Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Florida Voters: Happy Thanksgiving and Gov. Rick Scott thinks you are really, really stupid ... by gimleteye


It's an interesting Florida phenomenon in the Age of Trump: there is so much lying at the top that even the good guys -- or at least a lot of them -- have given up on persuasion tactics unless they involve fawning. Consider water pollution and the vast destruction of Florida's coastal real estate values, rivers, bays and Everglades.

The Palm Beach Post recently reported a visit by Gov. Rick Scott to a section of restored Everglades wetlands. Scott's spin: “Everglades restoration has been clearly a priority over the last seven years. We have made historic progress with environmental restoration projects over the last seven years but we’ve got a lot left to do." There is only one reason for those restored wetlands: environmental groups and the Miccosukee Tribe successfully sued the state of Florida in federal court and won.

There is one inarguable marker for progress: how politics in Tallahassee are efficiently ordered when it comes to doing Big Sugar's bidding; the troops are in place and the marching rehearsals have all been timed with metronomes. The state and Big Sugar are STILL appealing the federal ruling that caused wetlands to be restored; vast acreage that was designated for water quality and pollution clean up of Big Sugar's runoff BEFORE the historic flooding of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee in the winter of 2015/2016.

Scott aims to succeed Bill Nelson in the US Senate. Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, the sweet- faced boy whose family farm was bought out at multiples of appraised value by the South Florida Water Management District, aims to be next governor, and Matt Caldwell, Sugar's ambitious water carrier from Lee County, will slip into Putnam's position.

What they all have in common: Republicans are buried so deep in Big Sugar's pocket that daylight hardly escapes. Dems don't get a free pass.

In the last session of the legislature, the big ticket item was one that Big Sugar finessed like the practiced oligarchs: the additional conversion of lands already in public ownership into a vast storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee and their sugarcane fields -- more than 500,000 acres -- in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The price tag for the public to clean up this tranche of Big Sugar's pollution: nearly $2 billion.

Senate President Joe Negron initiated this critical legislation. It passed because Big Sugar let it through without necessary assurances that sufficient cleansing marshes in acreage would be included in the final law, leaving that pesky detail for later. Only one Democrat in the state senate, Jose Javier Rodriguez -- now running for Congress in the seat surrendered by Republican Ileana Ros Lehtinen -- supported Negron's effort to drive home a solid deal for Florida taxpayers. There were not enough Democratic votes to fix the legislation because Big Sugar had gotten to them, starting with Democratic senate minority leader Oscar Braynon.

What emerged was badly flawed and only had a chance of succeeding if the South Florida Water Management District -- run by Gov. Scott directly -- did the necessary science modeling to determine if the reservoir design and scope established by law was adequate to the purpose: stopping plumes of polluted fresh water from destroying our rivers, bays, estuaries and Everglades.

So between the end of the legislative session last May and now, what has happened?

As deadlines crept up, the District kept a closed lid on its deliberations. It finally granted an opportunity for public comment without presenting any of the science models to show that the proposed reservoir plan was large enough in acreage, including cleansing marshes, to solve the pollution problems plaguing the southern half of the state.

The reason for the plan: vast contamination of coastal waterways and real estate on both coasts as a consequence of historical rainfall in the winter of 2015/2016. The cause of the massive pollution: Big Sugar's domination of water management infrastructure in South Florida. The state's multi-billion dollar flood control system is designed and operated with a single, top purpose. Keep Big Sugar's crops dry when it rains too much, and irrigated when it is too dry.

The emergence of a new constituency for outraged citizenry, activated by groups like Bullsugar.org and Captains For Clean Water, was unexpected. Citizens who trundled to the governing board meetings of the water management district were regularly treated like trash by Scott's designated board chair, Peter Antonucci.

At the district headquarters in West Palm Beach, Big Sugar staged counter-protests with hired actors through the agency of Trump confidante, Roger L. Stone. Where was Rick Scott? Hiding in Tallahassee and planning his Senate campaign.

Big Sugar has reinforced decades of mismanagement with a rigorous scheme of political campaign contributions and public "outreach"; recruiting community leaders to defend its barriers when public resistance emerges to its command and control of Florida's fresh water. It has continuously and successfully elbowed federal agencies out of a management role, leaving power to the state and its control through political contributions including rivers of dark money.

