Big Sugar Summit: Stephen E. Davis III PHD, Wetland Ecologist. Science Guy!

Big Sugar Summit: Stephen E. Davis III PHD, Wetland Ecologist, The Everglades Foundation

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This presentation will available thru the Sierra Club, Florida in full with all the slides. So enjoy this preview.

Stephen E Davis Wetland Ecologist  The Everglades Foundation

Stephen E Davis
Wetland Ecologist
The Everglades Foundation

http://www.evergladesfoundation.org/what-we-do/science/

“The Foundation employs a team of scientists to serve as technical expert sources for the environmental community.  These resources include providing sworn expert testimony in legal proceedings, testimony at public hearings, and general education and training for environmental partners. The Foundation also provides fellowships and internships to graduate students from regional and national universities working on Everglades projects, all to ensure that the next generation of Everglades experts will be well-trained to face the mission in front of them well into the first half of the century. Areas of fundamental interest in the science program are: hydrology, natural resource planning, water quality and ecology”

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Check this out! It’s so cool!

Leading Science Initiatives

Hydrology

Water is the key to understanding the Everglades and the built environment. One in every three Floridians relies on the Everglades for their water supply and the native flora and fauna are finely tuned to the seasonal water cycles.  Part of what we do at the Everglades Foundation is discover  how the Everglades works, convert that to mathematics, and then program it on a computer. Once you do that, you can run “what-if…” scenarios that help decide what can and should be done to restore the Everglades. Hydrology and engineering allow us to look for solutions to restore the “River of Grass.” Thomas Van Lent, Ph.D., Senior Scientist

Ecology

Ecological research at the Everglades Foundation is centered on understanding how human impacts such as the introduction and spread of exotic invasive species, urban development, off-road vehicle (ORV) use, oil and gas activity, water management and nutrient inputs have affected plant and animal life across the Everglades. To do this, we partner with agencies, academic institutions and environmental organizations across the region to tap into the extensive body of scientific information and peer-reviewed research. We analyze data and provide input regarding various social and political issues that may offset the current ecological balance of the Everglades or thwart progress of Everglades restoration. Stephen E. Davis, III, Ph.D., Wetland Ecologist

Water Quality

Restoring the Everglades will take more than just putting the right amounts of water back. It will also require that the water be clean. We conduct research on what causes imbalances in native flora and fauna, and then determine what actions are needed to correct those problems. The survival of the Everglades depends on the quality of its water. Melodie Naja, Ph.D., Water Quality Scientist

Planning and Project Implementation

Research and ideas alone will not restore the Everglades.  These ideas must be converted into specific actions and projects.  The science team at the Everglades Foundation works with government agencies and stakeholders to implement science-based solutions. We contribute modeling information, review scientific research and analyses, provide scientific and engineering input to restoration and water quality projects, and work to educate decision makers and the public on the issues. This helps to build consensus and get things done.  Hong Xu, Environmental Engineer and Aida Arik, Ecological Engineer

Synthesizing Everglades Research

“No single entity is tackling or can tackle all of these issues,” Van Lent says. “It’s actually a concerted effort on the part of government agencies, non-profit organizations such as ours, and research entities to get this accomplished.” The single most important project being accomplished by Foundation scientists is not in-the-lab, test-tube science. It’s the synthesis of all scientific work conducted on the entire Everglades ecosystem from the Kissimmee River through Lake Okeechobee and into the southern Everglades and Florida Bay.

“The project combines all the available information and seeing which is most likely to get us to the goal,” says Van Lent. “This will guide us to recommend public policy that will lead to decisions to fix the ecosystem.” The initiative, financed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, involves explaining the work of 15 top scientists in Everglades-related fields for the past decade and making their work understandable to decision-makers and the public. “We’re taking the reports off the shelf and making them useful,” says Van Lent. “We’re the bridge between the laboratory and the real application of the science. We make the science useful.”

Science!

Stephan has a bunch of studies. I tried to get an account to read but I’m not with an institution.

Check these and other research by Stephen.

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/274638205_Sea_Level_Rise_in_the_Everglades_Plant-Soil-Microbial_Feedbacks_in_Response_to_Changing_Physical_Conditions

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/259195457_Biogeochemical_effects_of_simulated_sea_level_rise_on_carbon_loss_in_an_Everglades_mangrove_peat_soil

Here is one my favorite song writer/singers/comedians/philosophers Tom Lehr teaching us “The Elements.”

Thank you Stephen for your great presentation.

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Big Sugar Summit: Dr Gail Hollander, “Raising Cane in the Glades.”

#bigsugarsummit

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Big Sugar Summit: Dr Gail Hollander, “Raising Cane in the Glades.”

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So excited hear this lecture. As I said before there will a final video with all the bells and whistles and slides professional done by some else. This is only part of the lecture so I hope when the video is done you’ll watch.

