TC Palm: DeSantis transition team on environment: Work with agriculture to limit pollution

TC Palm: Written by Ali Schmitz. December 28, 2018.

Members of Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis' transition team on the environment and agriculture said Friday more work needs to be done to reform the agriculture industry's management practices, including limiting water usage and pollution.

Members of the committee had mixed opinions on how to do that - and how heavily the state should invest in changes.

Multiple members of the 40-member commission advocated for increasing water storage and reducing pollution in communities north of Lake Okeechobee.

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TC PALM: Legislation passes to rename wildlife refuge for late environmentalist Nathaniel Reed

TC Palm: Written by Staff. December 21, 2018.

The United States House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation to rename the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge after Nathaniel “Nat” Reed, who passed away in July. The renaming follows a successful effort by Rep. Mast to increase the size of Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge to protect additional land and endangered species.

“Nathaniel Reed is a man I was proud to know and one of the most influential environmental leaders,” Rep. Mast said. “Nat always ended every phone call by sending his sincerest best wishes Today, we send him our sincerest and remember his unwavering commitment to America’s Everglades and his service to our nation.”

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MENS JOURNAL: How Legendary Saltwater Angler Flip Pallot Is Trying to Protect Fisheries From Habitat Destruction, Invasive Species, and Pollution

Men's Journal: Written by Michael Adno. 

Flip Pallot, the legendary fly-fishermanOpens a New Window. and TV personality, considered calling off the trip and turning his 18-foot skiff back to the dock. It was just shy of 2 a.m. last July, and a heavy tide poured through the St. Lucie Inlet, north of West Palm Beach, FloridaOpens a New Window.. Four-foot waves broke all around, and in the distance, lightning danced over the Florida Straits—exactly where Pallot, his longtime friend John Donnell, and I were headed. But Pallot motored on anyway. The goal: reach Walker’s Cay, a 58-acre deserted island 100 miles off the coast, at the northern tip of the BahamasOpens a New Window.. Pallot, soft-spoken and sagelike at 76, used to visit and fish the island often but hadn’t returned in nearly 15 years.

“Let’s run out to the Gulf Stream and see if it’s any better out there,” he said.

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WPTV: Environmental issues label 2018 as #toxic18

WPTV: Written by Alex Hagan. December 29, 2018.

 

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — The environment and our water woes were clearly some of the biggest issues of 2018.

The word "toxic" wasn’t even a thought in the first couple of months of the year.

Then May came with lots and lots of rain. Lake Okeechobee filled up with polluted water, as well as our canals.

"Don’t want people out here touching it, breathing it in," said Emily Mauri in Stuart.

Once again, blue-green algae plagued the St. Lucie River. Business owners lost money.

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NEWS PRESS: Why we are suing federal government over water crisis

News Press: Written by John Cassani. December 25, 2018.

The popular expression “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” seems an appropriate metaphor for the water quality crisis afflicting Florida. Some suggest staying the course of state and federal Everglades restoration as currently planned.

However, there is significant uncertainty associated with restoration timelines, driven by such factors as climate change, available Congressional and state funding, a swelling state population and worsening water quality. With current plans, these complexities will severely complicate or limit future options. More adaptive planning that explores a greater range of options in response to these stressors will be required and part of the reason the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), starting in 2008, was to only continue for three years.

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BLOOMBERG: Sugar Industry Is Exhibit A of Tariff Favoritism

Bloomberg: Written by Stephen Mihm. December 18, 2018.

Congress last week quietly passed the farm bill, a vast collage of legislation affecting the agricultural economy of the United States. This law, which Congress updates every five years, undergoes constant revision.

But a few things never change. Foremost among these are the elaborate protections and subsidies given to nation’s wealthy farmers of sugarcane and sugar beets. Their ability to fend off foreign competition for nearly two centuries is a case study in the way that protectionist measures can become political economy zombies, defying all efforts to kill them off. 

Congress first slapped a tariff on imported sugar in 1789, but this was designed to raise revenue, not protect domestic interests. In 1842, Congress passed a new, two-tiered tariff on foreign sugar, raising rates on refined-sugar imports in the hopes of promoting domestic refiners, while a separate, but lower, tariff on raw sugar sought to protect domestic producers, mostly in Louisiana.

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TC PALM: This is why 'Toxic 2018' was a game-changer for water in Florida

TC Palm: Written by Eve Samples. December 21, 2018.

In the 40 years Mark Perry has worked for clean water in Florida, he has borne witness to toxic algae blooms, fish kills and seagrass die-offs.

But this year's environmental devastation stands out — for both its duration and geographic scope.

“I’d definitely say it’s one of the worst, if not the worst," said Perry, executive director of the Stuart-based nonprofit Florida Oceanographic Society.

Low points in the year we have come to know as "Toxic 2018" included:

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: DeSantis pledges water quality accountability, more voucher funding in magazine interview

Tampa Bay Times: Written by Emily Mahoney. December 21, 2018.


While Ron DeSantis has significantly changed his tone since the election, there's one aspect of his campaign that has so far remained constant: his promise to prioritize environmental issues and water quality.

That theme emerged again in a Florida Trend business magazine piece published this week, in which DeSantis repeated that the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee should be fully built "as soon as possible." (The piece is only available in print)

Florida Trend is owned by Times Publishing, the same company as the Tampa Bay Times.

DeSantis also talked about water management districts, which hastily renewed a land lease with sugar growers in November in an area targeted for the new reservoir. Environmental activists have railed against Gov. Rick Scott on the issues of these districts, saying he replaced experienced regulators with people who had previously worked for industry.

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PALM BEACH POST: Editorial: DeSantis must either change course or leadership at SFWMD

Palm Beach Post: Written by the Palm Beach Post Editorial Board. December 19th, 2018.

It’s possible that by being rude to U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) board inadvertently did the whole state of Florida a favor.

Let’s go back to the day after the Nov. 6 election. The powerful water-management board was about to vote on a hugely important item that it slipped into the agenda at the last minute: extending Florida Crystals’ lease for eight more years on state-owned land earmarked for the coming south reservoir.

Mast, the congressman who represents the Treasure Coast areas plagued by toxic blue-green algae-laden water discharged from Lake Okeechobee, had rushed to the meeting 75 miles away in Coral Gables out of deep alarm that the reservoir project was being sabotaged in a stealth maneuver by sell-outs to the sugar interests.

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BLOOMBERG: Sugar Industry Is Exhibit A of Tariff Favoritism

Bloomberg: Written by Stephen Mihm. December 18th, 2018.

Congress last week quietly passed the farm bill, a vast collage of legislation affecting the agricultural economy of the United States. This law, which Congress updates every five years, undergoes constant revision.

But a few things never change. Foremost among these are the elaborate protections and subsidies given to nation’s wealthy farmers of sugarcane and sugar beets. Their ability to fend off foreign competition for nearly two centuries is a case study in the way that protectionist measures can become political economy zombies, defying all efforts to kill them off. 

Continue reading "Sugar Industry Is Exhibit A of Tariff Favoritism"



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