When Rick Scott began his unlikely campaign to win the executive office in 2012, with no prior experience in public service, one friend popped up to help: Big Sugar. Ever since, Scott has played the compliant and complicit actor in giving Big Sugar whatever it wants, when it wants and claiming victory when it is not his.

It doesn't take imagination to see that Gov. Scott is operating on bad faith. His water management district governing board set up a public comment period to end virtually on Thanksgiving Day. We know what that is meant for: for Big Sugar to thank Rick Scott by pushing him into the US Senate for endorsing a plan that is in the end will primarily benefit Big Sugar. Again.

The Everglades? Florida's badly damaged rivers and bays? Taxpayers? If you have to ask the question, you know the answer.


From Bullsugar:


Senate President Joe Negron’s legacy is in jeopardy. 
Ironically, even as the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie are being crushed once again by discharges, we are closer than we’ve ever been to a real solution, thanks largely to his championing SB10 this year. But the devil is in the details, and as gratifying as progress is, we’re watching it slip away through a flawed planning process.
The South Florida Water Management District doesn’t appear to be acting in good faithto follow the letter and spirit of SB10 or to stop the discharges. The plans they’re showing the public are designed to fail, at least for the purpose that Joe intended.
Independent expert analysis and the district’s own presentation reveal that their plans are either impossible to follow, won't do much to stop the discharges, or both:
  • The reservoir dimensions they propose would need towering sides, berms more than 50 feet high, and depths requiring space-age pumps that may not exist. The design has to be cost-effective for federal approval, and engineers say any configuration much deeper than 12-½ feet can’t be built or run efficiently enough to qualify.
  • The plan doesn’t include enough land to clean the water efficiently--approximately 13,000 acres of STAs for 240,000 acre-feet of lake water--which will restrict the reservoir’s ability to maximize discharge reduction. This is a bottleneck in the current proposal that undermines the reservoir’s entire purpose.
  • The district refuses to present modeling for wet years--the only time it matters. Instead they graphed an average year, when the project might send 300,000 acre-feet per year south. We don’t have a problem in an average year; designing this project for an average year is designing it to fail. We need to see projections for at least 1.3 million acre-feet--a relatively modest wet-year target.
  • The district’s approach begins with limitations that prevent the design from working: making treatment acreage a secondary consideration instead of starting with the minimum needed (the graph starts with zero treatment and still never reaches the reduction target); and assuming a fixed 16,000-acre footprint despite having as much as 15,000 acres of available public land in addition to the 14,000-acre A2 parcel. SFWMD has public land and the authority to use it--there’s no excuse not to model enough treatment.
SFWMD's own charts show a reservoir designed to fail
We can’t allow a state agency to sabotage the planning process and undermine our last chance to protect our water, our economies, our property values, and our health. Thankful as we are for what Joe has done this year, we need his leadership now more than ever to hold SFWMD accountable to deliver the solution we all fought for.



   
   

Bullsugar.org

http://www.bullsugar.org/

   

Captains For Clean Water
Our Estuaries Need Your Help Right Now!

We need your help! We are calling our members, supporters and followers to email the South Florida Water Management District by this Wednesday, November 22 and ask them to model a reservoir that is both effective at reducing Lake Okeechobee discharges, and cost effective to build. Sending a personal email to the EAA Reservoir Project Manager is an easy step you can take to help ensure the future of our estuaries.

Send an email to:
EAAreservoir@sfwmd.com
Mike Albert, Project Manager
South Florida Water Management District

Key Points (to include in email):

Ask the SFWMD to run modeling for the EAA Reservoir that takes into account ALL state-owned land in the EAA that may be used for land swaps.

Ask the SFWMD to increase treatment capacity by including additional Stormwater Treatment Areas within the EAA Reservoir project.