The title of the lecture was

“The History of Big Sugar in the Everglades Agricultural Area”

Dr Gail Hollander is an Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University. She is the author of “Raising Cane in the Glades: The Global Sugar Trade and the Transformation of Florida.

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The book is available on Amazon.

Over the last century, the Everglades underwent a metaphorical and ecological transition from impenetrable swamp to endangered wetland.  At the heart of this transformation lies the Florida sugar industry, which by the 1990s was at the center of the political storm over the multi-billion dollar ecological “restoration” of the Everglades.  Raising Cane in the ’Glades is the first study to situate the environmental transformation of the Everglades within the economic and historical geography of global sugar production and trade.

Using, among other sources, interviews, government and corporate documents, and recently declassified U.S. State Department memoranda, Gail M. Hollander demonstrates that the development of Florida’s sugar region was the outcome of pitched battles reaching the highest political offices in the U.S. and in countries around the world, especially Cuba—which emerges in her narrative as a model, a competitor, and the regional “other” to Florida’s “self.”  Spanning the period from the age of empire to the era of globalization, the book shows how the “sugar question”—a label nineteenth-century economists coined for intense international debates on sugar production and trade—emerges repeatedly in new guises. Hollander uses the sugar question as a thread to stitch together past and present, local and global, in explaining Everglades transformation.

Here is the video.

Throwback Thurs: What was penny a pound and make the polluter pay?

Throwback Thurs: What was penny a pound and make the polluter pay?

As always, if you have something to add please add it.

What was penny a pound?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoration_of_the_Everglades

“Restoration of the Everglades, however, briefly became a bipartisan cause in national politics. A controversial penny-a-pound (2 cent/kg) tax on sugar was proposed to fund some of the necessary changes to be made to help decrease phosphorus and make other improvements to water. State voters were asked to support the tax, and environmentalists paid $15 million to encourage the issue. Sugar lobbyists responded with $24 million in advertising to discourage it and succeeded; it became the most expensive ballot issue in state history.[62] How restoration might be funded became a political battleground and seemed to stall without resolution. However, in the 1996 election year, Republican senator Bob Dole proposed that Congress give the State of Florida $200 million to acquire land for the Everglades. Democratic Vice President Al Gore promised the federal government would purchase 100,000 acres (400 km2) of land in the EAA to turn it over for restoration. Politicking reduced the number to 50,000 acres (200 km2), but both Dole’s and Gore’s gestures were approved by Congress.

http://aec.ifas.ufl.edu/agcommcase/sugar.html

The purpose of this case study was to examine the impact that environmental activism can have on agriculture by focusing on the Florida sugar industry’s reaction during the 1996 “sugar tax” amendment campaign. During the campaign, proponents and opponents of the three proposed Everglades-related amendments to Florida’s constitution spent more than $40 million to sway the public. As a result of the public relations and political campaigns, communicators from Florida agricultural industries realized that they must increase their efforts to project a positive public image.

In 1996, the issue finally was contested when a small, but well-funded environmental activist group named Save Our Everglades Committee authored three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, collected enough signatures to get the proposals on the November 1996 ballot, and began a campaign aimed at voters in support of the amendments (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997). The Florida sugar industry spent $24 million and the Save Our Everglades Committee (SOE) spent over $14 million on the most expensive public relations campaign in the state’s history (Marcus, 1997). The three proposed amendments were as follows:

• Amendment Four: if passed, this amendment would put a penny-a-pound tax on all sugar grown in Florida. If passed, it has been estimated that sugar farmers would have had to pay $1 billion (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).
• Amendment Five: this proposed amendment, commonly known as the “polluters pay” amendment stated that those in the Everglades Agricultural Area “who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection area or the Everglades Agricultural area shall be primarily responsible” for paying the costs of clean-up (Kleindienst, 1997).
• Amendment Six: this amendment was designed to establish a state trust fund reserved for Everglades clean-up.

The fight

For several months before Election Day in November, Florida voters were the targets of television and radio advertisements, direct mail pieces, persuasive phone calls, and door-to-door campaigning — all related to the proposed amendments. The sugar industry, which is comprised of two large corporations, a farming cooperative, and numerous small, independent farmers, was unprepared to face a serious challenge from a well-organized activist group. In addition, the industry was surprised by early polls that indicated widespread public support for the measures.

The sugar industry considered the proposed amendments a threat to its very existence. Seldom if ever before had a single agricultural commodity been singled out as “primarily responsible” for nonpoint-source pollution (pollution that is not the result of a direct, detectable environmental accident or contamination). One sugar industry statement said that “there are few times in the life of a business when one event can have a literal life or death impact; for U. S. Sugar and the Florida sugar industry, the threat of the $1 billion tax was such an event” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).

For two months, the public relations battle continued, with each side of the argument accusing the other of distorting facts and deceiving the public. On November 6, Amendment Four was defeated, while Amendments Five and Six passed. Although the second two amendments passed, the sugar industry claimed the victory since the penny-per-pound tax was voted down.

