— Oct 19, 2016

Leaked tape: Solar chicanery guiding strategy for big utilities, Amendment 1

Amendment 1, misdeeds, and audiotape emerged in an in-depth report in the Miami Herald that claims Florida electric companies collaborated — flexing more than $21 million in "political jiu-jitsu" — to deceive voters regarding a hotly contested utility-funded solar power initiative.

— Oct 12, 2016

Al Gore provides strong words for grassroots solar but not 'one cent' to help campaign

Former Vice President Al Gore was in Miami Tuesday on political business, including his signature mission, climate change. The stump included a sharp dig at Amendment 1, labeling the utility-funded solar power initiative “baloney.” But Gore, a multimillionaire and founder of the Climate Reality Project, never contributed “a cent” to support grassroots solar advocates in Florida.

— May 30, 2015

Former Bradenton mayor says lawmakers are out of touch

A big oak tree at old Manatee County Courthouse shaded Bill Evers, just barely, before a rally began Saturday for Amendment 1. “They should just go ahead and fund it,” said Evers, Bradenton’s hardnosed mayor for 20 years. “The people want it. What better way can you spend your money than to protect your future?”

— May 25, 2015

Land and water advocates plan statewide rallies

Florida’s land and water advocates are planning statewide rallies Saturday and the message takes shape in the form of a question. What part of Amendment 1 do state lawmakers not understand? “This is our last chance to convince our legislators to finish the job and protect Florida's natural treasures before they are gone,” Aliki Moncrief said.

— Mar 6, 2015

Plants seek attention, some respect, in statewide conservation discussions

For whatever reason some rare plants resist climate change, humans and other ecological bad actors. Blodgett’s silverbush is an inconspicuous flowering plant at the bottom of most conservation dance cards. But it's hanging tough in the pine rocklands and sunny coastal berms of the Everglades. Not bad in South Florida, where 46 other rare plant species are critically imperiled, according to a new study.

— Jan 12, 2015

For Amendment 1, business begins with a coalition proposal and a website

With roughly $750 million to spread around this year, lawmakers set up shop last week for Amendment 1, starting with a website to plug in the public. And when the Senate Committee on Environmental Protection and Conservation gathered with chairman Charlie Dean, a coalition of environmental watchdogs was first in line with a proposal.

— Jan 7, 2015

DEP plan for Cockroach Bay meets approval

The first public hearing of the Amendment 1 era was held Tuesday night in Ruskin. The subject was a sensitive 10-year management plan for Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park. A feather – ideally from a roseate spoonbill – could have cut the tension.

— Dec 22, 2014

Cockroach Bay: A new 10-year proposal by DEP

A 10-year management plan for Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park was given a $30,320 tuneup last week and a chance for less controversy after an earlier version was labeled as too soft on exotic plants.

— Dec 13, 2014

Florida's ranching: Butcher's perspective in black and white

Florida ranchers seem to be a tolerant group. Their land supports vast populations of wildlife, including the rarest. A rich mixture of habitats protect water systems that serve millions. Speculators want to buy it; activists want to save it; and the government wants to tax it.

— Dec 9, 2014

For public hearings, ARC could be wider

House Deputy Majority Leader Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, was just named vice chairman for the Appropriations Committee. Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, is vice-chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee under Appropriations. The jobs will keep Boyd and Pilon busy in 2015 with Amendment 1.

Put your ocean voyage on cruise control