Sierra Club Florida
The Next conference call of the Group Advisory Council - Feb 26
The February conference call of the Group Advisory Council will be Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m.
We will cover the issue of the resources available in the club, particularly on the Clubhouse website.
This would be of particular interest to new leaders or anyone who has gotten frustrated looking for
answers. Email John.Swingle@florida.sierraclub.org for the call in numbers.
New SC Florida ExCom takes Office
Chapter Meeting - Leader Training in Lakeland
May 15, 2014
Nominations Open for SC Florida ExCom 2015
July 15, 2014
Nominations Close for SC Florida ExCom 2015
July 31, 2014
Nominations for ExCom 2015 Announced
July 31 2014
Petition period open for SC Florida ExCom 2015
August 1, 2014
Deadline for Chapter Awards Submission
August 30, 2014
Petition period closed for SC Florida ExCom 2015
September 1, 2014
Slate for SC Florida 2015 ExCom Announced
Chapter Meeting and Election
Chapter Meeting - Conservation
Next SC Florida ExCom takes office
News from Around the State
DEP to hold six meetings around the state for input on Water Restoration Work Plans.
On February 25 in Live Oak, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will kick off a series of six meetings around Florida to take
public input on the Department’s water quality assessment and restoration priorities over the next two years. These meetings are to present
the 2014 Strategic Monitoring Plan. The Department will also present a preliminary Total Maximum Daily Load 2-year work plan,
and will request input on the new methodology used to prioritize TMDL and Basin Management Action Plan development for specific waterbodies
and water segments.
Workshops will be held:
Live Oak, FL
Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 10:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. (EST) at Suwannee River Water Management District Headquarters
Governing Board Meeting Room, 9225 County Road (CR) 49, Live Oak, FL, 32060
WEST PALM BEACH, FL
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 12:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. (EST) at South Florida Water Management District Headquarters
B1 Auditorium, 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, FL, 33406
FORT MYERS, FL
Thursday, March 6, 2014 11:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. (EST) at South Florida Water Management District Lower West Coast Service Center
Main Conference Room, 2301 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL, 33901
Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:30 P.M. (CST) to 3:30 P.M. (CST) at Florida Department of Environmental Protection Northwest District Office
Conference Room 101, 1st Floor, 160 W. Government St. Pensacola, FL, 32502
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M (EST) at Florida Department of Environmental Protection Central District Office
Conference Rooms A, B, and C, 3319 Maguire Boulevard, Suite 232, Orlando, FL, 32803
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. (EST) at Southwest Florida Water Management District Bartow Service Office
Bartow Board Room, 170 Century Boulevard, Bartow, FL, 33637
Polluters Win - People and Wildlife Lose.
Judge’s Decision Leaves Florida’s Public Waters Unprotected
January Press Release: The recent decision by a U.S. District Judge allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to avoid applying Clean Water Act protections
for two-thirds of all Florida waters, including streams and canals. The decision permits EPA to simply change its mind and not protect most
streams and canals.
"Florida’s clean water regulations just aren’t working, and we need EPA to step in and do the job,"
said Earthjustice attorney David Guest. "We have so much sewage, fertilizer, and manure contamination that we have toxic slime outbreaks
happening all over the state. Hundreds of dead manatees, dolphins, fish and birds have been washing up on shores in South Florida.
The Clean Water Act is supposed to prevent things like this.
We are considering an appeal of this decision," Guest added.
Devastating algae outbreaks, like the ones which have broken out on many Florida springs, the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Johns River,
the Caloosahatchee River, Charlotte Harbor, Estero Bay, and Tampa Bay are a public health crisis and an economic nightmare – killing wildlife,
hurting property values and devastating tourism revenue.
"Florida water pollution is now so bad it’s featured on the national news," said Florida Wildlife Federation President Manley Fuller.
"We’ve got dead fish, dead oysters, dead manatees and dead birds. We clearly need EPA to do its job and enforce the Clean Water Act."
Instead of preventing the pollution at its source, the state and EPA have allowed polluter lobbyists to write huge loopholes into rules that
are supposed to prevent toxic algae outbreaks. Together, these loopholes leave about two-thirds of streams, canals, tidal creeks and similar
waters unprotected from sewage, manure and fertilizer contamination.