Over the course of the campaign, the sugar industry responded to being referred to as “Big Sugar” (a derogatory term) by attacking the founders of SOE. The industry referred to chairperson Mary Barley as “a millionaire land development heiress” and to financial supporter Paul Tudor Jones as a “mega-wealthy Connecticut commodities broker” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997). In addition to attempting to promote a negative image of SOE, the sugar industry also aired television and radio advertising portraying employees of the South Florida Water Management District (the regulatory agency with primary jurisdiction over the Everglades) as bureaucrats with a reputation for squandering public money on luxuries such as limousines and jet planes. This particular advertisement provoked then-Governor Lawton Chiles (who had remained quiet about the amendments issues thus far) to write a letter to the sugar industry chastising it for intentionally damaging the reputation of the water management district’s employees (Marcus, 1997).

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The sugar industry also distributed a number of press releases geared toward informing the public about the progress the sugar industry had already made toward cleaning up farm run-off. The message conveyed in several of the releases (that phosphorous levels in farm water had been reduced by 68% in just three years of voluntary management practices) was well-received by the mass media. In addition, just two weeks before the election, the start of the sugar harvest was delayed so that almost 2,000 employees could go door-to-door and personally ask communities to vote “no” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).”

An amazing effort by Save the Everglades!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polluter_pays_principle

In environmental law, the polluter pays principle is enacted to make the party responsible for producing pollution responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment. It is regarded as a regional custom because of the strong support it has received in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Community (EC) countries.

http://www.everglades.org/2012/02/enforce-polluters-pay/

(Miami Herald LTE, Jan 31, 2012) For 15 years Florida taxpayers have been carrying dirty water for the sugar billionaires. When Florida’s voters passed the Polluters Pay Amendment to Florida Constitution, the sugar industry was supposed to pay 100 percent of their pollution cleanup costs. In one of the most cynical abdications of governance in history, the Legislature has refused to implement Polluters Pay. In doing so, they have dumped billions in extra property taxes on the homeowners of South Florida and enabled Big Sugar to dump millions of tons of excess pollution on the Everglades.

So not only do the sugar billionaires get unearned taxpayer dollars through unnecessary federal import quotas and subsidies, but they get their pollution cleanup costs paid by the taxpayers of South Florida. Our legislators need to swear off their addiction to sugar campaign money and make them pay all their cleanup costs.

Albert Slap, Key Biscayne

Fast forward to our present legislators and Rick Scott and you’ll hear in the video they changed the law.

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-make-polluters-pay-in-everglades/2109203

The measure, HB 7065, would rewrite the state’s plan to clean pollution flowing from farms in the Everglades’ agricultural zones to the protection areas in the south. Supporters say the legislation is needed to codify the agreement between Scott and the federal government that calls on Florida to spend $880 million over 12 years to build storm water treatment and water storage to intercept runoff from the farms, preventing further pollution of an ecosystem that is vital to the state’s economy, environment and drinking water needs.

The legislation, though, does far more than that. It would roll back the enforcement of water discharge permits, clearing the way for farming operations to pollute regardless of how much the state erred in issuing them a permit or policing it. That opens a door for polluters and increases the pressure on regulators at the South Florida Water Management District to follow the Legislature’s lead in going soft on the industry. Even the district opposes that measure. It would rather keep the permitting process intact than create a public impression that the system is corrupt.

The measure also caps the industry’s financial obligation for funding the cleanup. While the legislation would extend the $25 per acre agriculture tax until 2024 — eight years longer than under current law — it holds that those payments and improved management practices would “fulfill” the industry’s obligation for the cleanup under Florida’s “Polluter Pay” requirement in the state Constitution.

That is an outright sellout. Extending the agriculture tax generates less than $7 million per year — pennies compared to the $880 million that taxpayers will spend to treat the polluted water. The very governor who forced the water management districts to cut their budgets now intends to ask Florida taxpayers to commit $32 million a year for 12 years for this program — all in addition to the money that will come from property owners in South Florida. Meanwhile the industry responsible for two-thirds of the pollution entering the Everglades walks away from any long-term obligations even before the new water projects are in place.

Just two weeks into the legislative session, HB 7065 has sailed through two committees and is headed for the House floor. This bill has leadership’s blessing, which is why Scott and the Senate are likely the last defense. Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-New Port Richey, who is shepherding the Senate bill, which is much better, needs to do what the House and several of his bay area counterparts failed to do and insist that the polluters pay their share. Shifting these costs onto the public is unfair, and every dollar the state spends on behalf of polluters is a dollar it won’t have for police, schools and other legitimate priorities.

http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=13332

Audubon and other organizations have objected to these changes to the Everglades Forever Act. We are hoping for some serious discussions about increasing the amount of money sugar growers pay to clean up the pollution coming off their land. We have also objected to the part of the bill that nullifies enforcement of discharge permits. This section of the bill seems deliberately written to eliminate the basis of a recent legal challenge to three discharge permits for the dirtiest Everglades farms.

