In spite of the glowing words of Florida’s Governor and the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP,) the best description of this bill is the word FAILURE. Failure to protect and a continuation of unmet environmental needs in Florida.
Agriculture is not “singled out” as expressed below, rather it gets a free ride since it is a major pollution source which is not addressed with a plan for a solution nor any enforceable regulations. The Basin Management Action Practices (BMAPs) are ineffective in protecting our waters, as admitted by the DEP and proven by the fact that in the Lower Santa Fe River nitrates have actually increased in the six years that the current BMAP has been in effect.
This article emphasizes with two paragraphs the inspections required in the bill, but Ryan Smart of Florida Springs Council points out that the bill requires farmers to employ practices “…that the DEP already knows don’t work — a waste of time and resources our waters and taxpayers cannot afford.” (See Ryan Smart’s article here.)
Kudos to Marlowe Starling for mentioning that 50 environmental groups urged DeSantis to veto this bad legislation, for mentioning OSFR and quoting President Mike Roth, and for writing about the devastating rider that prohibits local governments from ruling on environmental legal rights to nature.
In our opinion, taking this freedom from us is the single worst aspect of the bills and is an unfortunate continuation of the trend in Tallahassee of taking power away from local governments and making us subject to the whims and dictates of the corporations which run our state.
The heavy influence of industry is the reason our state “protective” agencies are allowing our water resources to slowly decline and die even as these same agencies tout their achievements as we see in these newspaper articles.
A comparison of the water quality and the flow of our springs and rivers now and and a few years back shows that this slow demise is constant and real.
In contrast to Starling, other reporters emphasized far fewer aspects. Renzo Downey of Florida Politics, Tania Rogers with Scott Sutton of News Region N Palm Beach County and Richard Teribou of the Orlando Sentinel had only praise for DeSantis and SB 712 with no mention of opposition from any of the 50 environmental groups. Only one side of the story was available to readers.
However, the News Service of Florida (which we took from My Panhandle) devoted a good portion of their report to the strong opposition to the exaggerated claims by the State, citing the Florida Springs council, David Cullen of Sierra Club, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Jen Lomberk of Waterkeepers Florida, and Florida Conservation Voters.