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Bruce Ritchie has 127 articles published.

Bruce Ritchie: If voters want new energy policy, they need to elect new legislators

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Former Gov. Charlie Crist says if elected governor again in November, he would again issue executive orders dealing with climate change. But we’ve been down that road before — and it didn’t take us very far. If Crist is elected and does what he says, you can expect a battle with industry groups and their allies in the Legislature. Crist is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott for re-election. On July 25, after hearing a climate…

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Gov. Scott and the bike trail: What a difference an election year makes

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What a difference a year makes — an election year especially — when it comes to a bike trail connector across Central Florida. In May 2013, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a $50-million appropriation for the “Coast to Coast Connector” that would link 275 miles of bike trails across the region. Scott told reporters last year when he signed the budget, “We love to bike,” but said the projects should be funded through the Florida Department of Transportation. Within six months…

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Bruce Ritchie: Despite popularity, utilities oppose solar rebate programs

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If you wonder whether utility solar rebate programs for homeowners and businesses were popular, look at how quickly the rebates were snapped up. Florida Power & Light Co. paid $16.5 million in rebates between 2011 and 2013. Each time the program issued its maximum amount of reservations on the same day that applications opened, a utility spokeswoman said. At Duke Energy Florida, $4.7 million in rebates in 2013 were claimed in less than 24 hours, a utility spokesman said. But…

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Bruce Ritchie: Is it time to revisit our approach to recycling?

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Is it time to trash our old-school ideas about recycling? Recycling is important because it saves energy and reduces our need to create new landfills to bury waste for future generations. But some recent news items raise the question of whether the future of recycling is going to be far different than the rinse-and-sort curbside recycling that most households have known in the past. Last week, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported that the state’s recycling rate in 2013 was 49…

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Bruce Ritchie: Will there be any opposition to the conservation amendment?

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With a Florida Chamber of Commerce poll last week showing strong support for the proposed conservation lands amendment, the question lingers whether there will be organized opposition? Amendment 1 would earmark one-third of documentary stamp tax revenue for 20 years to the state Land Acquisition Trust Fund. Supporters say the amendment is needed because state land-acquisition programs have been starved for money since 2009. State analysts estimate the measure would provide $19 billion for environmental restoration and land-buying over 20…

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EPA, environmental reporters in tussle over access to experts

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 The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Society of Environmental Journalists both have the word “environmental” in their names. But the comparison should stop there. One is a federal agency. The other is a nonprofit group, which I belong to, that is dedicated to helping improve the quality and visibility of environmental journalism. The agency and journalism group are knocking heads over the way EPA rolled out its announcement on June 2 of a plan to reduce carbon emissions.…

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EPA, environmental reporters in tussle over access to experts

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 The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Society of Environmental Journalists both have the word “environmental” in their names. But the comparison should stop there. One is a federal agency. The other is a nonprofit group, which I belong to, that is dedicated to helping improve the quality and visibility of environmental journalism. The agency and journalism group are knocking heads over the way EPA rolled out its announcement on June 2 of a plan to reduce carbon emissions.…

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