5,2018 -When you're a busy mom of four, unexpected things happen.

    But Daisy Brittain never anticipated what she recently learned about the water where two of her sons go to school.

    “I didn’t have to worry about lead poisoning when I was a child. Now I’m having to worry about it for my children? It just doesn’t seem right,” she told us recently from her Tampa home.

    Click to read the rest of the story, if you can stomach it.

  • FPL: Solar Use Illegal During Outages
    Florida Power & Light
    Lobbyists Made It Illegal to
    Use Solar During Outages

    Sept. 18, 2017 - One thing has changed since 2005: solar. Many of the FPL customers who are living through dangerous heat without power now have solar panels on their roofs that could keep them going while FPL repairs its infrastructure. Except doing so is illegal, thanks to FPL's lobbyists, who literally ghost-wrote much of Florida's dreadful solar rules.

    Click now to shed some sunlight.

  • Avoid Hurricane Surge Flooding: KNOW YOUR ZONE!
    Know Your Flood Zone

    FloridaDisaster.org, - The greatest killer of people during hurricanes is storm surge – the dome of water pushed ashore by powerful hurricane winds. Entire buildings can be moved, and can cause more damage than the winds of a hurricane itself. Florida is extremely vulnerable to surge flooding because of its coastal and low-lying geography.

    To stay safe from surge flooding, if you live in a zone that has been ordered to evacuate, get out. The best way to be prepared for a hurricane storm surge is to know your evacuation zone and plan your destination and travel routes ahead of time.

    Flood Zone maps are available if you click now.

  • 1,000 Friends of Florida Webinars
    Upcoming Dr. John
    M. DeGrove Webinars

    June 21, 2017 -Former Senator Bob Graham will be joining the webinar as a presenter

    In 2014 an overwhelming 75% of Florida voters supported the passage of Amendment 1 which allocated a third of the tax on real estate documents to be used for purchasing and restoring conservation lands through programs like Florida Forever. Despite this clarion call from concerned citizens, Florida’s legislators have consistently refused to fund this program in the intended manner, instead siphoning off funds to pay for existing environmental programs previously paid for out of general revenue, and falling far short of the intended allocation for the purchase of conservation lands.

  • Phosphate Mining in Florida Threatens Water & Wildlife
    Significant Threats to
    Water and Wildlife

    Center for Biodiversity -Processed phosphates — little-discussed but widely spread throughout the food chain — pose a serious threat to our environment. Phosphate rock mining, along with the inorganic fertilizers and animal feed supplements for which phosphate is mined, pollute our air, contaminate our water and destroy invaluable wildlife habitat. -Especially in Florida.

    Because in fact, the state of Florida is home to the majority of phosphate-mining operations in the United States — and the United States is the world's third-leading producer of phosphate rock. Thus it's not all that surprising that Florida hosts the world's largest phosphate strip mine —100,000 acres wide.

    Click now for more.

  • Florida Environmental Issues
    Florida Environmental Issues

    Click now for a free PDF download addressing three of the key environmental issues that South Florida is challenged with today.

  • Florida Offshore Drilling is a No-No
    10 Reasons Not to Drill for Oil Offshore of Florida

    - This reminder from Manasota-88 warns of the ten reasons not to drill for off-shore oil.

    Click now for more from the  Manasota-88.

  • Radioactive Waste Water Contamination
    Thnk Radioactive Waste Threatening
    Drinking Water is a Bad Idea?

    Mar. 1, 2017 -The drinking water we depend on should be protected from Nuclear contamination. If Florida Power and Light (FPL) has its way, they will be storing radioactive carcinogens below Florida’s Biscayne Aquifer. The Biscayne Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for millions of people in South Florida. We must stop this dangerous project before it begins.

    Click for a petition to Fl. legislators.

  • Florida's Frightening Phosphate Problem
    Phosphate Mining's
    Significant Threats to
    Florida's Water and Wildlife

    Jan. 2, 2019 -Processed phosphates — little-discussed but widely spread throughout the food chain — pose a serious threat to our environment. Phosphate rock mining, along with the inorganic fertilizers and animal feed supplements for which phosphate is mined, pollute our air, contaminate our water and destroy invaluable wildlife habitat.

    Especially in Florida.

    Because in fact, the state of Florida is home to the majority of phosphate-mining operations in the United States — and the United States is the world's third-leading producer of phosphate rock. Thus it's not all that surprising that Florida hosts the world's largest phosphate strip mine —100,000 acres wide.

  • About Manatee County Flood Zones
    Manatee County Flood
    Zone Information Tool

    My Manatee County - Based on recent studies of the area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has proposed updates to the County's flood zones. Depending on whether your flood zone has changed, your flood insurance may be affected. Search your address to find information regarding potential changes in flood zone for a property. Some information may take a moment to load.

