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  • Environment Florida Rallies Citizens, Scientists and Farmers to Call on EPA to Follow Sound Science, Protect Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River | Environment Florida
    Act that nearly 30 of Florida s streams at risk of unchecked pollution many of which feed and filter Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River Whether we re kayaking on the Hillsborough River fishing in Tampa Bay or just drinking the water that comes out of our tap all Floridians have a stake in clean water said Jennifer Rubiello Field Associate with Environment Florida With the drinking water for close to 2 million Floridians at risk it s time for the EPA to act to protect Tampa Bay and all of Florida s waterways Florida s public comments were among more than 100 000 collected across the environmental community during a short 45 day comment period and represent just a fraction of those across Florida who are concerned about the health of Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River The comments urge EPA to follow through on the science of the report which Floridians that polluting smaller streams and wetlands that are not currently protected by the Clean Water Act has a demonstrable effect on waterways downstream like Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River In September the agency announced that it is moving forward with a formal rulemaking to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act and ensure that the streams and wetlands that feed and filter Florida s iconic waterways are protected More than 100 000 people have made their voices heard all of Florida s waterways deserve our protection from Tampa Bay to the Everglades said Rubiello The science here is common sense We can t protect even our most iconic waterways without protecting the streams and wetlands that feed and filter them The comments came from everyday people who depend on Florida s waterways for drinking water and use Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River for recreation scientists

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/news/fle/environment-florida-rallies-citizens-scientists-and-farmers-call-epa-follow-sound-science (2016-05-01)
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  • Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River are Haunted by Nitrogen and Fecal Coliform | Environment Florida
    country The rule could close loopholes that leave nearly 30 of Florida s streams and the drinking water for close to 2 million Floridians at risk of unchecked pollution The most terrifying facts revealed today include Tampa Bay is the largest open water estuary on the Gulf of Mexico yet it is assaulted by more than 4 billion gallons of oil fertilizer ingredients and other hazardous materials each year 1 Tampa St Petersburg is the most densely populated region in all of Florida yet Hillsborough County ranks first in Florida for miles of streams unprotected by the Clean Water Act and much of Florida has no data whatsoever 2 More than 80 percent of the lakes and reservoirs that have been tested in Florida have failed basic water quality standards 3 Yet over 2 3 of the Florida delegation voted to undermine restoration of Clean Water Act safeguards 4 Cathy Harrelson Florida Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network observed What s even scarier is what s at stake For the folks around here the Hillsborough River and Tampa Bay mean fishing boating swimming kayaking and enjoying the rich bounty of wildlife in these freshwater and saltwater playgrounds in our backyard Our springs rivers lakes and streams provide drinking water for us and habitat for the fish aquatic and marine species that make Florida a visitors paradise The Hillsborough River and the hundreds of miles of streams and creeks that feed into it are probably the most important in the state for water supply added Pete Owens Professional Engineer for the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County Most of the city of Tampa gets water from the Hillsborough and when flows are great enough it provides water for the entire region The EPA is taking public comments until November 3rd and

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/news/fle/tampa-bay-and-hillsborough-river-are-haunted-nitrogen-and-fecal-coliform (2016-05-01)
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  • Top 10 Scariest Facts About the Everglades | Environment Florida
    the highest mercury levels in fish in Florida The average male Florida panther has higher estrogen levels than females due to the estrogenic properties of mercury in the fish they eat The mercury comes from coal fired power plants and industrial facilities like cement plants Polluted runoff from nearby sugarcane and other agricultural operations as well as encroaching urban sprawl significantly alters the Everglades complex and unique water chemistry This year the SFWMD acknowledged that even if pollution loading to Lake Okeechobee stopped today it would take more than 20 years for water quality in the Lake to be restored The South Florida Water Management District currently allows discharges of water into the Everglades that contains 9 times more phosphorus than allowed under the Clean Water Act This creates what is called nutrient pollution that causes harmful algae blooms Nutrient pollution causes algae blooms that take oxygen out of the water suffocating much of the natural flora and fauna More than 25 percent of the Everglades has been damaged by excessive nutrient pollution Clean up of Everglades phosphorus pollution was supposed to be completed by 2012 but the state legislature extended it to 2016 Now Gov Rick Scott is requesting the deadline be pushed to 2022 and asking for millions more dollars Phosphorus levels in Lake Okeechobee are 3 5 times higher than recommended causing algae blooms and other indicators of profound imbalances Wastewater utilities dry sludge from sewage treatment plants and spread it on fields in the Lake Okeechobee watershed as a disposal method Sludge contributes nearly a quarter of the phosphorous in the watershed Around 1913 water levels in Lake Okeechobee dropped from around 22 feet above mean sea level to about 15 feet above mean sea level primarily to provide flood control By maintaining the Lake at

