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Wildcat Wells in Florida’s Big Cypress Preserve Bring New and Unstudied Risks – May 1, 2014

Regulatory agencies aren't carefully assessing the impact of ramped up oil and gas exploration in southwest Florida, say critics

When you think of oil drilling, South Florida probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. But rising oil prices are bringing increasing oil and gas exploration projects to southwest Florida, home of the Everglades, and they are already putting environment at risk.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently slapped a $25,000 fine on the Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Company for injecting unapproved acid into Florida’s vulnerable underground limestone formations in the middle of Audubon Society's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a major nesting site for wood storks. Yet the DEP recently approved another request by Dan Hughes to drill near another protected areas — the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge — despite vehement… more

by: Karen Hoffmann

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Where have all the sea cows gone? – January 15, 2014

Something is killing Florida’s manatees, but no one’s sure what. Scientists try to piece together the puzzle

The West Indian manatee is an example of evolution optimizing for one thing: taking time to slow down and munch the seagrass. They have no natural predators, just humans and their boat propellers. Individual animals can be identified by the unique pattern of scars on their backs. Their thick skin has kept them going, but maybe not for much longer. Florida’s manatees are on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species because “the population is estimated to decline by at least 20 percent over the next two generations (estimated at ~40 years) due to anticipated future changes in warm-water habitat and threats from increasing watercraft traffic over the next several… more

by: Karen Hoffmann

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As Host to Rio+20, Brazil Faces Own Environmental Struggles – June 21, 2012

Economic Powerhouse Is Using Up Its Natural Resources Faster than Ever

As leaders from 130 countries gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this week for the “Rio+20” United Nations environmental summit, the host country is grappling with its own increasingly volatile struggles between economic growth, ecosystem conservation, and human rights protection.

photo of cattle in a herd on a dirt road through a forestPhoto by Karen HoffmanCattle ranching and soybean cultivations are the two major drivers of deforestation in Brazil.

From deforestation for soy and cattle plantations to violence against forest activists, to the scores of dams being built on the country’s rushing rivers, Brazil faces debate both internally and internationally about its future. The South… more

by: Karen Hoffmann

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Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico Oil Exploration Makes Strange Bedfellows – March 15, 2012

US Enviro Groups and Oil Execs Band Together to Promote End of Cold War-Era Hostilities Between Two Nations

From his hotel in Havana, marine scientist and conservation policy specialist David Guggenheim, aka the “Ocean Doctor,” can see the lights of Scarabeo 9. The recently arrived oil-drilling platform off the Cuban coast began drilling exploratory deepwater wells on the Cuban side of the Florida Straits, about 70 miles from Key West, last month.

Photo Courtesy MapquestLast month, Spanish oil company Repsol began exploratory drilling on the Cuban side of the Florida
Straits, about 70 miles from Key West. US environmentalists and policymakers are concerned that
Cuba doesn’t have the resources, technology, or expertise needed to deal with a Deepwater Horizon-
like disaster.

The 53,000-ton rig is,… more

by: Karen Hoffmann

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In Brazil, Murder of Activists Underscores Bitter Fight over Amazon’s Resources – July 5, 2011

Locals Say Timing of killings and Approval of Belo Monte Dam Far From Random

“The forest cries,” read a sign at the funeral of José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo. The Amazon activists had been murdered, execution-style, by unknown assailants, less than 24 hours after Brazil's lower house of congress voted to roll back forest protections.

Photo by Lou GoldJosé Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva speaking at TEDx Amazon last November where he
predicted his own death.

Chillingly, Ribeiro had predicted his own death at a TEDx talk in Manaus six months earlier. He had been receiving threats from loggers in the area of his home near Nova Ipixuna, in the lawless Brazilian state of Para.

“I could… more

by: Karen Hoffmann

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