LOCAL

3 To Know: Endangered shorebirds ran over on Marco Island, more

Marco Eagle
Black skimmers nest along the Navarre Beach causeway in this photo from July 2022. The young chicks survive on fish gathered by their parents, and Florida Audubon officials encourage people not to try to feed these birds with conventional human food, as it will only attract birds like seagulls who prey upon black skimmer chicks.

1. Endangered shorebirds ran over on Marco Island

Florida Fish and Wildlife is investigating after endangered shorebirds were ran over and killed Monday on Marco Island.

The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m., Monday, on the beach side of 400 S. Collier Blvd.

Marco police officers first responded to a call about a gold cart being operated in a reckless manner, who it is believed  intentionally ran over five black skimmers, killing them.

The birds are an endangered species.

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2. Federal agency is considering a ban on gas stoves in the US, report says: ‘Hidden hazard’

A federal agency is reportedly considering a ban on gas stoves on the heels of rising concern about harmful indoor air pollutants emitted by the appliances. 

In an interview with Bloomberg, a U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner said gas stove usage is a “hidden hazard," which can cause health issues, including respiratory problems in children.

Gas burner on a stove.

“Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” agency commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg, the first major outlet to break the news. The report said the agency plans “to take action” to address the indoor pollution caused by stoves.

A CPSC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment by USA Today Tuesday.

Late Monday, Trumpka tweeted: “To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves. Regulations apply to new products. For Americans who CHOOSE to switch from gas to electric, there is support available.”

Gas stoves, used in more than  40 million U.S. homes, emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization said are unsafe and linked to respiratory disease, heart issues, cancer and other medical problems, according to reports by groups such as the Institute for Policy Integrity and the American Chemical Society.

The CPSC has been considering action on gas stoves since the fall. In October, Trumka recommended the agency seek public comment on the hazards associated with gas stoves after pollutants were linked to asthma and worsening respiratory conditions. – Natalie Neysa Alund/USA Today

Pumping fuel at a gas filling station

3. Gas prices in Florida decline slightly

Florida’s gas prices began a slow downturn this week after a skyrocketing 32-cent jump during the last weeks of 2022.

The average price declined by two cents heading into the week, brining prices to $3.30 a gallon, according to the weekly briefing from AAA The Auto Club Group. That’s 10 cents more than this time last year.

The sharp uptick in the last two weeks of the year are linked to the rebound of crude oil prices. About half the price of gas is set by the price of oil. In early December, prices fell from $92 a barrel to $71, but in the final week of the year they rose to $86 a barrel.

AAA officials are predicting prices to continue falling in the coming weeks as the cost of oil in international markets continues its slide.

“Don’t expect significant discounts at the gas pump overnight,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins in his weekly briefing. “Gas prices always rise like a rocket and fall like a feather. That’s because retailers often prefer to offload the more expensive gasoline first, then wait for their next delivery before lowering prices. So, it could take a few weeks before retail prices fully adjust to the recent oil price drop. And that’s assuming that oil prices don’t change course between now and then.” – Karl Etters/Tallahassee Democrat

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