Environmental Issues- April Minutes

NOTE- Included in the minutes: attached PDFs and documents with handouts from the meeting, such as a recommended reading list, websites with environmentally-related events, Lake Worth Lagoon info, an electronics toxic waste option (contact Richard Emory mentioned in minutes), etc. 

Draft EIG minutes meeting April 21, 2018

I. Attending were Nikki Descoteaux, Theresa Flowers, Arthur Levin, Laura Lutz, Mary Mertz, Kathy Panko and Ginny Shaller. The meeting began at 10:35 a.m. at the Okeechobee Branch Library in West Palm Beach.

II. The March 3, 2018 meeting minutes were accepted. Motion: Kathy Panko; second, Mary Mertz.

In response to a question posed at that meeting about the connection between promoting environmental legislation/issues and the mission of the LWV, LWVFL Natural Resources Chair Marty Sullivan responded that the environmental priorities “conform to LWVFL Study and Action and/or LWVUS Impact on Issues.” We are referred to these documents for more detail.

III. Final Legislative Update for 2018 session

See attached photo of poster listing some of environmental bills this session, their fate, and the LWV position.

Discussion ensued about the EAA storage reservoir approved by SFWMD and other agencies at 10500 acres and 23 feet deep, less than desired by environmental groups but a start towards Everglades restoration.

This was followed by discussion of the Constitutional Revision Commission’s final amendment proposals for the November 2018 ballot. To shorten the ballot, the CRC chose to take over 20 separate, often only vaguely related amendments and bundled them into eight newly numbered amendments that will appear on the ballot. Of concern to the EIG, is the proposed amendment combining a ban on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas with a ban on vaping in certain indoor spaces. CRC Commissioner Heuchan defended the bundling by saying the connection was clean water and clean air. The EIG indicated discomfort with bundling but wasn’t opposed to the two parts of this particular amendment. Member Flowers, a Civics Education teacher, said that vaping was becoming a big problem even in middle school. It is feared that vaping becomes a gateway to more dangerous habits.

IV. Past month’s Environmental Events

Several were reviewed:

A. PBC Natural Areas Maintenance Funding: passed by the Board of County Commissioners after receipt of hundreds of postcards from residents, including from EIG members.

B. PBC Tourism Council, meeting attended by Mary Mertz. The idea to connect with them because ecotourism is a big draw to this area, so conservation of the environment is in the Council’s and economy’s interest. Per Commissioner Berger, funds from the Council may not be used for maintaining the Natural Areas.

C. Palm Beach Atlantic University Earth Day Festival: not well advertised by the university so students only dropped by in between classes. There was a handful of voter registrations. We displayed the environmental legislative summary at the festival. It may not be worth the time next year. However, we did make connections with other environmental organizations, distributed the LWV environmental brochure and have kept the groups’ contact information for future communications.

D. LWV Hot Topics with John Englander. He said we can’t do anything to stop the sea level rise. He did indicate a need for governments, agencies, and individuals to acknowledge the threat and make better decisions. Per Art of EIG, we must adapt.

V. Structure of EIG. We still need someone to be the Chair. Or, perhaps, two people.

Thank you to Kathy for her articles in the newsletter. Please contact her with any ideas for environmental articles. Thank you to Theresa for meeting notices on the calendar.

VI. Electronic Waste Recycling

Nikki summarized information provided by member Richard Emory on e-waste recycling occurring in some residential communities. See attached flyer. Richard would be happy to advise interested parties in arranging such an event. Richardemory2@gmail.com

VII. Networking with Governmental and Environmental Organizations

We discussed the value of aligning ourselves with other environmental organizations as we have done for solar energy and a fracking ban: strength in numbers and avoidance of duplication of effort and ideas. This discussion will be continued.

We will also get in touch with the League’s Observer Corps for information on the municipal and county meetings they attend. They can inform us if there is a meeting item coming up for which we should be in attendance.

Examples of other County groups that may be of interest: PBC Water Resources Task Force, BCC, Ground Water and Natural Resources Protection Board, SFWMD, Water Resources Analysis Group, Soil and Water District Commission.