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/news/fle/top-10-scariest-facts-about-everglades (2016-05-01)
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  • New Climate Science Report Warns of Increased Risk, Need for Action | Environment Florida
    officially released its latest report on global warming yesterday The report adds to the ever growing body of evidence that action on to limit carbon pollution is urgently needed and without it risk to future generations will only continue to grow Jennifer Rubiello field associate with Environment Florida issued the following statement in response We already know that global warming is happening and the chief cause is the burning of fossil fuels What this report makes crystal clear is that serious action now to limit carbon pollution is needed to reduce the risk to our children and future generations When the risks are as dramatic as intense flooding of our coastal communities sea level rise or ocean acidification destroying our precious coral reefs we owe it to future generations to act We know what we have to do to reduce carbon pollution and we already have the tools in place Our new report Moving America Forward shows that clean energy policies to expand renewable energy and increase efficiency have already reduced Florida s carbon pollution in 2012 by the equivalent of taking over 900 000 cars off the road The Environmental Protection Agency is working on a new plan that

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/news/fle/new-climate-science-report-warns-increased-risk-need-action (2016-05-01)
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  • Clean Energy Is Cutting Carbon, But Florida Lags | Environment Florida
    is ground zero for climate change Salt water intrusion threatens the Everglades and our drinking water supply while ocean acidification due to high levels of carbon dioxide puts our very valuable fisheries at risk killing or drastically altering valuable undersea ecosystems like the Florida Keys Miami and Tampa are among the world s 10 cities most endangered by continued sea level rise Yet still coal and gas fired power plants are America s largest source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming Environment Florida pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency s EPA s plan to move forward with limits on carbon pollution from power plants as the next step to fight global warming and shift to clean energy Right now EPA limits arsenic lead soot and other pollution from power plants but not carbon pollution Power plants are America s largest source of the carbon pollution fueling global warming accounting for about 40 percent of total emissions Key findings from the report include Renewable electricity standards have helped Florida develop enough renewable energy to offset as much carbon pollution as 180 000 cars produce in a year Energy efficiency policies have helped avoid as much carbon pollution as over 400 000 cars produce in a year The success of clean energy policies in other states has proven that investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency can cut carbon pollution and could help Florida meet federal carbon standards By missing out on strong local clean energy Florida isn t only missing out on the economic and public health benefits of local wind solar and energy efficiency said Lake Worth City Commissioner Christopher McVoy We re also not doing our part to fight global warming that threatens Florida s future with sea level rise Climate change is already having a serious impact throughout many of our nation s communities noted Congressman Patrick Murphy In our area of Florida we are seeing these changes first hand as sea levels rise and the storms we face every hurricane season become more violent and dramatic That is why I believe national initiatives to address carbon emissions are so important and that policies that will reduce pollution incentivize greater use of renewable energy sources and encourage the development of energy efficient technologies should be supported Taken together these steps have the promise to not only reduce U S greenhouse gas emissions but also stimulate investment in and development of innovative clean energy business approaches The Pine Jog Environmental Education Center facility is one example of what can happen when systems partner with one another to create beautiful facilities that are healthier more cost effective to operate and environmentally cleaner said Ray Coleman executive director of Florida Atlantic University s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center I wish to applaud the groups that embrace these practices despite the lack of policy in Florida mandating renewable energy and energy efficiency Limits on carbon from power plants will build on projects like this one and could help spur even more

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/news/fle/clean-energy-cutting-carbon-florida-lags (2016-05-01)
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  • Sunshine State Lags Behind Leading Solar States, Ranking 16th in Solar Per Capita Gainesville is a Bright Spot | Environment Florida
    the Sunshine State Since Gainesville led the way in 2009 many other communities have also adopted FIT or CLEAN Clean Local Energy Accessible Now programs Ft Collins Colorado Palo Alto California Long Island New York and Los Angeles California now have utility solar policies that follow this model FIT CLEAN policies are responsible for the vast majority of installed renewable energy internationally I am hoping the experience in Gainesville and in these other communities serves as a good model for utilities across the country said Hanrahan Gainesville Regional Utilities GRU is pleased with the success we have seen with our solar programs Since the implementation of the FIT program we have seen great growth in all of our solar programs said Rachel Meeks Business Efficiency Program Coordinator at Gainesville Regional Utilities Solar is on the rise across the country America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity as it did in 2010 and more than 10 times as much as it did in 2007 Environment Florida attributed the solar boom to the leadership of state officials especially those in states profiled in the report More and more homes and businesses are turning to solar as a pollution free energy source with no fuel costs said Allen With the increasing threat of global warming Florida must become a leading solar state As the fourth most populous state it ranks 11th in the nation on total solar capacity But it lags behind much smaller states including Massachusetts and New Jersey While there is some notable progress on solar in Florida including a number of relatively large solar installations including Florida Power and Light s Martin Next Energy Center a 75 MW concentrating solar facility and the DeSoto Next Energy Center a 25 MW facility completed by sunpower The report indentifies Florida as lacking many of the policies that have helped solar flourish in other states Florida is an underachiever when it comes to solar said Charlie Coggeshall Renewable Energy Manager Southern Alliance for Clean Energy While some utilities have programs such as net metering that provide a good foundation clear deficiencies in state level energy policy have inhibited Florida s solar industry and national and regional standing Fortunately local governments like Gainesville are not waiting for the state and are instead demonstrating leadership within their own jurisdictions As more local governments and surrounding states such as North Carolina and Georgia continue to embrace solar energy as an economic and environmental asset we hope Florida will rise to their potential as a solar leader The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy for the development of the solar industry States profiled in the report include Arizona California Colorado Delaware Hawaii Maryland Massachusetts Nevada New Jersey New Mexico North Carolina and Vermont While these 12 states account for only 28 percent of the U S population they make up 85

