September 30, 2023 Weekly Newsletter
Spotlight on IRNA's 2024 Legislative Priorities
Even though summer just ended, Florida's 2024 Legislative Session starts on January 9 and is slated to end on March 8. With the meeting of our Legislative Delegation next week, the Indian River Neighborhood Association has released our legislative priorities for the upcoming session. Our list of requests are comprehensive and touch on a range of issues important to our community.
Key Areas of Focus:
Water and Lagoon: Septic-to-sewer conversions, land conservation, and water quality.
Environmental Oversight: Bolstering FDEP and responsible wetland permitting.
Educating the Public: Community programs on water conservation, recycling, native plants, and sustainable living.
Financial Aspects: Funding goals for specific environmental projects.
Home Rule: Empowering local governments to address unique issues.
Growth Management: Advocating for sustainable growth and effective planning.
For a deep dive into each priority above and more, check out the full document linked here.
While there might not be a specific call to action right now, your involvement can make a real difference. Stay engaged, because we'll likely need your help to write or call our legislators in the near future. It's only through community advocacy that our voices can rise above the noise of the special interests and dirty money.
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Your support is more than a donation; it's an investment in education and a cleaner, healthier community. By backing our mission, you're taking a stand for safe, reliable water access. We're grateful for your partnership; we can't do it without you, please donate today. Thank you.
Save the Date!
📅 When: Tuesday, October 10, 5:00 to 6:30 PM (drop in/drop out) 📍 Where: Walking Tree Brewery, 3209 Dodger Rd., Vero Beach (near the airport) 🍻 Enjoy: Award-winning beers, wines, sodas (available for purchase)
Join the Indian River Neighborhood Association for a relaxed evening of conversation and camaraderie at Walking Tree Brewery. Talk with local officials and Sebastian and Vero Beach City Council candidates in an informal setting. We have found this offers everyone attending a chance to discuss pressing issues and get to know each other better. This is a great opportunity to connect with those who are and will be shaping our community.
Feel free to bring a friend or neighbor, everyone is welcome! Looking forward to seeing you there.
We're focused on solving Florida's water problems of state-sanctioned harm. Help us amend the state constitution with the legal barrier against special interest influence we need to restore our waters to their original glory. Find more information at this link. Your support could make a significant impact!
News Headlines and Articles
Slick Three Corners marketing pitch looks to woo investors (Vero News) - City leaders in Vero Beach are leveraging a marketing campaign created by Colliers International to attract investors for the Three Corners development project, aiming to transform a 33.7-acre property into a dining, retail, social, and recreational hub on the mainland's waterfront, with a well-received digital brochure and video showcasing the potential development opportunities.
Native Florida plants could be part of the solution to state's flooding, water quality problems (WMFE) - Native plants are so important. Stetson University researchers have received one million dollars from the National Science Foundation to address flooding and water quality issues in Cape Canaveral by constructing bioswales planted with native Florida plants to redirect stormwater and potentially improve the Indian River Lagoon's condition, involving citizen volunteers and Stetson undergraduates in the process.
Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition legislative priorities (BIRLC) - Last year's HB 1379 halting new septic permits near the Lagoon by 2024 and allocating $100M for restoration shows progress, and an 8-point legislative request for 2024 is in the works, with initial support from Senator Debby Mayfield.
UF study finds Florida’s dependence on reclaimed water making red tides worse (The Capitolist) - A University of Florida study has revealed a significant connection between stormwater ponds, reclaimed water, and the exacerbation of red tide algae growth in Florida, with younger stormwater ponds being more contributory, posing a complex challenge due to Florida's extensive use of reclaimed water and numerous urban stormwater ponds, emphasizing the need for urgent solutions to mitigate the issue and encouraging public involvement in reducing nutrient runoff and pollution.
Excited by Brightline start, shiny trains, quad gates? After 11 years, here's the letdown (TCPalm) - The launch of Brightline's Miami-to-Orlando route doesn't quite spark excitement for many on the Treasure Coast, given the limited relevance and practicality it holds for residents here. Check out this reflection on the projects history and challenges.
