Environment

COMMENTARY

Rare FL butterfly bounces back, offers lesson for saving other critters

BY: - September 23, 2021

We could all use a little good news this week, so here’s the rare environmental story that will make you pump your fist and shout, “Yeah!” Earlier this month, during a visit to Gainesville, I took my kids to see the huge butterfly rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History. They were impressed. Everywhere […]

U.S. House Dems pass $28.6B in disaster aid for recovery from hurricanes, wildfires, floods

BY: - September 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats unveiled a short-term spending measure on Tuesday that would keep the federal government operating through Dec. 3 and provide $28.6 billion for costs related to recent natural disasters. The bill was passed by the House on a party-line vote Tuesday night, 220-211. But it faces a battle in the evenly divided Senate, […]

Appeals court vindicates citizens’ right to challenge land developments

BY: - September 20, 2021

Plans for a Walton County land development project called Cypress Lake call for 141 residential units, including 85 single-family houses, 40 duplex units, and 16 condo units, plus 53,000 square feet of commercial space comprising four mixed-use buildings. Walton County officials OK’d the project notwithstanding complaints that the development would be jammed in too close […]

COMMENTARY

Pulte Homes destroys 22 FL tortoise burrows, pays a paltry penalty

BY: - September 16, 2021

Say what you will about Florida (and many of you have), but we’ve sure got some unusual crimes here. A surprising number of them involve reptiles. You have probably heard about the guy who, in 2016, tossed an alligator through a Wendy’s drive-thru window in Royal Palm Beach. Last year, Sanford police recovered a five-foot […]

How the House reconciliation bill targets 4 local plans for oil and gas leasing, mining

BY: - September 14, 2021

Proposals targeting specific areas for conservation in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and federal waters off Louisiana’s coast made their way into the gigantic budget reconciliation bill that Democrats are moving through Congress. The portion of the $3.5 trillion package approved on a party-line vote by the House Natural Resources Committee last week includes nationwide measures meant […]

Agriculture section of reconciliation bill centers on fighting climate change, enhancing research

BY: - September 13, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Agriculture Committee on Monday finished marking up its section of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The agriculture portion would provide funding for historically Black land grant colleges and investments in urban agriculture, along with boosting U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to address climate change threats in farming. The $66 billion agriculture measure passed along […]

Four big climate items in the reconciliation bill in Congress

BY: - September 11, 2021

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee late Thursday approved its first piece of Democrats’ sweeping $3.5 trillion spending blueprint on a party-line 24-13 vote. Among the highest priorities for President Joe Biden in the plan was addressing climate change, and the panel included initiatives ranging from oil and gas reform to offshore wind ventures. The […]

COMMENTARY

Rescuers race to save Florida’s corals while federal government plans more dredging

BY: - September 9, 2021

About four months ago, I drove over to Orlando and saw something I’d never seen before, something guaranteed to produce a reaction of “Ooooo! Ahhhh!” It was sort of like seeing the fireworks at Disney World for the first time, only not nearly as loud. While Disney may be the quintessential Mickey Mouse operation, that […]

Federal court ruling could compel FL to pause on permitting dredge and fill of wetlands

BY: - September 7, 2021

Protecting wetlands and waterways should not be at the broad discretion of states such as Florida that were granted permitting authority in the final days of the Trump administration, says a national environmental law organization, citing a sweeping Aug. 31 federal ruling limiting states’ authority. The ruling in U.S. District Court in Arizona tosses out […]

White House seeks at least $24B to aid states struck by hurricanes, wildfires

BY: - September 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House is urging Congress to approve at least $24 billion — and likely more — for disaster relief costs, saying that the aid should be included in a short-term spending bill expected this month. That tally includes $14 billion for recovery costs related to extreme weather events including hurricanes, floods and wildfires during the last […]

Scientific report warns of climate-induced extreme heat; ‘Florida is in the bullseye’

BY: - September 3, 2021

As with Hurricane Michael in October 2018 and Hurricane Ida this week, climate change is stoking severe weather the likes of which the Gulf Coast has rarely seen before. It starts with heat, which has reached record highs for the last seven years, scientists say. And the heat will get worse, much worse, warns the […]

COMMENTARY

Phosphate pollution reports give Florida residents déjà vu

BY: - September 2, 2021

One summer when I was in college, I worked at a Pensacola textbook warehouse. One of my co-workers was a funny guy named Jim. While we packed boxes of textbooks to ship all over the country, Jim would be cracking us up with one-liners, jokes and stories. Jim was a huge fan of Monty Python’s […]