Florida fails acid test

Florida’s delicate environment is especially vulnerable to the impact of oil and gas exploration, yet the state’s system for keeping public records on oil and gas projects “is unorganized and unintuitive to navigate” and some data is “mislabeled or missing entirely,” according to a January 2022 report. A nine-person team from the University of Southern … Read more

Hundreds of citizen petitions oppose growth

Nearly 200,000 people throughout the United States have signed 236 change.org petitions aimed at stopping growth and development that they see as harmful to their communities.Florida residents launched 22 of the petitions as part of what change.org calls the Stop Disruptive Building in Our Community movement. Below are excerpts of some of the petitions along … Read more

Make way for the gondolas

An aerial tram, micro transporters and low-speed bicycle boulevards are envisioned under a new plan in the historic city of St. Augustine, founded in 1565. On Feb. 14, city commissioners gave initial approval to fees for new construction that would pay for a mobility plan that would promote “the continued transition from a transportation system … Read more

Miami manatees in peril

It’s every man – make that manatee – for himself. Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved a plan allowing hundreds of boats to cruise through sensitive manatee habitat in Biscayne Bay during the 2022 Miami Boat Show, which runs through Feb. 20. They OK’ed the plan even though their own environmental experts recommended against it. Nearly 10,000 … Read more

State land use laws favor developers

Florida once had “one of the most comprehensive and progressive land use planning programs,” as one expert put it, but those days are long gone. Changes in the state’s land use planning program have chipped away at local government’s authority, tipping the scales in favor of developers. Efforts to manage growth in Florida began in … Read more

Activist: “We need these wild spaces.”

Elizabeth Smith is leading an effort to preserve 33 acres of open space near her neighborhood in St. Augustine, Florida. Below are excerpts of an interview with her: We don’t want this land developed at all. We feel that there must be some concession made not only to the wildlife who lives here, but also … Read more

Resident: “You went bonkers with development”

St. Johns County officials asked the state of Florida to fast-track a major change – adding 5,600 dwelling units and 2,394 acres to a huge residential development called SilverLeaf. State officials rejected the proposal, saying it exceeded both state and county guidelines. “…the County should resubmit the amendment package under the state coordinated review process … Read more

Study: Urban sprawl will claim 7 million acres

By 2070, Florida’s population is expected to jump to 34 million, from nearly 22 million, as urban development devours 7 million acres of rural and natural land the size of Vermont. New construction – including shopping centers, restaurants, roads and subdivisions – is expected to trigger a loss of wildlife. “More than 1.6 million acres … Read more

Lawsuit: U.S. gov’t complicit in Florida manatee deaths

Environmental activists on Tuesday sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, alleging that the agency has failed to protect the beloved Florida manatee in violation of the Endangered Species Act and other federal regulations. The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Save the Manatee Club say the federal government’s inaction threatens the … Read more