Is it cheaper to drive or take Brightline from West Palm Beach to Orlando? Here's what we found (WPTV) - Taking Brightline from West Palm Beach to Orlando was 40 minutes faster than driving, with Brightline costing $79 per person compared to $108 for gas, wear and tear, and tolls for a car trip, while a Brightline journey with a family of four would amount to $270 when including a rideshare to a theme park, while driving would cost $153 or $158 with parking expenses.
Sugar spin ALERT: That mailer you got about septic was mean, green – and totally bogus (Vote Water) - A mailer claiming septic systems are the main cause of water pollution in Florida's waterways is misleading; while septics are a concern, another important issue is pollution from big ag, as confirmed by Florida's Basin Management Action Plans. Addressing nutrient pollution is a complex challenge that demands coordinated efforts across multiple sources of pollution; there's no one-size-fits-all solution.
With quality of life threatened by growth near Sebastian, Vero Beach, new ray of hope seen (TCPalm) - A glimmer of hope for Indian River County's growth challenges is seen in a rare and collaborative meeting between the Indian River County Commission and Sebastian City Council, focusing on issues like septic tank upgrades, land-use visions, and recreation amenities for the north county region.
Update from FSSR about their cleanup TODAY and other upcoming Events (FSSR) - The email discusses an upcoming cleanup event near the St. Sebastian River mouth and promoting the "Right to Clean Water" initiative, emphasizing the importance of collecting signatures for this cause.
Alligator spotted swimming through Indian River Lagoon in Sebastian (TCPalm) - An alligator, typically found in freshwater, was spotted swimming in the brackish waters of the Indian River Lagoon near Crab-E-Bill's Indian River Seafood in Sebastian, with experts suggesting that it's not uncommon for alligators to venture into such environments, particularly during mullet migration season.
Florida's 1,000+ springs are nationally and globally significant. No other place on Earth hosts a concentration of free-flowing freshwater springs quite like Florida. Unfortunately, these sacred places are also in trouble. Help us bring national attention to the plight of these cherished places so that we may secure their health for future generations.
Free COVID home test kits once again available by mail (Vero News) - The federal government has relaunched the free COVID home test kit program, allowing individuals to order them online or by phone, with each residential address eligible to receive four test kits. You can order the free COVID home test kits by filling out a short online form at www.Covid.gov/tests.
Old Florida growth rules thwarted development that would have made Idalia worse (Coastal News Today) - Old Florida growth rules that thwarted a massive development project in 2006 that would have destroyed coastal wetlands may have prevented greater damage from Hurricane Idalia if the same project was proposed under today's more development-friendly regulations.
Worsening climate disasters could spark insurance rate surges for millions: report (Coastal News Today) - A new report from First Street Foundation warns that a growing number of homeowners are struggling to afford insurance on their homes, and this issue is expected to worsen due to the impacts of climate disasters, with insurance companies and lawmakers having underestimated the influence of climate change on insurance premiums, particularly affecting states in the West with wildfires, Gulf Coast areas with stronger tropical cyclones, and inland states experiencing more intense, frequent flooding.
California orders bottled water company to stop ‘unauthorized’ piping from springs (LA Times) - Will Florida ever move to slow the massive water bottling operations in Florida? California's State Water Resources Control Board has ruled that BlueTriton Brands, the company behind Arrowhead bottled water, must stop taking millions of gallons of water from springs in the San Bernardino Mountains for bottling, as it has been unlawfully diverting water from springs without valid water rights, a decision praised by environmentalists who have campaigned against water bottling in the area.
Biden uses executive power to create a New Deal-style American Climate Corps (AP News) - President Joe Biden will use executive authority to create the American Climate Corps, a green jobs training program employing over 20,000 young adults for conservation work such as trail-building, tree-planting, and solar panel installation, modeled after the New Deal's Civilian Conservation Corps, after it was omitted from the sweeping climate law due to opposition from Republicans and cost concerns.
