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The Next Chapter Meeting - June 28
The June meeting of the Florida Chapter will be held at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Group Leaders and Executive Committee members are welcome to participate. Meeting will begin at 9 AM and end at 5 PM. Please RSVP as soon as you can or send questions to John Swingle at poppajohn46@gmail.com, or to Debbie Matthews at treehuggerdeb@gmail.com. See agenda below.

The June conference call of the Group Advisory Council will be Wednesday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m.
The Council calls are to help support our Groups and exchange information.
Email John.Swingle@florida.sierraclub.org for the call-in number and topic.

2014 Calendar

DATE EVENT

January 2014

New SC Florida ExCom takes Office

March 15,2014

Chapter Meeting - Meeting in Lakeland

May 15, 2014

Nominations Open for SC Florida ExCom 2015

May 17, 2014

Political Training - Meeting in Lakeland

June 28, 2014

Chapter & Group Leaders Meeting at Eckerd College

June 29, 2014

Chapter Executive Committee Meeting at Eckerd College

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

September 27, 2014

Chapter Meeting w/ Election & Awards at Eckerd College

December 6, 2014

Chapter Meeting - Conservation Planning in Lakeland

January 2015

Next SC Florida ExCom takes office


Draft Agenda for June Chapter Meeting:

9:00 AM - Welcome, Introductions – Introduce new Chapter ExCom Member Mark Walters.
9:15 AM – National News – New MOLE/CORE Platforms to be Released soon.
9:35 AM – OUR WILD America/ Outings.
10:00 AM – Beyond Coal Campaign Update.
10:30 AM - Sierra Club FL Staff Report.
11:15 AM – Break
11:30 AM – Sierra Club FL Executive Committee Update.
11:45 AM – Discussion of Regional Meetings.
12:30 PM – Break for Lunch.
1:15 PM – Member Outreach/ Engaging Members.
1:45 PM – Break-out sessions on engaging members.
3:15 PM – Break – If needed, up to each group.
4:00 PM – Reconvene large group for discussion.
4:45 PM – Meeting Review and Take Aways for Your Group.
5:00 PM – Conclusion.




News from Around the State


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, Sierra Club






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.
-Mary-Slater Linn



 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,
"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 online petition.


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