Sunday, February 5, 2012

Public Lands Headed for Degradation and Defacement

The Florida Conservation Coalition published a Legislative Alert this afternoon saying the legislature is considering proposals that would allow oil and gas drilling on any onshore state land without regard for its environmental value.  Could lead to advertisements and commercial messages where only natural Florida habitat is now preserved.
Estus Whitfield of the FCC, author of the alert, says, “Signs or displays for advertising and public relations may be placed at trailheads, trail intersections, directional or distance markers, interpretative exhibits and parking areas.  One has to ask – will this bill enhance my outdoor, nature experience?
Estus Whitfield was the primary environmental advisor for four governors of both parties: Graham, Martinez, Chiles, and Bush.
In Sandspur’s view, this is just more of CEO Scott’s uninformed disdain for what has been carefully and in some cases painfully established for Floridians and its visitors over the last 40 years, hopefully to protect and preserve a little bit of nature for our children and theirs.  These bills reflect no understanding of and no appreciation for natural Florida.  They are foolishness. 
While Scott didn’t introduce the legislation, he is probably behind the maneuver.  He has proposed such nonsense before through his henchman, Herschel Vinyard in the past.  Vinyard’s last attack on state parks was a proposal to construct a campground at Honeymoon Island that would accommodate huge campers and rolling motorhomes.  He has defended his decision to push for campgrounds at Honeymoon Island and 55 other state parks as a way to raise revenue for the state.

After a number of very vocal crowds showed up at public hearings to oppose the move at Honeymoon Island, however, Scott backed off and sent out a news release saying, “After seeing the public's reaction, it is clear that this is not the right time to expand camping at Honeymoon Island State Park. . . These natural treasures belong to all the tax-paying citizens of this state and it would be unfair to proceed with a plan that so many Floridians are so adamantly opposed to."
Apparently, the CEO Governor is beginning to "get" the significance of numbers, especially as re-election time gets closer.
Time for Florida’s Environmental Conscience to get vocal once again and show it is “adamantly opposed.”   Your emails and calls do have an impact.  Believe it.
Read FCC’s Alert in your browser HERE, or in full blow … and ACT;

Florida Conservation Coalition
Legislative Alert February 5, 2012,
by Estus Whitfield

HB 695 (SB 1158) and CS/HB 181 (SB 268)
If you believe that our public state lands –state parks, preserves, forests, wildlife management areas, and greenways and trails- should be protected against degradation and defacement, then you should take notice and pay careful attention to these bills.

CS/HB 695 (Ford and Smith) and it Senate companion SB 1185 (Evers) would allow the state to authorize exploration, development, and production of oil and gas on any onshore state land regardless of whether it is a park preserve, or forest, or environmentally valuable and sensitive.  This is presented as a potential state revenue producer.

CS/HB 695 is now in the Appropriations Committee and has another referral to the State Affairs Committee.  SB 1185 has referrals to the Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee, Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, and Budget Committee. 

CS/HB 181 (Slosberg) and its Senate companion CS/CS/ SB 268 (Wise) would allow the DEP to enter concession agreements with a private business or a not-for-profit for naming rights of state greenway and trail facilities or property, or for commercial sponsorship to be displayed on the facilities or property.  Signs or displays for advertising and public relations may be placed at trailheads, trail intersections, directional or distance markers, interpretative exhibits and parking areas.  One has to ask – will this bill enhance my outdoor, nature experience?  Will it even bolster the sale of walking shoes? The bill, if it passes, will be known as the “John Anthony Wilson Bicycle Safety Act”.

CS/HB 181 is now in the Appropriations Committee and has a referral to the State Affairs Committee.  CS/CS/ SB 268 is ON THE AGENDA of the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee for Feb. 6, 3:00 P.M. (This is the last committee.)

Please contact the following senators: CS/CS/SB 268 Sponsor:
Senator Steven Wise (R), Committee Chair:
Senator Eleanor Sobel (D).                                 

1 comment:

  1. Do you want to know why our CEO/ Prof. Harold Hill wants to let anyone trample all over our Florida Everglades and other beautiful, pristine lands for which Florida is so well known and to which visitors throng.
    All you have to do is look at the decimation job he and his slaves and minions in Brooksville have done to SWFWMD. Since he has successfully reduced the staff to none functioning levels by getting rid of very many talented people, he can now tell Floridians that there wouldn't be enough people available to maintain those valuable resources and therefore, we don't need them, making tourist stay home or come to Florida to gamble. See, if we don't agree with him, he cries, stamps his feet and hundreds are out of work. Then, through his further ineptness, he brings in a few drones with absolutely no knowledge of their jobs, gives them the title of "Executive Director" or "Director" , ups their salaries and everything is fine.
    Well it is not fine folks and as long as we allow the State Legislature, bought and paid for by Harold, We are in for chaos. I will send emails to our legislators. However, that could be a waste of time since the majority of them cannot read and only understand the words "OH YES MIGHTY HAROLD, WHATEVER YOU WISH SIRE"