New Study Definitively Confirms Gulf Stream Weakening (WHOI) - A new study has provided definitive evidence that the Gulf Stream transport of water through the Florida Straits has slowed by 4% over the past four decades, potentially impacting weather, climate, and coastal conditions, although the study does not determine whether this weakening is due to climate change or natural factors.
PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals you've probably encountered more often than you think. They're in a variety of everyday items, from non-stick cookware and cleaning products to our drinking water and even some foods. While these chemicals make our lives more convenient, they also come with a set of health risks, including cancer and immune system effects.
To help you better understand PFAS and their impact, we encourage you to check out Consumer Notice’s comprehensive guide. It covers where you can encounter these chemicals and the risks associated with them. You can read the guide here.
For those concerned about the legal aspects, they’ve also compiled a guide to PFAS lawsuits. Check it out here.
Miami Beach Project Tests Limits of Affordable Housing Law in Florida (WSJ) - When Montreal-based developer Jesta Group recently unveiled plans for up to a 30-story residential building that would tower over the rest of Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive, local officials immediately vowed to fight it.
The Future of Farming (Nature.org) - The Wendling Beck Environment Project (WBEP) in Norfolk, England, led by a group of farmers, is piloting nature-based solutions, regenerative agriculture, and habitat restoration to address the climate crisis and improve financial and environmental resilience in farming.
How to keep junk snail mail out of your mailbox forever (Washington Post) - Less junk mail is good for the environment! You can significantly reduce junk mail in your mailbox by following three steps: Use DMAchoice.org to stop most advertisements, utilize OptOutPrescreen.com to halt credit card and insurance offers, and consider services like CatalogChoice.org or PaperKarma to unsubscribe from specific businesses' mailing lists.
NASA KSC Environmental Assessment Notice for SpaceX Roberts Rd Expansion (IRL Roundtable) - NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has published a Public Notice regarding a required Environmental Assessment (EA) for a 100-acre expansion of SpaceX's Operations Facility on Roberts Road, with the public having until October 16, 2023, to comment on the assessment, as part of NASA's commitment to ensuring compliance with environmental regulations for all projects, including those with commercial partners like SpaceX, and sustainability remains a priority given Kennedy's proximity to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
In First, Rooftop Solar Alone provides 101% of South Australia’s Electricity Demand (Juan Cole) - Rooftop solar in South Australia briefly generated 101% of the state's electricity demand, marking a significant milestone in renewable energy production, and this achievement was reached solely with rooftop solar installations on residential and commercial buildings, demonstrating the potential for distributed solar power to meet grid demands with the help of advanced technology and batteries.
Definitely Do Not Put Plastic in the Microwave (Bon Appétit) - Microwaving plastic containers can release microplastics and leach potentially harmful chemicals into food, leading to concerns about long-term health impacts, and experts recommend avoiding heating food in plastic and opting for glass containers.
Tens of thousands march to kick off climate summit, demanding end to warming-causing fossil fuels (AP News) - Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in New York City to kick off Climate Week, demanding an end to fossil fuels and urging U.S. President Joe Biden to take more significant action to combat climate change, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among the speakers at the rally.
Beyond borders: Why new 'high seas' treaty is critical for the world (UN News) - The new "high seas" treaty, adopted by the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), aims to provide protection and stewardship for the high seas, addressing issues such as pollution, unsustainable fishing, and the conservation of marine biodiversity, with a focus on achieving the goals of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, aiming to combat plastic pollution, manage fish stocks sustainably, lower ocean temperatures, and contribute to the realization of the 2030 Agenda.
Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for Oct. 4
FEMA and the FCC have announced a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The test is set to happen at 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Here's what to expect:
WEA Test: Your cell phone will get a test alert. Don't worry, it's just a test. The message will appear in either English or Spanish, depending on your phone's settings.
EAS Test: Radios and TVs will broadcast a one-minute test alert. Again, it's just to make sure the system works.
The purpose? To check that these systems are effective for national-level emergencies. If for some reason the test can't happen on Oct. 4, the backup date is Oct. 11. So, when the time comes, no need to panic. It's all part of making sure we're prepared for real emergencies. Click here for more information.