"This is simply outrageous. The lower St. Johns River has been plagued with a toxic green algae outbreak that tests show is 100 times more
toxic than the standards that the World Health Organization sets for recreation," said Lisa Rinaman, St Johns Riverkeeper. "When you have
waters that have 100 times the amount of toxins that the world's top health experts say is safe, you know Florida's regulations are not working.
This is not the time for the EPA to turn its back on Florida's waters."
The EPA agreed to set pollution limits for Florida to settle a 2008 Clean Water Act suit filed by Earthjustice in the Northern District of
Florida on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida,
St. Johns Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club. The suit challenged the decade-long delay by the state and federal governments in setting limits for
phosphorus and nitrogen -- so-called nutrient pollution.
The public supported the EPA’s action. When the EPA asked the public to comment on the water pollution limits, the agency received 22,000 comments,
and 20,000 were in support of the EPA’s standards. In response to a call for action, more than 40,000 citizens wrote the White House.
"Instead of protecting people from water pollution, the state is bending over backwards to do the bidding of a small number of politically-connected
polluters, like Big Sugar, who just won't clean up their own mess," said Becky Ayech, of the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida.
Florida has also eviscerated the programs designed to manage and prevent this kind of pollution, hacking the budgets of the state Water Management
Districts and the Department of Environmental Protection, firing many experienced enforcement and scientific staffers, eliminating the state
land-planning agency, and approving these weak, polluter-friendly water standards. Last year, the Legislature even voted down a common-sense
measure that would have merely required the state to make public the number of illnesses and pet and wildlife deaths from the toxic algae outbreaks.
"On the heels of recent state and Congressional hearings on the dangerously poor water quality in our state, it is imperative that citizens
contact all of their elected leaders right now, including President Obama, urging them to set numeric nutrient water quality standards for
all flowing waters in Florida to control pollution at its source," said Jennifer Hecker, Director of Natural Resource Policy of Conservancy
of Southwest Florida. "This ruling, if not challenged, will reinforce the status quo of allowing too much pollution into our waterways,
damaging our tourism-based economy and expecting taxpayers to pick of the tab for massively expensive clean-up projects."
- Cris Costello,
Regional Organizing Representative,
ICO Training Class- Suncoast & Tampa Bay Sierra
On September 28, 2013, 20 Volunteers from both Tampa Bay and Suncoast Sierra Clubs
attended a Tampa Bay Area Inner City Outings OLT101, Water Safety and
Basic Canoe Skills training at Crystal Springs Preserve in Zephryhills.
The training took place in the springs where each particapant learned and
practiced various canoeing skills, including paddling, canoe rescue and retieval.
The attendees include Hadrian Alegarbes, Chris Altenbernd, Steve Bourque,
Craig Chambers, Courtney Covin, JC Devitt, Michael Ives, Lou Gomes, Emily and
Dennis Joyce, Carol MacInnes, Francine Michel, Rocky Milburn, Cassandra Moll,
Robert Morgan, Julie and David Morningstar, Sonya Rose, Christine Schiebel and
- Rocky Milburn
Chair, Inner City Outings, Tampa Bay Sierra
FLUSH THE TPP: Trans Pacific Partnership
The Central Florida Sierra Club has joined activists from labor, fair trade, and the general community, to hold a light brigade protest.
Using giant boards with LED lights, the message “Flush the TPP” is spelled out to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secretive trade deal
that threatens to worsen a global race to the bottom for wages, consumer safety, health and environmental standards. These boards are displayed
in places such as Lake Eola (downtown Orlando) and we pass out fliers and talk to people as they walk by the boards. We have had a lot of
interest in the TPP subject because of our light brigade.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed deal between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, is poised to become the largest
trade agreement in U.S. history. It could have wide-reaching influence on the quality of life of everyday Americans. And yet,
the only people at the negotiating table are corporate lobbyists and government negotiators, not groups concerned about workers,
public health, free speech, the environment or consumer protections. Groups such as the Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the Friends of the Earth
and the Rainforest Action Network have raised concerns about the TPP and the environment.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) text has been written by 600 corporate advisors over the past 5 years.
The text has been kept secret, but what we know of the text has been learned from leaks.
Congressman Alan Grayson was allowed to view part of the text, but he was not allowed to share with his staff or to take written notes.
International treaties trump local, state and federal law. Fast track eliminates the ability to amend the treaty and sets a maximum time of
90 days to complete the voting process and limits debate to a maximum of 20 hours in the House and in the Senate.