    FEMA also has a viewer for map changes, you can find the tool and instructions for its use on FEMA's Community Flood Hazard page.

  • What's It All About - Algae?
    More Chemicals Allowed in
    Fl. Waterways, Toxic Algae Blooms
    Continue to Spread Across State

    July 28, 2016 - The Environmental Regulation Commission just voted 3-2 to approve a proposal by state regulators that would set new standards on 39 chemicals not currently regulated by the Sunshine State and revise regulations on 43 toxins, most of which are carcinogenic. State regulators claim the new plan will protect more Floridians than current standards, the Miami Herald reported.

  • The Sunshine State?- Not Quite
    Solar Power Lags in Florida

    July 5, 2016 - Only one tenth of one percent of all Florida utility customers owned a renewable generating system in 2015, according to new data released by the Florida Public Service Commission.

  • Florida Slime Tracker
    Track That Slime Crime

    Florida's waterways are plagued by slime caused by fertilizer, sewage and animal manure. Click now for an interactive map allowing you to view photographs of the muck, in the areas shown on the map.

  • Watershed Excursion
    Take the Excursion

    View a slideshow of the Springs Coast waterways, brought to you by Southwest Florida Water Management District

Florida News Stories (in the past year)

  • The Battle Over Fish Farming In The Open Ocean Heats Up
    The Battle Over Fish
    Farming In the Open Ocean Heats
    Up, As EPA Permit Looms

    Sept. 18, 2019 (NPR)-Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation's only aquaculture pen in federal waters.

    Fish farming has been positioned by its boosters as a sustainable alternative to wild-caught seafood and an economic driver that would put our oceans to work. So far, restrictions on where aquaculture operations can be located have kept the U.S. industry relatively small. In 2016, domestic aquaculture in state-controlled waters accounted for about $1.6 billion worth of seafood, or about 20% of the country's seafood production.

    But the biggest potential home for aquaculture, federally controlled ocean waters, has so far been off limits….

    Click now to read the story.

  • Untreated Sewage Dumping: St. Pete’s Deplorable Record
    St. Pete Has Sent
    More Than 21 Million Gals.
    of Improperly Treated Sewage Into
    the Aquifer Since 2018

    Aug. 20 2017 (Tampa Bay Times)-ST. PETERSBURG — Days after Subtropical Storm Alberto dumped heavy rain on this city in May 2018, officials gave themselves a glowing report card on progress made repairing its leaky sewage system.

    “The city’s infrastructure handled the inundation from the storm’s rainfall completely and without incident,” read a May 29 posting on the city’s website.

    But the city didn’t tell the public that a few weeks earlier, it had pumped nearly 19 million gallons of wastewater into the Floridan aquifer that didn’t meet state or federal standards.

    Click now to read the disturbing article.

  • The Wilderness Under Threat From Planned Roads
    Planned Roads Could Imperil Florida's panthers—and Last Remaining Wilderness

    Aug. 16, 2019 (National Geographic)-Southwest Florida is still a wild place, where you can encounter a bear, a bobcat, or a panther. These creatures roam through large territories, and depend on a patchwork of public and private lands called the Florida wildlife corridor, which strings its way throughout the state.

    One such spot is Babcock Ranch, a mix of cypress swamps and sprawling pastures in which cows and birds like endangered wood storks commingle. In November 2016, biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spotted a female Florida panther here, and allowed photographer Carlton Ward Jr. to set up a camera trap in a nearby grove of oak trees. He later photographed the cat with two cubs.

    Click now to read all about it.

  • Would You Like a Little Radon With That Home?
    Radon Gas and Florida's Development

    Aug. 11, 2019 (The Bradenton Times) -Radon is found in one out of every four Florida homes. Every citizen, whether they are aware of the problem or not, is affected. All exposure to radon is potentially harmful. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive, gaseous element that results from the breaking down of radium.

    Numerous studies support the clear and simple fact that radon exposure is a serious public health hazard. Indeed, more is known about the adverse health effects of radon exposure than any other environmental pollutant. Indoor radon air pollution is the number one environmental pollutant in Florida.

    Click now to read more.

  • Hey Florida Schools: Get the Lead Out
    Is There Any Excuse
    For Failing to Test
    For Lead in Our Schools?

    July 25, 2019 (mwfDailynews.com)-According to a statewide investigation conducted by WFTS-Tampa Bay late last year, 68% of Florida’s school districts do not test for lead in drinking water, or only partially test. Further, according to this same investigation, Gulf County’s public schools do not test for lead in the water, but, rather, rely on public utilities to perform such testing. However, as the recent public water debacle in Flint, Michigan has shown, and as reputable and independent experts have been warning for more than a decade, public utility testing for lead cannot be relied upon to protect our children’s health.