The Senate companion bill – SB 768 – has none of the offending provisions.

Why Your Voice is Important

The sugar industry has dozens of lobbyists.Money has been given to legislators and political committees. Many members of the Florida House have already made up their mind on this bill. Some have been, by their own admission, heavily lobbied by the sugar industry.

– See more at: http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=13332#sthash.Lbu29sfm.dpuf

 hypocracy

“Back when he first ran for governor of Florida as a self-styled outsider, Rick Scott lambasted his opponent in the Republican primary for taking campaign money from U.S. Sugar, one of the worst corporate polluters of the Everglades.

Scott indignantly squeaked that Bill McCollum had been “bought and paid for” by U.S. Sugar. He said the company’s support of McCollum was “disgusting.”

“I can’t be bought,” Scott declared. Seriously, that’s what the man said. Stop gagging and read on.

Four years later, the governor’s re-election campaign is hungrily raking in money from U.S. Sugar, more than $534,000 so far.”

 So to review, and please if I got this wrong help me out!
In 1996 the Save the Everglades Committee authored three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, collected enough signatures to get the proposals on the November 1996 ballot.

Amendment Four: if passed, this amendment would put a penny-a-pound tax on all sugar grown in Florida. If passed, it has been estimated that sugar farmers would have had to pay $1 billion (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).
Amendment Five: this proposed amendment, commonly known as the “polluters pay” amendment stated that those in the Everglades Agricultural Area “who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection area or the Everglades Agricultural area shall be primarily responsible” for paying the costs of clean-up (Kleindienst, 1997).
Amendment Six: this amendment was designed to establish a state trust fund reserved for Everglades clean-up.

We lost the penny-a -pound tax but we got polluters pay and the Everglades trust. Then under Rick Scott, The measure, HB 7065, would rewrite the state’s plan to clean pollution flowing from farms in the Everglades’ agricultural zones to the protection areas in the south. Supporters say the legislation is needed to codify the agreement between Scott and the federal government that calls on Florida to spend $880 million over 12 years to build storm water treatment and water storage to intercept runoff from the farms, preventing further pollution of an ecosystem that is vital to the state’s economy, environment and drinking water needs.

What it ended up doing was rolling back the enforcement of water discharge permits, clearing the way for farming operations to pollute regardless of how much the state erred in issuing them a permit or policing it. This opens a door for polluters and increases the pressure on regulators at the South Florida Water Management District to follow the Legislature’s lead in going soft on the industry.

Then, the very governor who forced the water management districts to cut their budgets now intends to ask Florida taxpayers to commit $32 million a year for 12 years for this program — all in addition to the money that will come from property owners in South Florida. Meanwhile the industry responsible for two-thirds of the pollution entering the Everglades walks away from any long-term obligations even before the new water projects are in place.

So we went from polluters paying to us paying, the voters.

Remember us.

Slick.

Sick.

Slicky RIcky

omg

But don’t forget folks your getting ten bucks back on your inflated cell phone bill and no taxes on your textbooks.

Where was the news when this happened?

So it all comes down to one thing really. We have to make sure that we have legislators that cannot be bought off by an industry that pollutes, that really does nothing for our economy and fills the pockets of corrupt politicians. We have to pay attention and we must vote.

 

Sierra Club’s Big Sugar Summit a HIT! A Call to Action!

bigsugarsummit

Sierra Club’s Big Sugar Summit a HIT! A Call to Action!

Many thanks to Sierra Club, Florida  for an amazing day and the yummy food. Sierra Club Florida packed a day with every thing we really need to know to begin our journey to be experts on the subject of Big Sugar. You could done an entire day on each section but I think ( and correct me  if I’m wrong) this gave us the perfect overview as a place to start. I can see each part be broken down more because there is a lot information to get and loads of work to do.

Lucky for all of you there is loads of video. I shot a lot but there was an awesome videographer there who shot every single moment and that will be available soon. He will include all the bells and whistles and bless him for doing so. So consider this your very long teaser to when the big version comes out. A call to action!  I’m going to put all my video here and then I’m going to break it down.  When the whole video is complete you’ll be the first to know.

There are so many aspects to be interested in and I can see us picking the one or a few to really focus on. So I’m hoping we can put committee together to work on that special subject we were interested in. Saturday was was our associate degrees in Big Sugar. Now we need to work towards our BS, MS and PHD.

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a packed room

There were a lot of different people and I hoped you all walked away with the good feeling I did- a feeling of hope that we can find our way through this together. There are things that must be done and we need to find a way to do it. WE

The water must go south. We must stop the discharges, save our drinking water and stop the salt water intrusion. We must.

We must help our friends the Miccosukee’s to fix their water issues.

Not listening is no longer an option.

So here you go. This should keep you busy for a while and give you something to think about. Please share in the most positive way.

Sierra Club’s Big Sugar Summit

Introduction by Frank Jackalone, Frank is the Sierra Club’s senior field organizing manager for Florida.