VIII. Save Florida Estuaries Coalition

See attached flyer. The EIG discussed supporting the Coalition. Motion to recommend to LWVPBC Board to support the Coalition: Mary Mertz, second by Ginny Shaller. A unanimous vote in favor. Nikki will email Karen Wilkerson with the recommendation.

IX. 2018 LWVUS Convention and Water Caucus

LWV Water Caucus discussing concerns related to water in the United States will be held on June 27, the day before the start of the National Convention. Nikki will be attending both and is tentatively scheduled to give a short presentation to the Water Caucus delegates about South Florida water Issues. She has been asked to note successes related to League advocacy around water issues. She will be contacting south Florida Leagues for input.

Please contact Nikki with your suggestions for this presentation, especially relating to any successes on a local or state level. Even a progress report is helpful. Nikkidescoteaux@gmail.com.

X. Outside Presenters

We are committed to increasing our knowledge of environmental issues. Educate so we can advocate. Please contact Nikki and Mary with your suggestions.

XI. Action Opportunities

May 5: LWV New Member Orientation. Nikki and Mary. We will try to encourage others to join us.

See attached list as well as the suggested readings, films and TV programs list.

Important to mark on calendars: October 24-25, 2018. Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit in Miami Beach. Http://www.southeastfloridaclimatecompact.org/2018-10th-annual-summit/

XII. Next EIG meeting: Saturday, June 16 at 10:30 am at Okeechobee Boulevard Branch Library, West Palm Beach

Motion to adjourn: Mary; second by Laura.

EIG book list 4-21-18

EIG book list 4-21-18


Meeting adjourned at 12:15.

Respectfully submitted,

Nikki Descoteaux and Mary Mertz, Co-Vice Chairs

Nikkidescoteaux@gmail.com. Marymertz@me.com



LWV Environmental Group

List of PBC agencies and upcoming meetings to attend/monitor for environmentally related discussion/action items:

PBC Water Resource Task Force – Thursday, April 26, 3:00 p.m. – ERM Vista Center Conf. Rm., 4th fl., 2300 N. Jog Rd., WPB

Board of County Commissioners. – Tuesday, May 1 – 9:30 a.m. – Gov. Center, 301 N. Olive Ave.

Tourist Development Council – Thursday, May 10 – 9:00 a.m. – WPB.

Board of County Commissioners Mtg. – Tuesday, May 15 – (Same as previous.)

Ground Water & Natural Resources Protection Bd. – Thursday, May 17, 1:30 p.m. PBC Vista Center, 2300 N. Jog Rd.

South Florida Water Management District – no local board meetings scheduled at this time.

Water Resources Analysis Coalition (WRAC) Public Forum – May 3, 9:00 a.m.
SFWMD Headquarters, Building 1 – Auditorium, 3301 Gun Club Road, WPB

Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District – April 26, 7:00 p.m. Vista Center Conf. Rm. – 2300 N. Jog Rd., WPB.

LWV Environmental Group Meeting Materials – Meeting of April 21, 2018

2018 Florida Legislative Session Environmental Scoreboard

Bill No.

Bill Name/Subject

Governor’s Action

LWV Rating

HB53/SB232 Coral Reef Conservation Act Signed
HB319/SB550 Gulf of Mexico Range Oil Drilling Ban NA
HB1149/SB1308 Environmental Regulation AKA “Toilet to Tap Water Bill” Vetoed


Lands Used for Government Purposes ($100M to Florida Forever; not enough) Signed in budget
HB237, SB4i62, 828, 834 Advanced Stimulation Treatment (Fracking) – Passed 2 Senate Committees; never heard in House. NA
HB7043, SB1402 State Assumption of 404 Dredging & Fill Permitting Signed

Action Opportunities Websites

Turtle Beach Clean Ups: www.keeppbcbeautiful.org/monthly-volunteer-opportunities.html

Environmental Outings: www.eventbrite.com/o/plam-beach-county-department-of-environmental-resources-management-erm-11041382410

EIG meeting April 21, 2018 handouts

EIG meeting April 21, 2018 handouts