    Earlier this year, Florida Senator Janet Cruz sponsored a bill, SB 66, that would’ve added water filters in all of Florida’s older schools (including ours in Gulf County) to filter out lead particles from corroded pipes. As Ms. De La Vega’s recent Letter to the Editor pointed out, however, SB 66 failed in Florida’s 2019 legislative session. Admirably, in response to this temporary legislative setback, Senator Cruz has started a $250,000 fundraising effort to add water filters to Hillsborough County’s 136 schools.

    Click now for this wretched story.

  • Air Quality in Venice is an Issue
    Air Quality Issues in Venice

    July 14, 2019 (Bradenton Times)) -The City of Venice currently has only one air pollution monitoring station. As a result, there is a serious and permanent gap in the City of Venice's air monitoring records. A major concern, not only for being able to tell asthmatics and heart patients they shouldn't venture outside on a given high ozone level day, but to know whether action should be taken to improve air quality, such as by reducing emissions of ozone-causing chemicals like nitrogen dioxide.

    Air quality is an important part of the quality of life, and monitoring its condition is just as important as monitoring the health of the city's water bodies. A large number of residents in Venice are in a high-risk category for sensitivity to air pollution.

    Click now to learn more.

  • Hey, Sunshine State. Isn’t It Time You Acted Like It!
    Florida’s Utilities Keep Homeowners
    From Making the Most of Solar Power

    July 7, 2019 NY Times - ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida calls itself the Sunshine State. But when it comes to the use of solar power, it trails 19 states, including not-so-sunny Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.

    Solar experts and environmentalists blame the state’s utilities.

    The utilities have hindered potential rivals seeking to offer residential solar power. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying, ad campaigns and political contributions. And when homeowners purchase solar equipment, the utilities have delayed connecting the systems for months.

    Upset? Click now to read more.

  • Florida Voters Do Care About Climate Action
    New Poll Shows Florida Voters Support Climate Action

    June 25, 2020 (Yale Climate Change Communication) -71% of Florida voters support government action to address climate change.

    81% of them are worried about the impacts of extreme weather.

    A new poll out today shows Florida voters are looking to candidates for climate solutions as they experience the impacts of climate change on their state.

    Among Florida voters, climate change is politically a salient issue.

    Click now to read on.

  • Where These Toxic PFAs Are Hiding
    Toxic PFAS Chemical Found
    In Florida — Here's Where

    May 13, 2019 The Patch -A new report shows that hundreds of sites nationwide — including 22 in Florida — have been contaminated with highly toxic chemicals, including drinking water systems that serve an estimated 19 million people.

    "We want the cleanest air, we want crystal clean water – and that's what we're doing," Trump said during a speech at the White House.

    Researchers at the Environmental Working Group, an activist nonprofit group, said that at least 610 places in 43 states are now known to be contaminated with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS. That's up from the 172 the organization had identified in July 2018.

    Concerned? Click now for the story
    and a map showing their locations.

  • FPL is Bringing Solar to the Sunshine State
    FPL Plans To Build Four
    New Solar Power Plants In 2019

    Renewable Energy World, Mar.5, 2019 - Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) this week announced plans to build four new solar power plants this year that are expected to begin powering customers in early 2020:
    • Okeechobee Solar Energy Center, Okeechobee County
    • Hibiscus Solar Energy Center, Palm Beach County
    • Echo River Solar Energy Center, Suwannee County
    • Southfork Solar Energy Center, Manatee County

    "The construction of four additional solar energy centers is just the latest demonstration of our laser focus on advancing solar energy for all of our customers, while keeping their bills lower than 90 percent of the country," said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. "These solar plants are part of our commitment to installing 30 million more solar panels by 2030 across more than 100 new solar sites, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs here in our state."

  • Ban Smoking on Beaches - No Butts About It?
    The New Smoking Ban Frontier:
    Removing Butts From Beaches

    Jan. 14, 2019 Tampa Bay Times - Smokers in Florida can't light up in restaurants, stores, offices and government buildings. Now one Florida state senator wants to add another location to the no-smoking list: the state's beaches.

    Now that indoor smoking bans have largely succeeded, anti-tobacco forces are turning their attention to outdoor spots such as beaches and parks. But their argument is no longer focused on the health effects of second-hand smoke. Instead, measures like SB 218 by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, are about eliminating litter — getting butts off beaches.

    Click now to learn more.