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frank

Here is Mary Barley. Our Fairy Godmother! Thank you Mary Barley for your wisdom and leadership!

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mary barley

Dr Gail Hollander ,Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University. Author, Raising Cane in the “Glades”: The Global Sugar Trade and the transformation of Florida.

Dr Stephen Davis is wetland ecologist at the Everglades Foundation.

Richard Grosso, Director, Environmental and Land Use Law Clinic, Shepard Broad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University

Julia Hathaway

Dr Enrique Cesar Santejo Silveira
Molecular Oncology Research Center
Barretos Cancer Hospital
Barretos, SP, Brazil

Jim Stormer
Retired Environmental Administrator, Palm Beach County Health Department

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David Guest, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice, Florida Office

Wolfram Alderson , Founding member of the Institute for Responsible  Nutrition.

Chairman Colly Billie, Miccosukee Tribe Keynote Speaker

Shelia Krumholtz
Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics

Daren Bakst
Research Fellow in Agriculture Policy, Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, The Heritage Foundation.

Manley Fuller, President Florida Wildlife Federation

Hope you all enjoy and get something from the many different views!

Stealing amendment 1 money should be a crime.

Stealing amendment 1 money should be a crime.

We need an amendment that says if lawmakers do not support our citizen amendments they get charged with a crime. After all it is stealing.

CSFTS logo

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article24812611.html

Instead, as Craig Pittman and Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times reported, that great pile of Amendment 1 money is going to pay for items that normally would have been funded out of the regular budget. For stuff like park maintenance.

But the legislators, in cynical disregard of their constituents’ intent, earmarked $13.65 million of the Amendment 1 money to bail out a water storage project that auditors from the South Florida Water Management District had found was wildly out of whack in terms of cost effectiveness.

That’s just $3.75 million less than what Florida Forever will be getting for new land purchases.

The $13.65 million will bail out agricultural outfits like Alico, with major Florida holdings in citrus, ranching, farming and the very lucrative operations known as “water farming.” Alico is the largest of landowners around Lake Okeechobee paid to store water behind earth berms, meant to keep it from exacerbating the problems of the polluted estuaries of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. As the Tampa Bay Times reported, a 57-page auditor’s report last year found these water farming contracts cost the public 10 times more if these than storage projects had been built on public land. Water farming is a massive boondoggle.

Which might have been beside the point, given that the South Florida Water Management District had run out of money to fund water farming anyway. But all that Florida Forever money presented the likes of Alico another fat funding source.

http://floridawaterlandlegacy.org/sections/page/faq

The money will be used for water and land conservation, management, and restoration in Florida. The funds dedicated by Amendment 1 will:

  • Restore, manage, and acquire lands necessary to protect Florida’s drinking water sources and protect the water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams;
  • Protect our beaches and shores;
  • Protect and restore the Everglades and other degraded natural systems and waterways;
  • Manage fish and wildlife habitat, protect forests and wetlands, and restore conservation lands that are an important part of Florida’s economy and quality of life;
  • Provide funding to manage existing state and local natural areas, parks, and trails for water supply, habitat and recreation.

All this will be achieved with no increase in taxes.

Why did we need to amend the state constitution? 

Since 2009, the Legislature has dramatically reduced funding for water and land protection, cutting key programs by more than 95%. Amendment 1 would ensure that water and land conservation projects are adequately funded – the funds cannot be diverted to other purposes – without increasing taxes. The only way to secure significant, sustainable resources for water and land conservation, management and restoration for the long-term is to take this issue directly to Florida voters through a constitutional amendment.

The legislature taketh and then they taketh some more.

How do I know the funds will be spent wisely?
Florida’s conservation programs have a great track record of spending these funds wisely. Amendment 1 ensures that funds are used solely for conservation purposes and cannot be used for any other purpose by the Legislature. Using the state’s existing successful programs as a model, objective criteria will continue to determine how funds are spent in order to keep politics out of the process.

Florida Forever and its predecessor Preservation 2000, for example, have been the most successful state land conservation programs in the nation, protecting more than 2.4 million acres of critical water resources, natural areas, wildlife habitat, parks, greenways and trails. Restoration of the Florida Everglades is the most comprehensive ecological restoration project in history. Florida’s land managing agencies and water management districts have done a tremendous job restoring degraded natural systems, including the state’s longleaf pine forests, the upper St. Johns River watershed and Rookery Bay. Amendment 1 ensures funding so that this critical restoration work will continue.

Now that Amendment 1 has passed, who will be in charge of the money?
While citizens can dedicate funding for water and land conservation in the state constitution, we cannot appropriate funds via the constitution. Appropriations are solely the Legislature’s responsibility. Fortunately, Florida has a number of excellent programs already in place for making project selection decisions. The state has a stellar track record of selecting conservation projects based on objective criteria and science, which includes review by citizens and oversight panels composed of experts from the appropriate fields. The existing Acquisition and Restoration Council is one good example. Amendment 1 does not change these existing project selection systems. So while the Legislature must appropriate the funds, the existing tried and true systems in place for project selection would not change now that Amendment 1 has been ratified.