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) started the public planning process for the EAA Reservoir one month ago. After committing to upholding the timeline laid out in Senate Bill 10, the SFWMD released initial modeling for the reservoir project, but failed to include enough land for the project to construct a reservoir that would provide meaningful benefit to our estuaries. Senate Bill 10 identified land within the EAA which could be used for land swaps to create a large enough reservoir, coupled with Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs), to provide a meaningful conveyance of water through the EAA and into the Everglades. The SFWMD did not account for this in the modeling, and instead modeled reservoirs on a smaller tract of land without enough treatment capacity to alleviate discharges. Without sufficient treatment capacity, the reservoir will quickly fill up and will be unable to mitigate discharges. Also in question is the feasibility of constructing the reservoir concepts. One of the concepts calls for a 24-foot-deep reservoir, which would be cost prohibitive to construct and operate.

Captains for Clean Water is a grassroots 501(c)3 organization founded by a group of fishing guides and outdoorsmen who were frustrated with the water mismanagement and years of subsequent devastating effects in the state of Florida. Our unique approach focuses on building a culture that promotes clean water and healthy estuaries. Through education and advocacy, we fight for science based solutions to Florida’s water management issues.

We are working to hold the government accountable to implement recent legislation - that we helped pass - to protect Florida’s Everglades and coastal estuaries by reducing harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and restoring Florida’s historic water flow.

Join us in helping save Florida’s coastal estuaries and America’s Everglades by becoming a member of Captains for Clean Water.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

FPL roadblock on Turkey Point lawsuit is knocked down by federal court ... by gimleteye

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2017

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865-235-1448, Jennifer@cleanenergy.org

Advocates win important first round against FPL’s leaking nuclear plant
Judge rules that citizen groups’ Clean Water Act challenge can move forward

Miami, Fla. (November 21, 2017) – The Honorable United States District Judge Darrin P. Gayles, after a hearing and de novo review of the record on November 16, 2017, denied Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit against FPL for violations of the Clean Water Act and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit caused by their Turkey Point facility near Miami. Judge Gayles also adopted the recommendations and report of Magistrate Judge Otazo-Reyes who heard the case on August 3, 2017. Based on Judge Gayles’ ruling, the case will now likely be set for trial in 2018.

The Plaintiffs, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), Friends of Everglades (FOE) and Tropical Audubon Society (TAS), maintain that FPL’s proposed remedies will not stem the pollution from the Turkey Point facility’s open industrial cooling canals. Mechanical draft cooling towers are the best available control technology to fix the underlying problems at Turkey Point along with the closure of the failed cooling canals to stop the pollution seeping to Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park, and prevent additional groundwater contamination into the Biscayne Aquifer, South Florida’s sole source drinking water aquifer.

“We are pleased with the judge's ruling and look forward to our day in court. Once again, FPL has attempted to obstruct legal efforts to scrutinize their illegal behavior that has caused repeated and continuous violations of the Clean Water Act by operating an open industrial sewer at Turkey Point,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “FPL's imprudent actions have led to historic and ongoing discharges to the surface waters of Biscayne Bay that impact water quality and public health and safety. FPL needs to take scientifically-sound, aggressive action to address the ongoing pollution and repair the damage that their Turkey Point facility has caused. Continuing to rely on this failed cooling system is nothing short of utility malpractice.”

“Improving the salinity regime of Biscayne Bay and returning estuarine conditions to the nearshore area to support wildlife are the main goals of the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project, which is part of the 68 CERP projects within the Everglades Restoration Plan. The excessive salt loading from Turkey Point’s cooling canals is in direct conflict with these goals and with these large volumes of salt, there will likely be negligible improvements shown for the multi-million-dollar, tax-funded project. The decision to install cooling towers and the use of reuse water and the complete disconnection from the natural environment has the ability to make or break the success of this very important CERP project,” said Laura Reynolds, a consultant for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

In FPL’s Motion to Dismiss, and at last week’s hearing, FPL continued to allege that the 2016 Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Consent Order and the 2015 Florida Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) Consent Agreement was a bar to the lawsuit. FPL attempted to make the case that the state and local regulators had fully addressed surface-water pollution concerns that were raised in the lawsuit as the grounds for dismissing the lawsuit.

Dr. Jose Barros, president of Tropical Audubon Society, said, “Despite FPL’s objections to the decision, we are closer to getting our day in court to prove that FPL's proposed actions are inadequate to protect our communities, our two national parks and our threatened wildlife. FPL and state regulators need to take the necessary steps to respect and protect these fragile ecosystems for the sake of our region's health and safety. Building cooling towers will abate the salt loading into Biscayne Bay and the Southern Everglades caused by outdated cooling canals.”