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/news/fle/sunshine-state-lags-behind-leading-solar-states-ranking-16th-solar-capita-gainesville (2016-05-01)
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  • Lighting The Way | Environment Florida
    percent less global warming pollution per unit of energy than coal fired power plants over their entire life cycle and 91 percent less global warming pollution than natural gas fired power plants Solar energy benefits consumers by reducing the need for expensive investments in long distance transmission lines Solar energy can lower electricity costs by providing power at times of peak demand Solar energy costs are falling rapidly The cost of installed solar energy systems fell by 27 percent during 2012 on top of a 20 percent decline between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2011 Solar energy creates local clean energy jobs that can t be outsourced More than 119 000 people currently work in America s solar energy industry most of them in jobs such as installation that are located in close proximity to the places where solar panels are installed Solar energy is on the rise especially in states that have adopted strong public policies to encourage solar power The amount of solar photovoltaic capacity in the United States has increased more than tenfold in the last six years America s solar energy revolution is being led by 12 states which have the highest per capita solar electricity capacity in the nation These 12 states Arizona Nevada Hawaii New Jersey New Mexico California Delaware Colorado Vermont Massachusetts North Carolina and Maryland account for 28 percent of the U S population and 21 percent of U S electricity consumption but 85 percent of total U S solar electricity capacity and 87 percent of the solar photovoltaic capacity installed in 2012 America s leading solar states have adopted strong policies to encourage homeowners and businesses to go solar Among the top dozen states 11 of the 12 have strong net metering policies In nearly all of these states consumers are compensated at the full retail rate for the excess electricity they supply to the grid Net metering ensures that consumers receive reliable and fair compensation for the excess electricity they provide to the grid 10 of the 12 have strong statewide interconnection policies Good interconnection policies reduce the time and hassle required for individuals and companies to connect solar energy systems to the grid 11 of the 12 have renewable electricity standards that set minimum requirements for the share of a utility s electricity that must come from renewable sources and 9 of them have solar carve outs that set specific targets for solar or other forms of clean distributed electricity The vast majority of the states allow for creative financing options such as third party power purchase agreements and property assessed clean energy PACE financing States in the Dazzling Dozen are far more likely to have each of these key solar policies in place than other states reinforcing the conclusion of U S Department of Energy research linking the presence of key solar policies to increases in solar energy deployment Strong public policies at every level of government can help unlock America s potential for clean

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/reports/fle/lighting-way-0 (2016-05-01)
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  • Energy Efficient Buildings Would Reduce Global Warming Pollution, Save Florida Families $590 Annually | Environment Florida
    wasted flying out of leaky doors and windows This high level of energy consumption pumps billions of tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere and costs Americans nearly 400 billion every year Environment Florida was joined by Maggie Theriot Director of Leon County s Office of Resource Stewardship Suzanne Cook Executive Director Florida Green Building Coalition and Michele Rehwinkel Vasilinda State Representative District 9 Our report Building a Better America Reducing Pollution and Saving Money with Efficiency analyzes the benefits Florida and other states would see if we committed to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings The report uses government data to estimate reduced energy consumption decreased fossil fuel use money saved on energy bills and global warming pollution prevented in 2020 and 2030 Making our buildings more efficient would Reduce the projected energy use of Florida s buildings 27 percent by 2030 Prevent the emission of 64 million tons of global warming pollution every year by 2030 the equivalent of taking 12 6 million cars off the road Save the average Florida family of four 590 a year by 2030 That s the best part about making energy efficiency improvements said Moncrief They pay for themselves as consumers enjoy lower energy bills and a cleaner environment year after year The first and foremost step in energy efficient buildings is conservation said Suzanne Cook Before spending money on efficient equipment and renewable energy options the building envelope and mechanical systems need to be leak free she added Environment Florida is calling for policies that will help us reach our efficiency goals including Steady improvements to building codes over time so that all new buildings are increasingly efficient culminating in a zero net energy standard by 2030 when new buildings should be so efficient that they

    Original URL path: http://environmentflorida.org/news/flc/energy-efficient-buildings-would-reduce-global-warming-pollution-save-florida-families-590 (2016-05-01)
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