Oh! Remember this?

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/04/15/pr-firm-plays-both-sides-of-the-road-makes-stupid-remarks/

One source for money to revive the water-farming contracts was money from the taxpayers from the rest of the state, via the Legislature. But the water district’s governing board, under state law, is not allowed to hire its own lobbyists to pursue funding.

Instead, Alico did it for them.

The company employed 16 lobbyists last year, and it turned them loose on the Legislature to get $13 million to pump new life into the project. Alico spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said the company was just helping out a state agency in need, and its lobbyists did not specifically ask for money for Alico’s own contract.”

Sugar U: Effects of burning sugar cane on your lungs

In preparation for next Saterday’s Epic

bigsugarsummit

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/06/05/big-sugar-summit-update-awesome-speakers-check-it-out/

One of the topics will be

Is Big Sugar Burning Your Lungs?

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Here is a dramatic scene from the now defunct tv show “cane” that was cancelled due to the writer’s strike even thought all the scrips were written.

Here is an actual burn

Is this harmful to us? I decided to check in with the mother ship.The NIH.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1459926

The Impact of Sugar Cane–Burning Emissions on the Respiratory System of Children and the Elderly

Abstract

We analyzed the influence of emissions from burning sugar cane on the respiratory system during almost 1 year in the city of Piracicaba in southeast Brazil. From April 1997 through March 1998, samples of inhalable particles were collected, separated into fine and coarse particulate mode, and analyzed for black carbon and tracer elements. At the same time, we examined daily records of children (< 13 years of age) and elderly people (> 64 years of age) admitted to the hospital because of respiratory diseases. Generalized linear models were adopted with natural cubic splines to control for season and linear terms to control for weather. Analyses were carried out for the entire period, as well as for burning and nonburning periods. Additional models were built using three factors obtained from factor analysis instead of particles or tracer elements. Increases of 10.2 μg/m3 in particles ≥ 2.5 μm/m3 aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) and 42.9 μg/m3 in PM10 were associated with increases of 21.4% [95% confidence interval (CI), 4.3–38.5] and 31.03% (95% CI, 1.25–60.21) in child and elderly respiratory hospital admissions, respectively. When we compared periods, the effects during the burning period were much higher than the effects during nonburning period. Elements generated from sugar cane burning (factor 1) were those most associated with both child and elderly respiratory admissions. Our results show the adverse impact of sugar cane burning emissions on the health of the population, reinforcing the need for public efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate this source of air pollution.

Keywords: air pollution, biomass burning, children, elderly people, health effects, Poisson regression, respiratory diseases, time series

Simon said there are two kinds of rhinitis, the medical term for excess mucus, congestion and sneezing. Cane smoke causes irritant or environmental rhinitis, where particles clog or irritate nasal passages.

“The smoke from sugar cane is an irritant,” Simon said. “It’s a lot like being in a smoky bar, where you end up coughing and sneezing.”

This is what the Sierra Club has to say about burning sugar cane.

http://www.sierraclub.org/florida/calusa/sugar-cane-burning

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Sugar U: Fanjuls some history and a little trouble in Paradise.

Sugar U: Fanjuls. Some history and a little trouble in Paradise.

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The Fanjul Bro’s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanjul_brothers

The Fanjul brothersCuban born Alfonso “Alfy” Fanjul, José “Pepe” Fanjul, Alexander Fanjul, and Andres Fanjul — are owners of Fanjul Corp., a vast sugar and real estate conglomerate in the United States and the Dominican Republic. It comprises the subsidiaries Domino Sugar, Florida Crystals, C&H Sugar, Redpath Sugar, Tate & Lyle European Sugar, La Romana International Airport, and resorts surrounding La Romana, Dominican Republic.

The Fanjul brothers’ were born in Cuba and are descendants of the Spaniard Andres Gomez-Mena who immigrated to Cuba in the 19th century and built up an empire of sugar mills and property by the time he died in 1910. In 1936, his descendant Lillian Gomez-Mena married Alfonso Fanjul, Sr, the heir of the New York-based sugar companies the Czarnikow Rionda Company and the Cuban Trading Company. The couple’s holdings were then combined to create a large business of cane sugar mills, refineries, distilleries, and significant amounts of real estate. Due to Fidel Castro‘s 1959 Marxist Cuban Revolution, the family moved to Florida along with other wealthy, dispossessed Cuban families. In 1960, Alfonso Sr., the father of the current CEO of Fanjul Corp. Alfonso Jr., bought 4,000 acres (16 km2) of property near Lake Okeechobee along with some sugar mills from Louisiana and started over on the US. Alfonso Sr. and his son Alfy Fanjul got the firm off its feet and Pepe, Alexander and Andres joined in the late 1960s and 1970s.[1] Pepe Fanjul Jr. joined the sugar firm in 2002. As of 2008, the company owned 155,000 acres (630 km2) in Palm Beach County.