Plaintiffs’ Attorney Gary Davis argued that while DEP and DERM addressed some elements of past ground-water pollution, they failed to address the full scope of surface water discharges and did nothing to abate the source of pollution. Davis argued that state and local regulatory efforts categorically failed to address the ongoing violations of FPL’s permits.

The Plaintiffs maintain that FPL’s cooling canal system will continue to harm Biscayne Bay and aquifer until comprehensive corrective action, such as replacing the antiquated cooling canals with new technology, is required.

“Judge Gayles’ decision represents an important, initial win for Floridians despite FPL’s continuing efforts to obstruct our case,” said Alan Farago, conservation chair of Friends of the Everglades. “With these threats to people and natural resources so clearly visible, we hope federal law can protect us when the state of Florida won’t. We’ve had our day in court and we will have another and another until FPL fixes its Turkey Point problems, once and for all.”

In a related proceeding, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) recently filed its brief with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) arguing that customers should not have to pay for the cleanup of the underground contamination plume created by FPL’s negligent operation of the Turkey Point cooling canals for decades. The Commission will render a final decision on FPL’s request in the Environmental Cost Recovery Clause docket on December 12, 2017.

Additional Information:

Find the September 20, 2017 Magistrate Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes’ Report and Recommendation denying FPL’s Motion to Dismiss here.

Find the original July 13, 2016 Clean Water Act lawsuit filing here and the amended complaint filed on October 11, 2016 here.

A telepress conference held by the citizen groups from August 2, 2017, explaining their case can be downloaded here.

Find the filed, expert declaration from Kirk Martin, a hydro-geologist and president of Water Science Associates, explaining the inadequacies with the enforcement efforts by the State (DEP). In August the groups filed a supplemental expert declaration further explaining how the County (DERM) regulatory agreement was similarly inadequate.



###


Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of Global Climate Change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.

Founded in 1947, Tropical Audubon Society works to conserve and restore natural South Florida ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats through advocacy and education for the benefit of biological diversity and humanity itself. Learn more at www.tropicalaudubon.org.

Founded in 1969, Friends of the Everglades compels government agencies to comply with existing environmental laws, encourages politicians to recognize the long consequences of their actions and spreads awareness of the importance of the Everglades to the South Florida ecosystem. Learn more at www.everglades.org.

More, from the William M. Hoeveler archive ... by gimleteye

Judge: Corps failed Glades
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bent the rules to issue mining permits for the Lake Belt, a federal judge finds.

CRAIG PITTMAN and MATTHEW WAITE
Published March 24, 2006


A federal judge ruled this week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to protect the environment when it approved permits allowing limestone miners to blast to bits more than 5,000 acres of wetlands in the Everglades.

In a scathing, 186-page decision issued Wednesday, Senior U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler said the corps rushed its decision, ignored science, shut out the public and failed to consider less-damaging alternatives.

Hoeveler found that corps officials acted from the start as if the mining permits would be approved. That "sense of inevitability," he wrote, resulted in the corps bending the rules to give the miners preference over the public interest.

Doomsday on Ice Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century. ... Eric Holtaus

Eric Holthaus calls the article he's published at Grist.org, the most important he's ever written. It's about the emerging branch of glacial science that is modeling the potential for rapid sea level rise on a twenty to fifty year time frame. (Remember, FPL has modeled 6 inches of sea level rise within this century for its plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point.) Next to a meteor strike, rapid sea-level rise from collapsing ice cliffs is one of the quickest ways our world can remake itself. This is about as fast as climate change gets.

Of rapid glacial ice-melt, Holthaus writes: "The only place in the world where you can see ice-cliff instability in action today is at Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland, one of the fastest-collapsing glaciers in the world. DeConto says that to construct their model, they took the collapse rate of Jakobshavn, cut it in half to be extra conservative, then applied it to Thwaites and Pine Island. But there’s reason to think Thwaites and Pine Island could go even faster than Jakobshavn."

