Laura Cassels

Laura Cassels

Laura Cassels is a reporter, former statehouse bureau chief, and former city editor. She is a classical pianist, a Florida State University graduate and proud alum of the Florida Flambeau, an independent college newspaper. Contact her at [email protected]

Rescue mission for Florida’s dying corals — a national treasure vanishing before our eyes

By: - December 10, 2019

Scientists, conservationists and divers are launching an ambitious mission to rescue Florida’s dying coral reefs system. “It’s a national treasure that is vanishing before our eyes,” said Allison Delashmit, who represents the Sarasota-based Mote Marine Lab. She was part of a televised panel Monday in Key Largo, in the Florida Keys, to announce the launch […]

Tens of thousands rally around the world for climate action

By: - December 7, 2019

Many thousands of people around the world held rallies and marches Friday to demand climate action, as world leaders and non-government parties from 200 countries convened in Madrid for the United Nations conference on climate change. The Miami chapter of “Fridays For Future,” an international youth movement for climate action, was among the American cities […]

FL Congresswoman, back from climate conference, says ‘American ingenuity’ is urgently required to save the planet

By: - December 6, 2019

Florida’s congressional representative at the international climate conference in Madrid said Friday the planet’s climate is in imminent danger and that the United States must retake the lead in fighting to protect it. “We’re running out of time,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat and chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on […]

Toll-road opponents launch ‘No Roads to Ruin’ campaign

By: - December 5, 2019

A coalition fighting fast-tracked plans to build three major, tolled highways through rural parts of Florida calls the plans a “sham” to accommodate new development under the pretense of helping rural Floridians. Meanwhile, a few of those rural Floridians say the roads are the only good economic offer they’ve had in a while. The “No […]

Climate conference: Host country’s leader calls climate-change deniers ‘fanatics’

By: - December 4, 2019

The conspicuous absence of top White House officials from the international climate conference underway in Madrid is being reported around the world and drew pointed reactions this week from conference leaders who view climate change as a global emergency. Pedro Sánchez, acting prime minister of Spain, which is hosting the UN’s COP25 climate conference, called […]

FL Congresswoman to world climate conference: America is with you

By: - December 3, 2019

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa traveled to Madrid with a Congressional delegation Monday to tell international climate-change conferees that Americans stand with their global neighbors despite what the U.S. president says. “This delegation is here from the United States to say we are committed to climate action now,” said Castor, a Democrat who chairs […]

FL lawmakers join fight to protect ‘fragile’ springs from water extraction

By: - December 2, 2019

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, state Sen. Janet Cruz, and 148,000 other people are fighting to prevent a Nestlé water supplier from being permitted to pump up to 1.152 million gallons of water per day from Ginnie Springs in north Florida. The supplier, Seven Springs Water Co., pays the state nothing for the water it pumps […]

Climate talks open amid dire warnings about greenhouse gases; Florida paying the price of inaction

By: - November 27, 2019

When scientists and world leaders gather in Madrid next week for climate talks, Florida scientists studying climate change will watch the proceedings from afar with little optimism. When you’re a scientist living in a country that is one of the world’s three largest polluters, and is run by a president who sneers at climate-change science, […]

Coalition demands FL hearings on Equal Rights Amendment

By: - November 25, 2019

Legislation to guarantee women the same rights as men has stalled in certain lawmaking bodies around the nation. Since 1972. That includes Florida, which has the opportunity to be the state that tips the balance toward adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment into the U.S. Constitution. On Friday, two dozen elected officials and community activists […]

Deadly coral disease has spread through Great Florida Reef

By: - November 21, 2019

A disease killing stony coral in the Great Florida Reef now infects half the corals from Martin County to the Lower Keys, marine scientists reported this fall. The Great Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States and one of the world’s largest. Stony coral tissue loss disease, whose […]

Emotions run high as divided citrus panel votes down tax increase for marketing; some growers fear collapse, and unsold OJ languishes

By: - November 20, 2019

While millions of gallons of unsold orange juice languish in storage, the newly reshuffled and divided Florida Citrus Commission defeated proposals Wednesday to increase the tax Florida citrus growers self-impose for marketing. Growers are having trouble selling their harvests because buyers are importing citrus from Brazil and Mexico. On split votes, commissioners twice voted down […]

Environmentalists: Gov. DeSantis’ budget falls short of pent-up needs

By: - November 19, 2019

Representing a new theme song for environmental issues in Florida, observers say Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing better than his predecessors but is not doing enough to overcome decades of degradation of sensitive lands and water quality. Commenting on the budget plan DeSantis released Monday, critics said his proposed funding of $2 billion for […]