Public Policy

Urgent: Tell Your Senator to Vote NO on SB 1684

April 28, 2013

Here is an update on the status of the most anti-environment and anti-native plant bill being considered by the 2013 Florida Legislature.  The House has already passed HB 999 by a 92-20 vote, and our only remaining chance to stop passage of this horrible legislation is for the Senate to vote against SB 1684 this week.  Please phone or email your senator as soon as possible, using the link provided below for contact information, and tell them to vote NO on SB 1684.

We’ve described the contents of this bill to you in previous alerts.  It’s important for you to understand what it is that we are asking you to oppose.  So to provide some context, here's a description of a few of the bill’s worst provisions:

(1) It exempts water control districts from complying with state and local wetland regulations.  These water control districts account for more than 1 million acres of land and water, including the headwaters of the Econlockhatchee River near Orlando. This provision began as a gift to special interests who want to develop along the “Econ”, but it’s the kind of gift that keeps on giving, because it will apply to ALL water control districts.  At a time when we need MORE wetland protection, the legislature is proposing LESS by exempting many large swaths of the state from wetland protection laws.  Is that any way to manage our water resources, and to protect the native plant and animal life that depend on them?

 (2) It prohibits local governments from adopting fertilizer control ordinances to protect water quality in their lakes, rivers and estuaries.  Nutrient enrichment from the fertilizer contained in stormwater runoff is the primary threat to water quality in many areas, and several concerned counties and cities have adopted fertilizer ordinances because the state refuses to take action.  The action being proposed by the state in this bill is to simply impose their inaction on everyone. Who benefits from such inaction?

(3) It grants 30-year no-bid leases on more than 13,900 acres of publicly owned land in the Everglades Agricultural Area. These leases would be granted to the same sugar growers who polluted the Everglades.  The sole intent of this provision is to force an end to the Florida Wildlife Federation's legal challenge of the harmful leases, which would make it harder to restore the Everglades and prevent additional pollution of the system.

(4) It prohibits water management districts from reducing permitted water withdrawals in areas where alternative water sources have been developed by private investors.  We know that in some areas, excessive water withdrawals have been permitted. This provision will tie the hands of the districts by preventing them from reducing damaging withdrawals in such areas, even when more sustainable sources become available.  It essentially privatizes the ownership and control of those new water sources.  This is a dangerous step that erodes the public’s ability to manage and conserve the water needed for both people and natural systems.

If the provisions of this bill as described above make you angry – they should!  And there is even more to dislike.  The title alone of this 31-page bill accounts for 3 and a half pages, because it is nothing less than a laundry list of gifts to special interests.  

Please take a moment to use the link below to obtain contact information for your Senator and then phone or email them immediately and tell them to VOTE NO on SB 1684!  If you have the time and inclination, then contact some additional Senators, including especially Senate President Don Gaetz at (850)487-5001 or gaetz.don.web@flsenate.gov

Find contact information for your Senator using this site:

 

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