I've visited Jakobshavn twice and wrote this in 2016:
The ice cap of Greenland is melting fast. Computer models of sea level rise are not keeping up with feedback loops for which there is no historical record: extreme heat, drought, flood, fires and the additions to the atmosphere not just of carbon dioxide from the burning of oil and coal and gas, but the release of methane from safe-keeping in the permafrost and warming oceans.

A visit to Iceland forces one to match these discordant facts -- a storyline on which civilization hangs in the balance -- with the awe-inspiring beauty of the place. It is unsettling. I didn't expect surprises. This was, after all, my second visit to Greenland since 2013. But I was surprised when I stepped off the helicopter onto the melting ice cap and sunk to my calves in slush. I felt a sense of fear I hadn't experienced by a landscape: dread.

In preparation for my visit, I corresponded with one of the world's leading scientists on glaciers and climate change, Jason Box. Box, featured in Rolling Stone last year, recently tweeted: "CO2 in air: Last time CO2 was at 400ppm, oceans were 15m-20m higher, temps 2–3°C warmer."

We are on a climate change path that is irreversible within our lifetimes and perhaps for many generations ahead.

The only question is whether we have the political willpower -- not just in the United States -- to embrace mitigation strategies and costs well in advance of when we may be too poor, as industrialized nations, to do anything about a rapidly changing climate. What do I mean, by "too poor"?

Our national tax base depends on a vast, multi-trillion dollar infrastructure that supports the stable asset value of personal property and of businesses, both large and small. Climate change is already sending shock waves, although we are now resilient enough to absorb them.
To read more on Greenland at Eye On Miami, click here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Federal Justice William M. Hoeveler ... by gimleteye

I never met Judge William M. Hoeveler, who passed away last week at age 95, but our lives intersected over decades of concern for the fate of America's Everglades.

Judge Hoeveler served as a judge on the US Southern District Court. His rulings occupy a special place in my heart and in my files.

To know how much heartbreak and indignation is warranted by the conduct of polluters like Big Sugar or rock miners -- who have used our Everglades as their sacrifice zones -- you would have to read through Judge Hoeveler's rulings and in particular the footnotes where he stuck his most trenchant observations.

Conservatives didn't like Hoeveler because they fundamentally disagree that protecting the environment from harm involves a federal role. Hoeveler, to them, represented a "liberal" point of view -- the common good as protected by federal law -- and they fought him at every turn, supported by their proxies in the appellate court.

That's not what Judge Hoeveler represented to conservationists who believe the federal courts are the last bulwark against polluters' determination to sow chaos in public processes meant to confer order on the relationship between industry profits and clean water for all.

This week I will post some of the Hoeveler file, in memory of a truly significant life.


Hoeveler's only bias is for the Everglades
Palm Beach Post Editorial
Monday, June 9, 2003


Sugar growers -- who showed their power by ramming through a law that delays Everglades cleanup for 10 years -- already own Florida's Legislature and Gov. Bush. Now, the industry wants to "get" the judge who has protected the fragile ecosystem for more than a decade.

The growers launched a two-front battle against U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler last week, claiming he should be removed from supervising the Everglades restoration because he is biased against them. Filing in Miami and in Atlanta, the state's biggest sugar companies cited Judge Hoeveler's recent rulings and comments to reporters as reasons he should be removed. The judge said the new Everglades law is "defective," criticized the South Florida Water Management District, the Legislature and Gov. Bush's advisers, and told a St. Petersburg Times reporter he no longer trusts Gov. Bush. Comments he made to the press echo those he made in open court.

The industry's contentions lack merit. Judge Hoeveler's comments don't compare to interviews outside the courtroom that resulted in another judge being removed from the Microsoft antitrust case. A final judgment hadn't been made in that case, which still was in trial.

In contrast, the Everglades lawsuit between the state and the federal government was settled in 1992, when Florida agreed to an order that set a 2006 deadline for reducing phosphorus pollution in the Everglades to 10 parts per billion. Judge Hoeveler is enforcing that order -- an order threatened by a law the sugar industry wrote and railroaded through the Legislature with Gov. Bush's blessing. The law extends the pollution cleanup deadline to 2016, opens the pollution limit to dispute and shifts payment for the cleanup from the sugar industry to state taxpayers.

