environment

Anti-fracking Rallies: A Response to Oust Local Bans

Feb 1, 2016
Caitlin Granfield / WLRN

  Anti-fracking rallies were held across the state over the weekend after the Florida House voted to prohibit local municipalities from placing their own bans on the controversial drilling practice.

Fracking could take place in the Sunshine State as early as next year. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will first conduct  $1 million study of the potential environmental and human health impacts of fracking.

Researchers are concerned about another nonnative species moving into Florida waters. Schools of the regal damselfish now live in coral reefs on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico. The fish are not harmful, but they could be a nuisance.

Former Florida Governor Bob Graham wants Governor Rick Scott to veto a bill lawmakers say would rescue the state's troubled waterways. Scott is expected to sign the bill tomorrow.

But Graham says the bill would weaken protection of Florida’s water resources.

The former governor joins environment groups opposing the bill and sent Scott a letter detailing his disapproval.

In the Florida Everglades alligators are in trouble. The reptiles are scrawny, weighing 80 percent of what they should. The alligators grow slower, reproduce less and die younger.

Researchers are trying to understand why the Everglades' iconic species is in decline and what it means for the ailing river of grass.

Feds Seek to Change Manatee Status to 'Threatened'

Jan 8, 2016

Pointing to increased numbers of manatees and improved habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday it wants to change the status of the sea cows from endangered to threatened.

One of the most contentious environmental issues facing state lawmakers in the upcoming session is what to do with Amendment 1. That mandated a large pot of tax money be used to buy and protect environmentally-sensitive land. But just how that money should be used is muddying the political waters.

New Water Policy Expected To Flow In Session

Dec 30, 2015
Earl Leatherberry/flickr

A statewide water-policy proposal is poised for the House and Senate floors early in the upcoming legislative session.

It would set water-flow levels for the state's natural springs and guidelines for the Central Florida Water Initiative, a regional water-supply planning effort.

The plan is a top priority of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, and is expected to quickly pass both chambers.

But Putnam hasn't forgotten that last session, the House and Senate passed water-policy bills yet couldn't come to terms.

Wikimedia Commons

Arborists climbed to the top of a 2,000-year-old bald cypress tree in Seminole County Monday.

They gathered clippings from the soaring cypress known as Lady Liberty as part of an effort to clone some of the world’s oldest trees and rebuild depleted forests.

The idea is to rebuild forest using the genetics of the world’s sturdiest trees.

Jake Millarch of the Archangle Ancient Tree Archive was one of three arborists who climbed Lady Liberty to gather clippings.

Florida's Orange Crop In 'Free Fall'

Dec 9, 2015
Mark Elias / Bloomberg via Miami Herald

The outlook for production of Florida oranges, the state's signature crop, continues to drop.

For the second consecutive month, the Florida orange-harvest forecast for the 2015-2016 growing season was adjusted down Wednesday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"It's essentially in free fall," Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday while outlining some of his priorities for the 2016 legislative session.

President Obama is telling global leaders that the U.S. is taking the lead on combating climate change. But Congress would have to approve any money for the effort and Republicans are dead set against it. South Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart says the president knows he's deceiving world leaders.

“This is a president who seems to be, every day, more and more out of touch with the reality of the world. And so, you know, would it surprise me if the president went and promised things he couldn’t deliver? It wouldn’t surprise me,” Diaz-Balart says.

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