When I pointed out a few days ago that the most important Scott Administration water policy was to “Unrelentingly please the biggest water users and water polluters,” I should have provided evidence. I could have quoted the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s boast that, “Governor Scott signed all 82 of 82 Florida Chamber-backed bills that have reached his desk the last three years.”
You can see even better evidence of the Best Buds relationship in the op-ed that the Chamber of Commerce CEO wrote Monday in the Tampa Bay Times. He says that almost everything about water policy is going great. As the Chamber demanded, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency abandoned the idea of imposing tougher nutrient standards on Florida waters. The Legislature wisely dumped the springs bill only because it didn’t set aside enough tax dollars to subsidize polluters in cleaning up their act. We are reminded that the Chamber even holds an annual conference on Environmental Permitting(!).
The Chamber see only two clouds on the horizon. For one thing, the Legislature has not given enough tax dollars to water users and polluters. Secondly, there is a real danger that 60% of voters might approve the Land and Water Legacy amendment this fall.
What you don’t see in the op-ed is a statement of willingness to do anything for Florida’s water unless water users and polluters are paid to do it. You don’t see any support for improved water efficiency standards, a call for more stringent minimum flows and levels, a demand to apply less fertilizer across the state, for more stringent enforcement of environmental laws, etc., etc. That all is exactly Rick Scott’s position too.
You see, you just can’t do the right thing unless you are paid to do it.