The law also dims Florida's chances to win the federal money needed for the $8.4 billion state-federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Convincing Congress to spend federal money is a tough sell after the state has extended the cleanup deadline and weakened pollution standards.

The industry's real beef is Judge Hoeveler's plan to appoint a special master, a supervisor who would closely scrutinize cleanup details. The growers' pressure got him to postpone a hearing Tuesday when he was set to do that, but he still should. He has several outstanding candidates to consider. His best choice would be a man like himself: honest, honorable, and an unwavering advocate for the Everglades.

Judge William Hoeveler's Passing. By Geniusofdespair


Judge Hoeveler....long time ago - 1981

A Federal Judge in Miami Dade County, Judge William Hoeveler, has passed.

I wrote about him December 3rd 2006:
Last night at a dinner party I was asked whether there was anyone I admired. I mentioned Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. I thought again about it, do I have a more current hero? One living perhaps.

I now see a new hero emerge: Federal Judge William Hoeveler. Why do I keep picking Federal Judges as my heroes? Maybe it is because they can be purer of heart. They don’t have to worry about who butters their bread and what is best for the economy. They can figure out what is wrong and right based on truth. I have been in Judge Hoeveler’s Court Room. He is a towering man. A giant among men. I wish everyone could have such a hero.
We wrote many times about Judge Hoeveler. A sample of Judge Hoeveler's writing follows:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO.: 88-1886-CIV-HOEVELER

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., v. SOUTH FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT, ET AL.
ORDER

THIS CAUSE comes before the Court upon a hearing held on May 2, 2003 called by this Court to address state legislation concerning the Everglades restoration efforts which, as of the date of this Order, the bill in question had not yet been signed by the Governor into law. The Court now feels compelled to comment on the present situation, and take action, as described below.

During the hearing, the state parties repeatedly reassured this Court that the new state legislation, should it become law, will have no effect on the hard-won agreement reached by the parties more than a decade ago, and entered by this Court as a Consent Decree. To be clear, I wish to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that insofar as the new legislation, proves inconsistent with the Decree, the parties' obligations as yet forth in the Decree remain unaltered. The agreement embodied in that Decree remains binding upon the parties, and I intend to enforce it as it currently reads, unqualified.

This Court does not yet have cause to attempt to apply the legislation, and I sincerely hope I am never obliged to do so, for the bill is clearly defective in many respects. The loose language it employs in describing compliance with its own mandates, such as ""maximum extent practicable," robs it of meaning or binding effect. It opens the door to ten or more extra years with no showing that such a lengthy extension is necessary.

While I am deeply troubled by the content of the bill, I am dismayed by the process that led to its passage. The bill was moved quickly through the legislative process, reportedly at the behest of more then forty lobbyists for the sugar industry. There simply is no acceptable explanation for the speed by which this was accomplished, given the fact that the deadlines remain three and a half years off and given the State's assurances much of the cleanup project is proceeding on track. The important issues addressed, namely, the plan for funding and completing the restoration project, warranted serious consideration by Florida's elected representatives.

Moreover, the sponsors of the bill should have allowed time to consider input from the broad range of interests impacted. Yet the treatment of the bill seemed calculated to avoid federal participation or public scrutiny.

I am also concerned about the effect this turn of events will have on the partnership between the federal and state governments. Last tine we met, in October, the presentations her the United States and the state parties suggested a spirit of successful collaboration and shared optimism. The presentation by counsel for the United States at last week's hearing was cautious, to say the least. In a carefully worded statement, counsel for the United States described the bill as "Indeterminate" and "Puzzling." I agree.

I share the federal government's concerns that the state's commitment has been attenuated. And now, it is my understanding that the Governor intends to sign the bill. Apparently, he has been misled by persons who do not have the best interests of the Everglades at heart. It Is my fervent hope that he has the opportunity to compare the bill with the one it would replace, the Everglades Forever Act, and consider whether the derogation of its mandates and deadlines is necessary, or wise.

I and the parties have spent several years laboring over this process, during which I have heard from the best scientists on the progress of the Everglades restoration. Until now, most of the experts, with some exceptions, were satisfied that the work would be completed by December 31, 2006. While there was some caution expressed about that date, the hope was that we would make it. If not, I would think that additional time needed would not be great. Now, the proponents of the new Act talk about ten years, or more.

