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eric draper

DEP seeks $50M for Florida Forever

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A request is on the desk of Gov. Rick Scott to replenish the state’s most prominent land-preservation fund. The Department of Environmental Protection‘s wish list for the 2018-2019 fiscal year—presented to Scott last week as the governor’s office crafts budget recommendations for the Legislature—includes $50 million for the Florida Forever program.

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SalterMitchell launches ‘Fluent in Floridian’ podcast

in 2017 by

There’s a new podcast on the block. SalterMitchell is launching Fluent in Floridian, a new podcast featuring state leaders talking about issues important to the people of Florida and the people who visit the Sunshine State each year. The podcast will tackle issues like economic development, environmental protection, transportation, tourism, politics and taxes. Released weekly, each episode features interviews with political leaders, influences and innovators from around the state. “News is consumed so quickly now that it’s become hard to…

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Florida Forever bill could affect Everglades reservoir plan

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A bill that looks to “un-muddy” the mission of Florida’s main environmental land acquisition program could potentially affect the plan for an Everglades reservoir. A House bill brought forth Monday by Rep. Matt Caldwell, a Republican with close ties to House leadership, was passed unanimously by a House panel. Caldwell wants to alter what projects are eligible for money under the Florida Forever Program and put more money into land conservation. But the measure would also remove funding allocations for…

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Eric Draper: Florida making smart progress on solar

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

On a sunny day in Florida, I watched the American flag rise and fly over hundreds of acres of solar cells. It was an amazing experience to think the million panels I was looking at in Manatee County were replacing energy from conventional fuel combustion plants. Yet this solar field feeding directly into the power grid was not using any water nor emitting pollution. I could not have been more excited. In recent years, Florida has increasingly lived up to its…

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FPL to build 8 new Florida solar energy plants, add 2.5M panels by 2018

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida Power & Light Co. is doubling down on solar power, announcing Monday a significant expansion of renewable energy production through next year. FPL, currently the largest generator of solar energy in Florida, will build eight new universal solar power plants by early 2018 – boosting its production with more than 2.5 million solar panels. “We have been working hard to drive down the costs of adding solar,” said FPL President/CEO Eric Silagy, “so we can deliver even more zero-emissions…

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Capitol Reax: Tax cuts, certificates of need, whiskey and Wheaties, fracking

in Statewide by

Gov. Rick Scott proposed $618 million in tax cuts this week, which included four back to school holidays and reducing the commercial lease tax. “Governor Scott’s ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ tax package includes a number of cuts which will significantly support Florida’s retailers, including a reduction in the business rent tax, cutting the business tax and including an expanded back-to-school sales tax holiday among others. FRF is excited about what the Governor’s tax cut package will mean for growing Sunshine…

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Remembering Norene Chase, a “warrior” with a clipboard

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

On the second day of 2016, a group of about 100 gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee to bid farewell Norene Olson Chase, who, at 91, lived a decade longer than the average woman in the United States. She died Dec. 14. Chase died, as nonagenarians are wont to do, after falling, breaking her hip, and contracting a fatal pneumonia. She was not someone I knew at all, but the mother of a friend of mine, and my…

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