José-y-Alfonso-Fanjul-Nuevo-Herald

Here are some great articles and blogs on the Fanjul’s.

Make sure you read  http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com for great commentary!

Here’s a little classic salsa to set the mood!

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2013/06/big-sugars-money-ball-by-gimleteye.html

But managing water is a state responsibility; Big Sugar’s interest in counties goes deep into the bread and butter of local politics: land use zoning. While Big Sugar wages water use and water quality battles on many levels of judicial review, fighting tooth and nail to dictate every last term of its water pollution control measures, it wages war on the land use zoning front by ensuring complicit county commissioners are well funded. If not sugar cane, then rock mines and inland ports and shopping centers and subdivisions strategically placed to thwart the aims of environmentalists to protect the Everglades and our rivers and streams and estuaries.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2010/05/fanjul-family-big-sugar-influence-under.html

Jose “Pepe” Fanjul, one of four brothers who control a sugar empire that includes Domino and Florida Crystals. Fanjul and his family have held at least two fundraisers for Rubio at Florida properties this year, while donors associated with Florida Crystals have given Rubio at least $81,100 since 2009.

(also some money from the Koch Brothers. Koch Industries, the conglomerate run by conservative activist brothers Charles and David Koch: $37,200. (Koch has donated $17,000 to Sen. Paul since 2010.)

Now, contrary to what almost anyone could have imagined, the 76-year-old Fanjul has begun to reassess old grievances and tentatively eye Cuba as a place for him and other U.S. businessmen to expand their enterprises. Quietly, without fanfare, Fanjul has started visiting the island of his birth and having conversations with top Cuban officials.

“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” Fanjul said in a rare interview, publicly discussing his recent visits to the island for the first time.

Here’s an early story on the Fanjul sugar interests well worth reading: “The power and wealth of the Fanjul family is enormous, so much so that they can quietly control their public image. But behind that image lies a family with a reputation for ruthlessness whose riches were made on the backs of migrant laborers and at the expense of America’s public resources and tax dollars. Without the artificial federal price supports of sugar, their industrial advantage and wealth would collapse.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2008/08/dear-alfie-and-pepe-fanjul-no-nyet-non.html

The Fanjuls of Coral Gables and Palm Beach are among the richest farmers in America. The family interests own Florida Crystals/ Flo Sun in lands formerly of the Everglades.

AG049

I wouldn’t care except that the Fanjul’s sugar growing interest in the Everglades Agricultural Area is a home-grown Florida polluter whose influence in the political sphere has contributed to the destruction of millions of acres of publicly owned property and irreplaceable natural resources. What adds to my ire is that in the execution of its business strategy, Fanjul lobbyists and attorneys take maximal positions in defense of the last dime of profit– even when lands like the 50,000 acre Talisman Farm have been committed to public ownership– causing years and years of delay.

Here are some other articles worthy of reading.

From 2003

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/29/opinion/america-s-sugar-daddies.html

Sugar growers in this country, long protected from global competition, have had a great run at the expense of just about everyone else — refineries, candy manufacturers, other food companies, individual consumers and farmers in the developing world. But now the nation’s sugar program, which guarantees a domestic price for raw sugar that can be as much as three times the world price, needs to be terminated. It has become far too costly to America’s global economic and strategic interests.

The less defensible a federal policy is on its merits, the greater the likelihood that it generates (or originates from) a great deal of cash in Washington, in the form of campaign contributions. Sugar is a sweet case in point. The Fanjul brothers, Florida’s Cuban-American reigning sugar barons who preside over Palm Beach’s yacht-owning society, were alone responsible for generating nearly $1 million in soft-money donations during the 2000 election cycle. Alfonso Fanjul, the chief executive of the family-controlled Flo-Sun company, served as Bill Clinton’s Florida co-chairman in 1992 — and even merited a mention in the impeachment-scandal Starr report, when Monica Lewinsky testified that the president received a call from him during one of their trysts. Meanwhile, brother Pepe is equally energetic in backing Republicans, so all bases are covered.

The Fanjuls harvest 180,000 acres in South Florida that send polluted water into the Everglades. (A crucial part of their business over the years has been to lobby not just against liberalization of the sugar trade, but against plans to have the sugar industry pay its fair share of the ambitious $8 billion Everglades restoration project.) The Fanjuls had been Cuba’s leading sugar family for decades before Fidel Castro’s takeover. Crossing the Straits of Florida, they bought land in the vicinity of Lake Okeechobee, which feeds the Everglades, and imported platoons of poorly paid Caribbean migrant workers. Their business was aided by the embargo on Cuban sugar. The crop is protected from other competition by an intricate system of import quotas that dates back to 1981.