Local citizens need to tell the White House no fast track agreements-we want to have the right to know what our country is trading away.
It really comes down to this: If the TPP passes, no jurisdiction in any signatory country will have the legal right to restrict ANY business
practice unless they are willing to risk being sued in an international tribunal of corporate lawyers for every penny of potential lost profits.
Corporate courts with corporate lawyers would alternate between representing the corporations AND serving as judges between the people and the
corporations. Local, state, or national governments that have, or pass, laws defending citizens or the environment could face fines or penalties
if these corporate courts find that their laws undermine the ability of a corporation to make future profits.
The Obama administration has promised to seek approval for this agreement as early as fall of this year. In order to pass, a special law known
as “fast track” must be in place, allowing only an up or down vote in Congress. Congress seems ready to give the President what he wants.
So our first job is to defeat fast track. Don’t allow it to pass through Congress. We’re not opposed to trade, but it needs to be Clean, Green and Fair.
For more information and links to other sources, Like us / join us on Facebook: Orlando Light Brigade,
CWA 3108 Union Hall, Sierra Club Central Florida Group, Central Florida AFL – CIO, and Floridians against the Trans Pacific Partnership – TPP.
New Fiction Book by James W. Hall
Considers an attack on the Turkey Point Nuclear Plant.
In his new book, Going Dark, local South Florida writer and professor at FIU Dr. James Hall
has his anti-hero,Thorn, involved with a plot to blow up Turkey Point power plant on the
shores of Biscayne Bay.
Yes, it is fiction, but the details of the plant site, the cooling pits full of spent fuel rods,
and the waters of Biscayne Bay are very familiar to us. Sierra Club gets a mention
too as the drama plays out. Download the book today or support your local bookseller
and stop by for copy.
Two Videos show an "environment under attack"
in Miami-Dade County.
Bradley Stark, SC Miami Group, joined up with creative director, Nick Katzenback and Ed Asner, to create an Anti-nuclear Video.
Working with Ed Asner was a real treat for the producers and as Nick describes,Want to See Your Sierra Group's News Here?
Send your story (400 words) to email@example.com
"Ed is just a wonderful guy. He's smart, funny,
intellectual and quick-witted. He is a consummate professional who delivered a hefty script with ease and conviction.
It was inspiring to work with someone so accomplished and still so passionate."
View the video now at Boondoggle - Sierra Club Florida YouTube
The controversial - and potentially devastating dredging of Biscayne Bay proposed by the Port of Miami has been allowed to start.
The judge in a lawsuit to save the bay said that there were plenty of safety measures in place. However, fragile Virginia Key
is now overflowing with the dredge material with no other plans in place but to stick it there.
Some people feel that the "Battle for Biscayne Bay" is the battle for the heart of Miami. A compelling new video
tells the story of how the Port of Miami's "Deep Dredge" will impact the fragile, marine environments
surrounding the Port.
See the video at Deep Dredge
An Offer from the Florida Conservation Coalition
The Florida Conservation Coalition is now distributing a daily email with
short summaries and links to the top reporting, editorials, and op-eds
concerning Florida’s environment. It available to anyone who joins the Coalition.
The Florida Conservation Coalition is a non-partisan and non-profit group of concerned citizens dedicated to protecting and conserving Florida's water
and natural resources. It was organized in 2011 in response to the actions of the Florida government to weaken and repeal conservation gains in Florida.
Sierra Club Florida is a founding member of the coalition, as is Former Governor Bob Graham.
When you sign up to Join the coalition, click on the "Daily News Service" box at the bottom.
The signup form is at Join Coalition . For more info, go to
www.floridaconservationcoalition.org . You can also choose to read the news on that home page.
Plea from the Apalachicola Riverkeepers
The Florida Conservation Coalition has delivered a letter, signed by Senator Graham, to Senators Nelson and Rubio regarding
the need for Congressional action to restore freshwater flow in the Apalachicola River.
Now the Apalachicola Riverkeeper (ARK) has started an online petition calling on Congress to act to protect the Apalachicola.
The ARK folks believe a successful petition campaign could help influence legislators in upcoming discussions on the WRDA in the House.
"If we can generate only a couple thousand signatures the site hosting the petition will send it out to tens or hundreds of thousand people on our behalf."
WRDA will be up for debate in the House soon, so act now. The petition link is