Because I fear the state's support has been withdrawn, I have decided to take action. Having delayed resolution of this issue some time now, I have decided to appoint a Special Master in this case, as I am convinced that further oversight over the administration of the Decree is necessary. I do not intend to entertain further discussion as to whether a Special Master is warranted, but I recognize the necessity of clearly defining the scope of the position's authority, and identifying the most appropriate candidate. When this issue arose previously, several parties requested additional time "to brief the issues raised, including authority and costs. To that end, I invite the parties to do so, and come prepared on June 10 with additional proposals for candidates.

In conclusion, as far as the federal lands are concerned, it is this Court's position that the new legislation, if passed by the Governor, will have no effect. The hearing set for June 10 will proceed as scheduled, and will address the parties' progress toward meeting the Consent Decree's interim deadlines, which are imminent. At that time, I will also hear argument on the proper role for the Special Master and the parties' positions on the most appropriate candidates.
In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "Conservation means development as much as it does protection, I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land, but I do recognize the right to waste them or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Donald Trump's Morning Tweet: Still Obsessed With Clinton. By Geniusofdespair

Yesterday I was at Flannigans, and Fox News was on a silent TV. All I saw was photo after photo of Hillary Clinton, about 20. Odd. Today Donald Trump tweets:






My focus is on ROY MOORE the sexual predator of young teenage girls Donald. I don't think of any of the prior administrations or candidates. Focus on Roy Moore. Get with the present and get out of the past.

Annie Proulx speech at the National Book Award ceremony ... by gimleteye


The least suspenseful part of the National Book Award ceremony can be the most fun: the speech given by each year’s winner of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Winners of that lifetime-achievement prize tend to be over 80, and to expound passionately on the general theme of “kids today.” In 2013 E.L. Doctorow seemed to argue that technology would eat our brains; the following year Ursula Le Guin called the assembled book publishers “commodity profiteers.” (No one is really sure what Gore Vidal said in 2009.) Last night, 2017 winner Annie Proulx gave one of the best speeches in recent memory, maybe because her conclusion was so gleefully ironic, and her gloom so well grounded in a year that truly does, on so many levels, suck. Here it is in full:
Although this award is for lifetime achievement, I didn’t start writing until I was 58, so if you’ve been thinking about it and putting it off, well…

I thank the National Book Award Foundation, the committees, and the judges for this medal. I was surprised when I learned of it and I’m grateful and honored to receive it and to be here tonight, and I thank my editor Nan Graham, for it is her medal too.

We don’t live in the best of all possible worlds. This is a Kafkaesque time. The television sparkles with images of despicable political louts and sexual harassment reports. We cannot look away from the pictures of furious elements, hurricanes and fires, from the repetitive crowd murders by gunmen burning with rage. We are made more anxious by flickering threats of nuclear war. We observe social media’s manipulation of a credulous population, a population dividing into bitter tribal cultures. We are living through a massive shift from representative democracy to something called viral direct democracy, now cascading over us in a garbage-laden tsunami of raw data. Everything is situational, seesawing between gut-response “likes” or vicious confrontations. For some this is a heady time of brilliant technological innovation that is bringing us into an exciting new world. For others it is the opening of a savagely difficult book without a happy ending.

To me the most distressing circumstance of the new order is the accelerating destruction of the natural world and the dreadful belief that only the human species has the inalienable right to life and God-given permission to take anything it wants from nature, whether mountaintops, wetlands or oil. The ferocious business of stripping the earth of its flora and fauna, of drowning the land in pesticides again may have brought us to a place where no technology can save us. I personally have found an amelioration in becoming involved in citizen science projects. This is something everyone can do. Every state has marvelous projects of all kinds, from working with fish, with plants, with landscapes, with shore erosions, with water situations.

Yet somehow the old discredited values and longings persist. We still have tender feelings for such outmoded notions as truth, respect for others, personal honor, justice, equitable sharing. We still hope for a happy ending. We still believe that we can save ourselves and our damaged earth—an indescribably difficult task as we discover that the web of life is far more mysteriously complex than we thought and subtly entangled with factors that we cannot even recognize. But we keep on trying, because there’s nothing else to do.

