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Happy Friday, everyone!
And May the Fourth be with you! Yesterday, Balmoral Group employees and family ran in the SimplyIOA Corporate 5k and laid down some impressive times. David Osorio, pictured on the left below, took the fastest time of the team, laying down a smoking 8-minute mile pace! Congrats to all the contestants on a race well ran.
In this week's edition, we have pieces on several new legislative actions, some nationwide and some local. Such legislature includes the use of new road materials and water quality management in Florida, natural gas regulation in New York, and cooperation between Native American tribes and the State of California.
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Legislature Signs Off On Up to $25M for Apalachicola Bay Water Quality The Florida Legislature passed a bill to enhance water quality in Apalachicola Bay, which has been a designated area of critical state concern for almost 40 years and provides significant economic values through commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, and boating. HB 407 provides for the Department of Environmental Protection to spend up to $5 million a year for five years to provide financial assistance to the City of Apalachicola for projects that improve water quality and supply, including stormwater management and sewage treatment and disposal systems. Read more here.
New York Poised to Pass First Statewide Law Banning Natural Gas in New Buildings New York is likely to become the first state in the country to pass a law banning fossil fuel usage in most new buildings. Gas stoves, furnaces, and propane heating will be eliminated for climate-friendly options such as heat pumps and induction stoves. This law would likely take effect in 2026 for buildings under 7 stories and 2029 for larger buildings. This bill would decrease carbon emissions by 6.1 million metric tons by 2040, or equivalent to the annual emission of 1.3 million cars. This bill comes as part of New York’s goal to have net-zero emissions by 2040. Read More.
U.S. Hunting Regulation Effort Faces Pushback from Conservation Groups
New regulations expected to be published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service include restrictions on the use of cost-effective lead ammo and fishing tackle on public lands over concerns of lead poisoning in birds who may inadvertently ingest this lead as well as contamination of waterways and drinking water. The International Order of T. Roosevelt (IOTR) have pushed back against these new rules, citing the large-scale unavailability of lead-free ammunition. The IOTR warns that with the rising costs of hunting, diminishing lands to hunt on, and a complex regulatory environment that makes it confusing for hunters to understand where they can hunt, the national tradition of hunting and fishing can be severely impacted in the next decade if measures are not taken to address the limitations hunters and fishermen currently face. Read more here.
Legislature Puts Its Stamp on Phosphogypsum Road Usage The Florida Senate voted to approve HB 1191 that requires FDOT to conduct a study to evaluate whether phosphogypsum can be used as aggregate material in road construction. It is estimated that there are 1 billion tons of it currently stored in large piles called stacks around the state, with 30 million new tons generated every year. However, phosphogypsum is currently prohibited for road construction projects by the EPA. Environmental groups have also opposed the bill due to concerns about the material’s radioactivity. The bill will now go to the Governor for his signature. Florida Politics
Winnemem Wintu Tribe and California Sign Agreement to Save Salmon
This last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe signed agreements to restore the endangered Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River, near the mountains north of Redding, California. Members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe have long sought to restore a wild salmon population in the McCloud River north of Redding, where their ancestors once lived. The agreements that were signed this week for the first time formally recognize the tribe as a partner participating in efforts to save this species. Chinook salmon haven’t been able to reach the McCloud River since 1942 and the building of the Shasta Dam. The new agreements call for the tribe to contribute traditional ecological knowledge, sharing insight as the tribe once did for the nation’s first Chinook salmon hatchery in 1872. LA Times; CA Fish & Wildlife
Data Visualization of the Week
The Link Between Forest Loss and Water Quality
A new study published in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service details the connection between diminishing forest watersheds and their effect on water quality. With more than 80% of southern forests being privately owned, and human populations growing, the loss of forests as a watershed may lead to lowered water quality and increased cost for water treatment. Read more about the study here.