Environment

Proposed Bills Would Ban Fracking In Florida

Dec 5, 2016

After a fierce legislative debate early this year about fracking, a freshman senator filed a proposal Friday that would bar the use of the controversial oil and gas drilling technique in Florida.

Ikea

Florida voters recently rejected Amendment 1, which would have restricted the reselling of energy produced by solar panels to electric companies - a process known as net metering. But despite being one of the nation's sunniest states, Florida lags behind other states when it comes to solar capacity.

According to a new report by the environmental advocacy organization Environment Florida, Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of potential solar panels, but is 16th in energy derived from the sun.

Two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump made a campaign promise during a rally in Collier County that Floridians have been hearing from politicians for years:

"A Trump administration will also work alongside you to restore and protect the beautiful Everglades,” said Trump.

The Everglades restoration isn't the only environmental issue facing Florida. Sea-level rise also remains a serious threat here. 

Invasive Plant Moves Into Central Florida

Nov 29, 2016

A fern at the heart of a dispute threatening a national wildlife refuge in the Florida Everglades is poised to become the state’s latest and greatest invasive plant species.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The Pinellas County legislative delegation met Wednesday to prevent another massive spill of sewage into the county's waterways because of overloaded - and outdated - sewage treatment systems.

But one thing is becoming clear after hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage overflowed into Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay after heavy rains this summer - a solution won't be cheap.

Florida scientists are calling on President-elect Donald Trump to acknowledge climate change as not a hoax.

The scientists are calling for a meeting with the president-elect who in tweets has described climate change as a hoax created by China or something based on faulty science.

New Research Shows Wide Scope Of Climate Change Impacts

Nov 16, 2016

New research out of the University of Florida shows climate change is affecting all aspects of life on Earth, from entire ecosystems to the genetics of individual animals.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Charlie Bellofatto stood on Ashley Drive at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa with a tambourine in one hand and a sign in the other.

The Tampa resident and Lakota Tribe member sang the Lakota “Four Directions Song” as he protested the Sabal Trail Transmission Pipeline and a crude oil pipeline being built on native land in the Midwest.

With two landslide victories under their belts, environmentalists say they are waiting to decide whether to revive a solar ballot initiative in 2018.

Several amendments to the state constitution will be on the ballot on election day, including one that would regulate solar energy. The wording of Amendment 1 has created some confusion, so WUSF's Steve Newborn shines a little light on that with PolitiFact Florida's Josh Gillin.

State To Preserve Thousands Of Acres For Wildlife Corridors

Oct 26, 2016

With little comment, Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet agreed Tuesday to spend more than $22 million to preserve three pieces of land covering 14,000 acres, with much of the money coming from the Florida Forever conservation program.

Two of the deals, involving cattle ranches in Polk and Okeechobee counties, cost a combined $6.16 million and will be funded through the Rural & Family Lands Protection Program. That program, backed by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, has become a more-common way in recent years for the Cabinet to protect land from future development.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

The city of St. Petersburg is under scrutiny after millions of gallons of partially-treated sewage were released into Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay during Hurricane Hermine. 

That's why the city invited the public to tour two of St Pete's sewage treatment plants on Saturday. 

The Florida Sierra Club’s phosphate committee has formally objected to allowing a new Mosaic Company mine in Desoto County. Placida attorney Percy Angelo sent a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on September 22.

Clyde Butcher

The renowned photographer Ansel Adams once said, "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."

Clyde Butcher, whose expansive nature photographs of Florida have been compared to Adams, seemingly has to wait a bit longer. He's been known to wallow in alligator-infested waters an entire day - just waiting for the right light.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Gov. Rick Scott visited the Polk County phosphate manufacturing plant on Tuesday, where a sinkhole has spilled contaminated water into the Florida aquifer. The sinkhole formed under a phosphogypsum stack at Mosaic’s New Wales manufacturing plant south of Lakeland.

Joe Berg/Way Down Video - Courtesy Mote Marine Laboratory

Mote Marine Laboratory has announced it has raised more than $50 million in the Sarasota laboratory's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. President and CEO Michael Crosby said the money will be used for long-term sustainable projects to help preserve unique marine life.

1000 Friends of Florida

The environmental group 1000 Friends of Florida released its Florida 2070 study today. It's a series of maps that show how many people Florida will hold - and where they'll live - generations from now. 

The study says that more than 33 million people will live in Florida in 2070 - that's nearly 13 million more than today.

Hurricane Hermine was downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved across Florida downing trees and flooding roads up and down the coast. Some local schools and government offices will remain closed Friday due to the heavy rain and winds blanketing the region. Others, in areas less threatened by the storm, have reopened.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered government offices in 37 counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus, to remain closed Friday.

Winds averaging 45 MPH have forced the closure of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Gusts around 56 MPH have also been measured.

Elizabeth Herdter / USF College of Marine Science

A team of marine scientists, led by representatives of the University of South Florida, are about midway through a six-week expedition looking for evidence left over from the two largest accidental oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.

www.savetheseaturtle.org

Officials say eggs are being stolen from sea turtle nests along southwest Florida beaches.

The harbor master for the city of Naples, Roger Jacobsen, tells the Naples Daily News that an egg theft discovered Monday is the fifth nest disturbance in about a month.

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