The happy ending still beckons, and it is in hope of grasping it that we go on. The poet Wisława Szymborska caught the writer’s dilemma of choosing between hard realities and the longing for the happy ending. She called it “consolation.” Darwin: They say he read novels to relax, but only certain kinds—nothing that ended unhappily. If he happened on something like that, enraged, he flung the book into the fire. True or not, I’m ready to believe it. Scanning in his mind so many times and places, he’s had enough with dying species, the triumphs of the strong over the weak, the endless struggle to survive, all doomed sooner or later. He’d earned the right to happy ending, at least in fiction, with its micro-scales.

Hence the indispensable silver lining, the lovers reunited, the families reconciled, the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded, fortunes regained, treasures uncovered, stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways, good names restored, greed daunted, old maids married off to worthy parsons, troublemakers banished to other hemispheres, forgers of documents tossed down the stairs, seducers scurried to the altar, orphans sheltered, widows comforted, pride humbled, wounds healed, prodigal sons summoned home, cups of sorrow tossed into the ocean, hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation, general merriment and celebration, and the dog Fido, gone astray in the first chapter, turns up barking gladly in the last. Thank you.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Democrats: STAY ON MESSAGE For God's Sake! By Geniusofdespair



When we stay on message, we communicate exactly what we want our audience to know. We create harmony between our words, visuals and actions and we deliver a clear, powerful and irresistible call to action.
Ask any Republican any question, and they will answer: Crooked Hillary, Fake News, or Make America Great Again. They won't even talk about Moore they will throw Bill Clinton at you. To the Republicans: If you don't talk about it, it just doesn't exist for them.

Ask a Democrat any question and they will answer differently. They have no coherent message. This is all Democrats should be saying this week:

1. The Proposed tax reform is for the super rich and Corporations not people.
2. Health Care reform cuts pre-existing conditions and will cost the regular folks more.
3. Roy Moore is a serial sex predator of young teenage girls. A disgrace.

Is that so hard? Can you not stick to those 3 points for one friggin' week? Instead you trash your own Senator, the most effective we have, in the name of self righteousness..."We don't want to be like them" you say.

The Republicans will blast our Senator if you don't foolishly do it for them. Let them do it, not you dummies.

Learn Republican speak or you are just going to keep losing our country's riches, environment and well-being... and perhaps even the planet.


HOW TO STAY ON MESSAGE AND WHY YOU SHOULD...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ME TOO: It was a prominent Miami Attorney. By Geniusofdespair



This is my second ME TOO post. Every woman has a lot of them.

I remember the experience as if it were yesterday..."me too."

It was a very windy day in the 1970's when Bennett Brummer was known for his Halloween Parties. A lot of Public Defenders were meeting on a big sailboat, owned by one, out near Elliot Key. The small boat I came in, with two friends, was pounding horribly the whole way there. I could not remember the two guys if I fell over them today.

My back took a beating as it wasn't a boat you could stand on. When my two friends were leaving, it was dark and they were very drunk. I was pretty drunk/sick too but I decided that going back to Coconut Grove with two drunk guys driving a very small boat, in the dark, in even rougher seas was dangerous. I decided to stay on the sailboat and wait till morning.

I was sitting on the deck alone feeling really awful, it must have been about 3 AM. A friend of the Public Defender I was dating came on deck. I thought he would ask, "Are you okay?" "Can I help?" Instead he said "Can I masturbate in front of you?" I looked out to sea and said "I don't care what you do." But I did care, it is just what I said because I just couldn't believe what he was about to do and I just wanted him to leave. I turned to stone, I didn't look, I didn't listen. I was like a block of ice. He did his business and went back below without a word. At first light a small boat with two women in it passed by. I flagged them down. I asked them to take me to the dock at Elliot Key.

From the dock someone from the park gave me a ride back to Dinner Key.

The masturbater is a prominent attorney here in Miami. I recently told a judge I know this story when she said she knew him.

I don't remember anyone else on the sailboat except this prominent Miami Attorney. If he ran for anything I would probably call him and come out.  But otherwise, it will remain etched in my mind as one of the worst memories of my life. I can't cruise now because I feel trapped, like I felt that day.

So: Me too.