NEWS-PRESS: Environment: Money, water and bears top issues

News-Press: January 3, 2016. Written by Chad Gillis.

The economy and environment go hand-in-hand in Florida, and each year the state faces a myriad of known threats and the occasional surprise.

Algal blooms like red tide and cyanobacteria can happen any year, but we also get oddities like hurricanes or an especially strong El Nino — which dropped summer-like rains in January, the middle of dry season.

And while long-term weather and tropical storms are difficult to forecast, there are several known challenges and opportunities coming in 2017. From politicians deciding the fate of hundreds of millions of dollars to the decision on whether or not to hold a black bear hunt, Florida's wild lands and wildlife will make headlines for the next 12 months.

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TIME: Dr. Cristin Kearns

Time: December 19, 2016. Written Alexandra Sifferlin.

The former dentist turned investigative researcher is exposing how the sugar industry got us hooked.

You started investigating the sugar industry after attending a dental conference on diabetes. Why?

I got a government brochure about preventing diabetes, and the nutritional advice was to reduce calories, increase fiber, decrease fat. It didn’t say anything about sugar. One of the speakers had a fast-food nutrition guide, and [a sweet tea] got ranked as a “healthy.” I asked him, “How can you characterize sweet tea, which has a ton of sugar in it, as a healthy drink?” His response was that there’s no evidence linking sugar to chronic disease. I just looked at him like, What?

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MIAMI HERALD: Greed and politics are destroying the Everglades

Miami Herald: November 23, 2016. Written by Mary Barley.

We heard a lot this political season about government corruption. While not all corruption is illegal, every instance of it is certainly unethical. Americans just showed they are willing to take extreme measures to combat corruption, and our local officials would do well to take heed, for a dangerous corruption is on open display here in Florida, and by any means legal and possible we will eradicate it. Indeed, we must.

Every day in Tallahassee, Gov. Rick Scott subverts the public interest and does the bidding of Big Sugar in exchange for campaign cash. Big Sugar, in this instance, is U.S. Sugar Corp., whose president and CEO is Robert Buker, Jr., and Florida Crystals, owned and operated by the Fanjul family. The result is that the Everglades are in peril and therefore so, too, is the future of South Florida and its residents.

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TCPALM: Treasure Coast's Joe Negron becomes Florida Senate president

TCPALM: November 22, 2016. Written by Isadora Rangel.

The Florida Senate unanimously elected Joe Negron its president Tuesday, officially making him one of the state's most powerful politicians.

Negron, R-Stuart, laid out ambitious priorities during his acceptance speech: passing a plan to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges; boosting the ranking of Florida's 12 universities; and decreasing the incarceration of juvenile offenders of minor crimes. He will lead the Senate in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions.

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PALM BEACH POST: Editorial: With Army Corps willingness, reservoir chances improve

PALM BEACH POST: November 22, 2016. Written by Editorial.

Here’s some good news about the Everglades: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it’s ready to speed up its timetable to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, as soon as the state is ready to act.

And here’s another bit: Stuart Republican Joe Negron has taken the reins this week as Florida Senate president. Negron has pledged to buy the land such a reservoir would need: 60,000 acres, largely in western Palm Beach County.

Negron will face all kinds of opposition, some from the sugar industry, some from conservative legislators who will look askance at the expected $1.2 billion Florida will have to cough up, just as state government faces a budget shortfall.

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Negron reaffirms policy goals as he takes over as Florida Senate president

TAMPA BAY TIMES: November 22, 2016. Written by Kristen M. Clark.

As Sen. Joe Negron officially took over control of the Florida Senate on Tuesday, the Republican from Stuart outlined once again his priorities for improving higher education, stopping harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee and reforming juvenile justice.

Negron first detailed those plans in his designation speech almost a year ago, but now he's in a position to personally drive that agenda for the next two years.

The Florida Senate unanimously elected Negron as its chamber president for the 2016-18 term during the Senate's one-day organizational session on Tuesday, which lasted roughly two hours.

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MIAMI HERALD: What will a Trump presidency mean for Florida's environment

MIAMI HERALD: November 18, 2016. Written by Jenny Staletovich.

At a rally in Collier County at the end of October, a day after he unveiled his “contract” with America, then-candidate Donald Trump rallied his supporters with talk of “crooked Hillary,” a rigged election system and the “real group of losers” running the country. Then, in the middle of 47-minute speech, he turned to a teleprompter and devoted just over a minute to Florida’s longest-running and most frustrating environmental conflict: Everglades restoration.

“A Trump administration will also work alongside you to restore and protect the beautiful Everglades, which I just flew over. I just flew over and let me tell you when you fly over the Everglades and you look at those gators and you look at those water moccasins, you say I better have a good helicopter.”

 


NAPLES DAILY NEWS: Commentary: Election outcome - America’s Everglades must be restored

NAPLES DAILY NEWS: November 19, 2016. Written by Rob Moher.

As we prepare for a transition of power at the federal level, one thing is abundantly clear – our community must speak with a unified voice to accelerate efforts to restore the Everglades and to address the ongoing water quality crisis in our region’s waters.

Regardless of politics, we can all agree that this is America’s Everglades, an iconic and unique landscape unlike any other in the world – the famed River of Grass.

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FLORIDA TODAY: Guest column: How the Army Corps is helping environment

FLORIDA TODAY: November 20, 2016. Written by Jason Kirk.

As commander of the Jacksonville District’s 780-member team of professionals, I want to share information about our efforts to restore the environment and to help our nation face the challenges posed by rising sea levels.

I am honored to lead a team working to restore America’s Everglades, an ecosystem unlike any other. Together with the state of Florida, the U.S. Department of the Interior and other government agencies, we’re seeing momentum to “get the water right” in terms of quantity, quality, timing and distribution.

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EYE ON MIAMI: Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a big idea for President-elect Trump: get rid of federal protections for the environment

EYE ON MIAMI: November 18, 2016. Written by Gimleteye.

With the list of nominees to lead the Trump U.S. Department of Interior including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the states' rights battle to wrest control of environmental policy from the federal government is tinder set to fire.

In Florida, that tinder is already lit in a way that should alarm the American public. Florida Governor Rick Scott and his political appointees are pressuring the federal government to surrender a national wildlife refuge to the state. President Theodore Roosevelt (in the photo above next to John Muir, the founder of Sierra Club) was a Republican and great advocate for our national park system. Teddy is rolling in his grave.

The land is called the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. It is a glorious wetland that is bordered on the east by encroaching suburbia in West Palm Beach and sugar farms to the north and west. To the south, downstream of the Loxahatchee: the dying Everglades. The Loxahatchee is famous for being the place where water quality standards for the Everglades were set by federal law in the 1990s, after a decade of litigation.

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