Better than nothing and some good parts. But it will be a surprise if it makes it without losing some of the best parts, and a surprise if it makes it.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Read the complete article here in TCPalm.
To live up to its name, ‘Clean Waterways Act’ needs teeth | Opinion
Let’s be clear: The “Clean Waterways Act” proposed by Sen. Debbie Mayfield is not a generational game-changer for Florida.
The 91-page bill won’t dramatically shore up the state’s weakened water-pollution regulations, as the Clean Water Act did for the federal government in the 1970s and 80s. It won’t impose bold, mandatory limits on agricultural polluters in Florida.
Rather, Mayfield’s Senate Bill 712 calls for incremental, non-controversial adjustments to state policy.
Among them: creation of a grant program for septic-to-sewer conversions; expanded real-time monitoring of water quality; more oversight of sewage-treatment plants and a reshuffling of septic-tank oversight from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection.
These aren’t bad things — but they are far from radical. They alone aren’t enough to create “clean waterways,” as the bill’s name implies.
Mayfield’s bill is on the right track in places: It includes long-overdue statewide regulation of biosolids, a form of treated human waste that’s been linked to toxic blue-green algae blooms. Her legislation calls for implementing the recommendations of the state’s Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee, which was created in 2018 — only after journalists wrote about cyanobacteria that bloomed on Blue Cypress Lake in Indian River County, not far from land where biosolids had been dumped.
Mayfield, R-Indialantic, must go further than the biosolids task force did, by working with state Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, who attempted to tackle this issue last session. Together, they should reveal biosolids dumping for what it is: a risky way to get rid of human waste. Then they should crack down on such dumping accordingly.
Another glimmer of light in Mayfield’s bill: It plainly states what too many politicians in Florida are afraid to say: that agriculture is among Florida’s biggest water-pollution problems. Mayfield’s bill declares agriculture “has been identified as the dominant source of both phosphorus and nitrogen within the Lake Okeechobee watershed and a number of other basin management action plan areas.”
Lawmakers kick off their 2020 session in Tallahassee on Jan. 14. Contact Mayfield at [email protected] to let her know you want more from the Clean Waterways Act.
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