Statement on general aviation at the Homestead Air Reserve Base

Below is a statement from Friends of the Everglades board member, Alan Farago, on general aviation at the Homestead Air Reserve Base. October 13, 2020 CONTACT: Alan Farago, 305-778-8765 STATEMENT ON GENERAL AVIATION AT THE HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE A potential re-use of the Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB), wedged between two national parks,  is back on the table. Last week Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved a resolution to negotiate a “joint use  agreement” with the U.S. Air Force for a fixed base operation (FBO) at the air base. Commissioner  Daniella Levine Cava added an amendment to the Moss resolution restricting operations to “general  aviation.” Critics note that “general aviation” may not stop cargo traffic and, on questioning, the county attorney  [...]

2020-10-13T12:38:51-04:00October 13th, 2020|All Posts, Friends of the Everglades Statements|

Friends of the Everglades rejects building of a new communication tower on sensitive Everglades wetlands

Just 6 months ago, we celebrated an administrative judge's ruling against Miami-Dade County’s proposed SR-836 extension highway outside of the Urban Development Boundary into the Everglades. Following weeks of hearings, which raised major concerns about building through sensitive wetlands located in the Bird Drive Basin, the planned highway was ultimately rejected due to uncertain impacts to the Everglades and to the Biscayne aquifer that provides drinking water for residents in Miami and the Keys. While we’re waiting for the 836 ruling to be approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, another threat to Bird Drive Basin has emerged. A proposal has been submitted by iHeartMedia & Entertainment to install radio towers in the very same wetlands just secured [...]

2020-10-06T14:56:22-04:00October 6th, 2020|All Posts, Friends of the Everglades Statements|

Miami-Dade County Commission should hit the brakes on development of Homestead Air Base

Friends of the Everglades is asking Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to pull this topic from tomorrow's County Commission agenda to provide more time for input on a proposal that could lead to commercial flights out of Homestead Air Reserve Base. The following letter was submitted to Mayor Gimenez and the Miami-Dade County Commission on behalf of Friends of the Everglades by attorney Paul J. Schwiep. October 5, 2020  Via Electronic Mail Carlos A. Gimenez County Mayor Stephen P. Clark Center 111 Northwest 1st Street, 29th Floor Miami, Florida 33128 Re: Homestead Air Reserve Base: Agenda Item No. 11(A)(13) Dear Mayor Gimenez:  I write on behalf of the Friends of the Everglades (“Friends”) to request that the  Board [...]

2020-10-06T14:55:42-04:00October 5th, 2020|All Posts, Friends of the Everglades Statements|

Friends of the Everglades submits congressional testimony on Everglades restoration, water management in Florida

Today at 11 a.m., members of Congress will host a virtual hearing on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and water management in Florida. Tune in here to watch five witnesses appear before the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Friends of the Everglades submitted the following congressional testimony in advance of this important hearing to drive home two main points: Human health must be a top priority for the Army Corps of Engineers, particularly when it comes to protecting people from the threat of toxic algae; and we need an EAA Storage Reservoir that is truly effective. Click here to view the testimony in full. 

Letter to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried: Stop the Burn

Almost half a million acres of sugarcane are burned for harvest every year in the fields around the Glades. Thick smoke looms, and ash rains down on houses, cars, and schools in communities south of Florida's Lake Okeechobee most months of the year. Insufficient protections for surrounding communities imposes air pollution, health risks, and economic stress on vulnerable residents — threats that are underscored by the current pandemic. Friends of the Everglades submitted the following letter to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to express our support for the expansion of real protections for communities most impacted by the pre-harvest practice of sugarcane burning, until such a time that pre-harvest burning is banned entirely.  Click here to view the letter in full.

Support for Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Florida Bonneted Bat

The Florida Bonneted Bat, one of the rarest and most endangered species of bat in the world, is relying on the designation of critical habitat in Florida, partially located in Everglades National Park, for its best chance of recovery and survival. Known for its large ears that push forward over a wrinkled face, this beloved species is at odds with rising seas and ongoing development across South Florida. Found in only a small number of counties in or around Florida’s Everglades, the bat’s exact population is unknown but is thought to be small and ever-decreasing. In the attached comments, Friends of the Everglades joined the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation organizations in response to the U.S. Fish and [...]

Friends of the Everglades Supports Legislation Prohibiting Toxic Discharges

Today, Friends of the Everglades stood with Congressman Brian Mast in front of the St. Lucie River in support of his newly-introduced legislation. The bill aims to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon when microcystin exceeds the EPA recreational limit of 8 parts per billion. An advanced copy of the bill can be viewed here. With each passing year, we have accumulated more scientific evidence confirming the serious health threats posed by toxic algae blooms. Yet it’s still legally permissible to flood our communities with this toxic water. That's inexcusable. Congressman Mast’s legislation aims to stop that. These are not partisan issues. They are commonsense public-health protections. We support Congressman [...]

2020 LORS HAB Deviation Environmental Assessment Comments

Friends of the Everglades submitted the following comments to the Army Corps of Engineers to express our support for a proposed deviation from LORS 2008, allowing for common sense adjustments to the current Lake Okeechobee management plan in recognition of the serious public health threat posed by harmful algal blooms.  

‘Clean Waterways Act’ is incremental at best — and we need more from Florida policymakers

Statement from Eve Samples, executive director of Friends of the Everglades, on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of the Clean Waterways Act (Senate Bill 712) on June 30, 2020: “The Clean Waterways Act is incrementalism at best. It does too little to curtail polluters, and too little to protect Floridians from the harmful effects of toxic algae blooms that have devastating effects on human health and the state’s economy. What’s worse: The bill was amended to preempt local governments from passing ‘Rights of Nature’ initiatives that could have empowered citizens to protect the natural ecosystems in their own communities. Senate Bill 712 does some incremental good by tightening up rules and penalties for septic and sewer systems — but it falls [...]

In the footsteps of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, we stand with Black Lives Matter

Marjory Stoneman Douglas was, at her core, an advocate for equality. Five decades before she founded Friends of the Everglades in 1969, she blasted corrupt politics and advocated for civil rights in her column for the Miami Herald. Marjory wrote about the injustice of “convict leasing,” a system of penal labor that overwhelmingly targeted black men in the United States, allowing a form of slavery to endure. She advocated to bring sanitary plumbing systems to poor neighborhoods of Miami. She also traveled to Tallahassee to lobby for women’s suffrage, undeterred by the unsympathetic state legislators she faced there. More fundamentally, Marjory recognized and spoke out against the devastating and multi-generational impact of slavery on black people in the United States. [...]