Hal Kreitman, a Bodybuilding, Fetish-Partying, Ex-Chiropractor, Finds New Life Swimming With Wild Alligators

Categories: Environment

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Hal Kreitman
Hal Kreitman is having a staring contest with an eight-foot bull gator. It's a Monday morning, and fast-moving cloud cover yanks shadows across a shallow pond nestled along an empty stretch of Loop Road in the Everglades. Kreitman -- 51 years old, salt-and-pepper hair, circle medallion glinting off his gym-ripped chest -- is knee-deep in water the color of whiskey. Staccato ticking noises sound from the back of his throat.

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Environmentalists to March on Rick Scott's Waterfront Mansion This Weekend

Categories: Environment

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Rick Scott is going to have company at his seaside mansion this weekend but the visitors are not likely to be welcome. A coalition of Florida citizens dismayed at the governor's environmental record are planning to march on his $9.2 million residence at 3150 Gordon Drive in Naples to raise a ruckus over the threat to state waters that's gathered steam on Scott's watch.

See also:
- Fracking the Everglades: Enviros Claim State Deception on Water Quality

Many of the marchers are veterans of the Collier County fracking wars, including Dr. Karen Dwyer, a leading member of the area's Stonecrab Alliance, which along with area homeowners' group Save Our Paradise (and others) succeeded in forcing the Department of Environmental Protection to shut down (for now) Texas prospectors drilling in the Everglades.


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Seminoles Mark Columbus Day With Action Camp Against Genetically Engineered Trees

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Members of all three South Florida native people's groups -- the Seminole Tribe, the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation, and the Miccosukee Tribe -- got an early start on Columbus Day this year, marking the date with education and networking on what they see as a new form of colonization -- genetically engineered trees.

See also: Frankenforests in Florida: Campaign Condemns Genetically Engineered Trees

The celebration -- such as it was -- took place last week in Qualla Boundary, N.C., over a period of two days and included members of indigenous groups from all across the U.S. Hosting the event was the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Indigenous Environmental Network, with participation by the Campaign to STOP GE Trees.

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Bill Nelson and Fellow Senators to Witness Fort Lauderdale Flooding Due to Climate Change

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Florida is pretty much sinking into the ocean. This is no longer in question. The real question here is, What the hell is being done about it?

For now, the only answer politicians seem to have is to look at the ocean, which is exactly what Sen. Bill Nelson and a bunch of other senators are coming down to Fort Lauderdale to do.

Nelson says he's bringing his colleagues to Las Olas Boulevard to watch the tide come in, just as the so-called King Tide is rolling into South Florida.

See also: Is Marco Rubio the Worst Climate Denier in Congress?

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Amendment 1 Will Ensure Conservation Projects Get Funded

Categories: Environment

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Ricymar Photography via Flickr Creative Commons
For Florida's upcoming November elections, most of the buzz has been about Amendment 2 -- the proposal that would legalize medical marijuana via an amendment to the state constitution. But there's another proposed amendment on the ballot -- one that would dedicate funds for conservation projects.

Every time a person buys or sells property or files a deed, lien, or mortgage, the courts collect a small tax --- just 35 to 70 cents per $100 of the value. Funds collected from this documentary stamp tax have for decades, and under both Republican and Democratic governors, typically been used to fund conservation efforts.

But, says Will Abberger of the Tallahassee-based campaign Florida's Water and Land Legacy, "starting in 2009 with the recession, funding for conservation in Florida has been reduced by 95 percent" because legislators have poached this money and diverted it into the state's general fund, where it's been used on a host of projects -- but not conservation.


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Obama's Climate Leaders Praise South Florida for Taking Action on Rising Sea Levels

Categories: Environment

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Photo by DVIDSHUB via Wikipedia Commons
The National Climate Assessment findings released in May by the Obama administration found that South Florida is "exceptionally vulnerable to sea level rise."

South Florida, the assessment concluded, is sinking into the ocean.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that South Florida environmentalists, scientists, business owners, and public officials -- particularly from Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties -- took the assessment seriously and wasted no time in trying to keep our part of the state from going way down below the ocean.

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FPL Power Plant in Florida Panther Refuge Stymied by Seminole Lawsuit

Categories: Environment

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A state court judge last week blocked Florida Power & Light's plans to build an immense new gas-fired power plant in Hendry County, on environmentally sensitive, historically significant land that adjoins the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.

See also: Seminoles to Protest FPL Power Plant on Earth Day

In a 32-page order that turned on the question of the legal definition of the word "utilities," Charlotte Circuit Judge Donald H. Mason held that Hendry County officials had illegally granted approval for the plant in a location forbidden under the county's land use regulations.

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Rick Scott and Florida Cabinet Approve Conservation Deals

Categories: Environment

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons
Lower Key Marsh Rabbit
Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet announced the approval of the acquisition of more than 1,275 acres to protect environmentally sensitive areas in Monroe and Washington counties.

The approval is the final step before land can be purchased for these two Florida Forever projects.

"This more than $4 million investment will protect our springs and environment to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy Florida's natural treasures," Scott said via a news release.

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Environmentalists Lose Lawsuit Over Buggies, Panthers, and Big Cypress Plan

Categories: Environment

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Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
For one subset of the Florida cracker, hunting, fishing, and frogging is a way of life. And intrinsic to their subculture, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, is the use of swamp buggies. So when the National Park Service banned their use in parts of the Big Cypress Preserve, it set off a decades-long battle between sportsmen who believe that public land is for recreation and environmentalists who think it's for preservation.

In 1988, the Park Service acquired an additional 147,000 acres around the original preserve. Some of it contained residential areas, and those people had built trails around their homes for off-road vehicle use. But when the government took over, it barred use of the trails.

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Lawsuit Against DEP over Fracking in Everglades Dropped by Collier County

Categories: Environment

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Environmentalists took one on the chin Tuesday when Collier County officials voted to drop a lawsuit they'd filed against the Department of Environmental Protection over the state's policing of fracking by Texas oil prospectors in the Great Cypress Swamp watershed.

See also:
- Frack No More: Activists Drive Texas Oil Company From the Everglades

Collier's Board of County Commissioners in April voted to file the suit, in response to public fury over the February disclosure -- after months of public hearings on the controversial drilling -- that Houston-based Dan A. Hughes Company was found to have violated state law late last year. The company had used a technique known as acid fracking on a well site adjoining the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a major nesting site for wood storks, a species just recently taken off the endangered species list.


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