Environment

 UPDATED: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm 

Lee County is once again looking for the chemical arsenic on Pine Island. That’s after documents surfaced from a few years ago showing arsenic levels hundreds and sometimes thousands of times higher than the federal government allows on private and public lands.

Experts say this could’ve potentially harmed island residents and wildlife within the surrounding estuaries. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal, but state and federal health officials say if high levels are consumed, it can make people sick and cause cancer.

Public records show state environmental officials knew about the high arsenic levels but decided to stop testing for it in 2015.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A handful of residents living near the Tampa Sports Authority's Babe Zaharias golf course are protesting the application of the fumigant "Curfew," which is set for Tuesday, May 9. They say the insecticide, which is being used to control nematodes, can be harmful to people and animals. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, monitors weather and climate change for the federal government. It predicts about one foot of sea level rise by 2100 under the best case scenario, and more than eight feet of sea level rise in the so-called “extreme” scenario.

The Florida House is pushing to change how money in one of the state’s primary environmental trust funds is spent.  But most lawmakers were in the dark about how much money the fund will get as the measure went to a vote.

The American Petroleum Institute is praising President Donald Trump’s latest move to open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling. But more than  half of Florida’s Congressional delegation stands opposed.

The push by Florida's largest power company to charge customers for out-of-state fracking investments is dead, putting an end to a pair of big-money fracking fights this session in the Florida Legislature.


Florida lawmakers have tentatively agreed to pull funding from the state's top land conservation programs.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that would open up areas off the West Coast and the Northeast Unites States to oil drilling. The executive order would reverse an Obama-era ban on drilling.

Wikipedia Commons

Marches to raise awareness about the need to address climate change and rising sea levels will be held Saturday throughout the Tampa Bay area. It's part of a worldwide effort to urge action to curb greenhouse gases.

The wildfire in Golden Gate Estates destroyed nine structures, including four homes. The Florida Forest Service is urging people to be “Firewise”

The premise is simple: Take proactive measures to protect your house in the event of a wildfire. 

Advocates are hopeful they’ll see legislation implementing tax breaks on solar energy pass the legislature this session. But they’re not happy with different parts of the House and Senate bills.

A federal court judge in Fort Myers ruled against a consortium of Environmental advocacy groups Monday in a lawsuit against the National Park Service and a Texas oil company.  The lawsuit was an attempt to prevent seismic testing for oil and gas reserves in Big Cypress National Preserve

Susan Giles Wantuck

On a hot spring afternoon, with the waters of Tampa Bay lapping the shores of Tampa's Picnic Island in the background, Rep. Kathy Castor and representatives from environmental groups such as the Tampa Audubon Society, The Sierra Club and Environment Florida spoke out against the Trump Administration's plans to cut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

A plan to regulate ridesharing companies statewide is heading to the Governor’s desk. After years of debate, the bill flew through the Senate Wednesday with virtually no complaints.

Florida Wildlife Officials are putting the possibility of a black bear hunt on hold—at least for the next few years. The decision came during a Wednesday meeting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting.

Back in 2012 and 2015, three environmentalists hiked, biked and kayaked a thousand miles across Florida - first, from the Everglades north to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, then from the headwaters of the Everglades, through the Panhandle, to the Alabama state line. Their mission - to publicize the need to connect the state's dwindling natural lands before they're developed forever.

Some Florida lawmakers want manatees back on the endangered species list.


Updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday

On the wall behind Jim McCarthy’s desk hangs a large photograph of a skeletonized tree trunk resting on the iconic Boneyard Beach at Big Talbot Island State Park.

“That beach is important,” said McCarthy, president of North Florida Land Trust. Since 2012, the nonprofit organization has preserved most of the over 1,000 acres of privately owned land on the island. The project, which protects migratory birds’ layover spots and diamondback terrapins’ dwellings, is largely financed by a private fund.


Senate Reservoir Measure Primed For The Floor

Apr 12, 2017

Senate President Joe Negron’s priority water project is heading for a floor vote.  After shifting and twisting through committees, the measure’s fate is uncertain.

Florida Forestry Service

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Tuesday morning because of the number of wildfires burning around Florida.

Officials say wildfires in Florida have already burned 2 1/2 times more land in the first three months of 2017 than during the same period last year. There are more than 100 active wildfires across more than 20,000 acres.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the state hasn't seen this active of a wildfire season since 2011.

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