  • Way to Go, St. Pete
    City Council Votes
    ‘No’ on Plastic Straws
    and Restricts Plastic Foam

    Environment Florida, Dec. 13, 2018 - The St. Petersburg City Council passed an ordinance this evening that will significantly reduce the use of single-use plastic straws and expanded polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) in the city.

    “This is a great step forward in St. Petersburg’s efforts to protect our precious coastal community,” said St. Petersburg City Council Member Gina Driscoll.“This small change will make a big difference when everyone is participating!”

  • Can Florida Fix the Piney Point Phosphate Crisis?
    This Old Phosphate
    Mine Is a ‘Looming Issue,’Commissioners
    Say. Will the State Fix It?

    Nov. 29, 2018Bradenton Herald -Commissioners said 2019 would be the perfect chance to call on the state to fund a cleanup project to drain the property’s gypsum stacks. If not, county staff say it’s only a matter of time before another environmental disaster occurs.

    Calling on the state to do something about Piney Point fell only behind building a new bridge over the Manatee River and advocating for red tide research and funding.

  • A Truce in the Peace River Water Wars?
    Peace River Water War Settlement
    Between Polk, Other Counties In the Works

    Nov. 19, 2018 -A proposed settlement in the water war between Polk County and the Manasota Regional Water Authority would allow the agency south of Polk to move forward with a 50-year permit to withdraw the 258 million gallons a day it requested earlier this year.

    But Manasota would be required to reduce that amount by up to 48 million gallons a day if the Polk Regional Water Cooperative receives a permit to withdraw water from Peace River, according to the proposed settlement.

    Click now for the story from the Ledger.

  • Don't Love Tainted Florida Orange Juice?
    Breakfast Favorite Orange Juice
    Tainted by Glyphosate Herbicide

    Oct. 26, 2018 -In August, news broke that Cheerios, Quaker Oats, and other breakfast cereals were contaminated with glyphosate weed killer. Just this week, more news of glyphosate in snack bars. Parents across the nation became concerned about their family’s breakfast foods and snacks. Now we learn we must also be looking at the most popular breakfast beverage, orange juice, as well.

    Click to read more from the
    Organic Consumers Association.

  • Brown Shores Not Always Blamed on Red Tide
    What's Turning Southwest Florida's
    Shores Brown? It's Not Red Tide

    Oct. 3, 2018 -The sand was white, but the murky, brownish water at some beaches in Collier and southern Lee counties continued to keep some would-be swimmers at bay Monday.

    Discolored water has been reported at multiple locations, including Barefoot Beach, Seagate Beach and the Naples Pier, according to Naples' Natural Resources Manager Stephanie Molloy. Beachgoers on social media also reported a similar discoloration at Bonita Beach on Sunday.

    Click to read more from the Naples Daily News.

  • Attempt to Fight Sea Level Rise Battle with Freshwater
    A Freshwater, Saltwater Tug-Of-War
    is Eating Away at the Everglades

    Aug. 20, 2018 — The boardwalk at Pa-hay-okee Overlook is a brief, winding path into a dreamworld in Everglades National Park. Beyond the wooden slats, an expanse of gently waving saw grass stretches to the horizon, where it meets an iron-gray sky. Hardwood tree islands — patches of higher, drier ground called hammocks — rise up from the prairie like surfacing swimmers. The rhythmic singing of cricket frogs is occasionally punctuated by the sharp call of an anhinga or a great egret.

    But now, the Everglades — home to alligators and crocodiles, deer, bobcats and the Florida panther, plus a dizzying array of more than 300 bird species — is facing a far more relentless foe: rising seas.

    Click now to read more
    from Science News.

  • Voting On Environmental Issues? - Read This
    FLORIDA CONSERVATION COALITION – 2018 Candidate Briefing

    Fall, 2018 -The following issues discussed in this report:
    Land Conservation, Protection Of Water Resources, Growth Management, Sea Level Rise, Everglades Restoration, Apalachicola River And Bay

    Click now to read the report (PDF)
    from the Florida Conservation Coalition.

  • The Tide is Against Us - the Red Tide That Is
    Toxic 'red tide'
    Algae Bloom Is Killing Florida
    Wildlife and Menacing Tourism

    Aug. 14, 2018 -This year 267 tons of marine life, including thousands of small fish and 72 Goliath groupers, have washed up along 150 miles of the Gulf Coast from the unrelenting bloom

    With its long, white, sandy beaches, Sanibel Island off the coast of south-western Florida is usually a perfect place for families to enjoy these last days of summer.

    This year, however, 267 tons of marine life, including thousands of small fish, 72 Goliath groupers, and even a 21-ft whale shark have washed up on the beach since July – thanks to a a disastrous “red tide” of toxic algae.

    Click now to read more of the
    story from the Guardian.

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