The government does not pay sugar producers income supports as it does many other kinds of farmers. Instead, it guarantees growers like the Fanjuls an inflated price by restricting supply. Only about 15 percent of American sugar is imported under the quota rules, and while the world price is about 7 cents a pound, American businesses that need sugar to make their products must pay close to 21 cents. Preserving this spread between domestic and world sugar prices costs consumers an estimated $2 billion a year, and nets the Fanjuls — who have been called the first family of corporate welfare — tens of millions annually. The sugar exporters who are able to sell to the United States also benefit from those astronomical prices. The Dominican Republic is the largest quota holder, and one of the big plantation owners there is — surprise — the Fanjul family.

The sugar situation hurts American businesses and consumers, but its worst impact is on the poor countries that try to compete in the global agricultural markets. Their farmers might never be able to compete with corn or wheat farmers in the United States, even if the playing field were leveled. But they can grow cotton and sugar at lower prices than we can, no matter how advanced our technology. Our poorer trading partners bitterly resent the way this country feels entitled to suspend market-driven rules whenever it appears they will place American producers at a disadvantage.

In fairness, the United States is not alone in distorting the sugar trade, and the European Union’s massively subsidized exports of beet sugar make it the biggest culprit. The American sugar lobby uses that fact as a shield, arguing that the crop not be included in any regional trade deals until distortions are addressed by all countries at the World Trade Organization. But quotas are set between trading partners, not on a global level. Right now the United States is negotiating the creation of a hemispheric free trade area that would benefit many United States industries, including other agricultural sectors. It is ridiculous for the sugar lobby to argue — as it does vociferously — that sugar should not be included in the agreement even though it is one of the few products that some Latin American republics can hope to ship to the American market.

So far the Bush administration has rightly rejected the sugar lobby’s push to keep the commodity off the table. The danger, however, is that American trade negotiators might still prove far too deferential to sugar industries when hammering out the trade deals’ specifics. For instance, any move to phase in elimination of sugar quotas over a period longer than a decade (as was done in the North American Free Trade Agreement) would undermine any promise a trade deal might hold for poor farmers in Latin America. The strength of the protectionist sugar lobby in Washington — which unites Southeastern cane growers and Midwestern beet farmers — was apparent in the success of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana last year in bashing Nafta’s modest sugar provision during her re-election bid.

If the sugar trade were liberalized, world prices would start creeping up and domestic prices would fall, which would benefit both the developing world and the American economy. The industry itself cites ”alarming” studies that if the United States imported an additional two million metric tons — roughly the amount Central America exports — domestic prices would be cut in half. But that is no argument for opposing trade liberalization. That is an argument for the handful of individuals who control the sugar business in this country to start thinking about a new line of work, and be grateful for the long run they had.

Harvesting Poverty: Editorials in this series remain online at nytimes.com/harvestingpoverty.

The Fanjuls are looking back to the future with Cuba

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sugar-tycoon-alfonso-fanjul-now-open-to-investing-in-cuba-under-right-circumstances/2014/02/02/4192b016-8708-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html

Now, contrary to what almost anyone could have imagined, the 76-year-old Fanjul has begun to reassess old grievances and tentatively eye Cuba as a place for him and other U.S. businessmen to expand their enterprises. Quietly, without fanfare, Fanjul has started visiting the island of his birth and having conversations with top Cuban officials.

“If there is some way the family flag could be taken back to Cuba, then I am happy to do that,” Fanjul said in a rare interview, publicly discussing his recent visits to the island for the first time.

This, I’m sure, will make Marco Rubio’s head spin.

http://news.yahoo.com/here-s-where-marco-rubio-gets-his-campaign-money-204131516.html;_ylt=A0LEV79NuX5VmnIAgronnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTE0MjRrZ2t1BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDRkZYVUkxMl8xBHNlYwNzYw–

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement on reports of Cuban-American sugar tycoon Alfonso Fanjul considering investing in Cuba:

“At a time when the democracy activists on the island are facing even harsher reprisals from the brutal Cuban regime, it’s pathetic that a Cuban-American tycoon feels inspired to trample on the backs of those activists in order to give the communist thugs more money with which to repress. The only little old thing that is standing in Alfy’s way of realizing these sleazy business deals with the devil is US law. He doesn’t talk about the arbitrary arrests of pro-freedom leaders in Cuba or the continual beatings endured by the peaceful Damas de Blanco. Oh no, for Alfy, the only hindrance to turning a profit off the suffering of the Cuban people is pesky US laws and he is working with groups to undo those laws. It is sickening to read that he brings up the separation of the Cuban family when he is doing all he can to exacerbate that problem. Shame on him..”

A little trouble in Paradise!

Despite the Fanjul family’s influence over U.S. policy and access to government officials at the highest levels of power, Alfy Fanjul has never become a U.S. citizen. He remains a permanent U.S. resident who maintains Spanish citizenship. Alfonso Fanjul served as co-chairman of Bill Clinton’s Florida campaign in 1992 and is a major contributor and fundraiser for the Democratic Party. His brother Pepe, who is a U.S. citizen, contributes to the Republicans.

How to grow your own sugar cane. DIY