DEP’s Attempt to Grab More Power and Fastrack Permits —- Please Send In Comments


The fancy name for this power grab is “Florida’s Request to Assume Administration of a Clean Water Act Section 404 Program,”  but  what it really means is the DEP’s bid to bypass the Army Corps of Engineers and give out permits to destroy wetlands with no oversight.  We then lose the checks and balances protection offered by the federal government (damaging as it may have become under present leadership) and the DEP is wide open with a carte blanche for lobbyists and developers.   To which it is exposed.  And vulnerable.

Some good reasons to request denial:
DEP barely functions with currant budget, they have no means to handle big, new workload.

No Checks and Balances, wide open to developers.

DEP has failed to protect our waters:  springs and rivers down 30 % from historic times, decline is constant.

DEP, by its own admission, has botched the BMAPs and agrees they will not  work.

DEP sets unrealistic MFLs on waterways ALREADY SIGNIFICANTLY HARMED.

DEP  does not have the political will to confront point sources of pollution and just dances around them offering Band Aids.

Finally, this power grab attempt is one more cog in the trend of directing more and more power toward Tallahassee

We recently published a link regarding this and last evening (Oct. 27, 2020)  the second of two meetings with the sole purpose of airing public comment took place from 5 – 8 pm.  Your historian, having registered late and read that speaker slots were filled, had not planned to speak but was able to represent OSFR as slots opened up as time allowed.  Organizers and administrators of the meeting are to be commended on the structure and deployment of the  public-friendly meeting.

A wild guess at the number of speakers would  be between 40 and 50, and they were unanimous but for one in strongly and adamantly condemning not only this power grab but the DEP itself, for the reasons given above as well as others.

One interesting possibility was the suggestion that this new and unsupervised power grab to ruin wetlands comes at just the time our Department of Transportation hopes to be able to cross many streams and wetlands with the proposed toll roads.  This may have some validity keeping in mind Galvano & cronies’ huge rush to get the roads built.  Not having to contend with the Army Corps would certainly hurry things along.

Last night’s voices and the written comments are all that is standing between our wetlands and this politically-controlled agency so we thank all those who took the time to protest.  Comments will be taken until Nov. 2, 2020, so we urge you to add your thoughts.  An elaborate letter is not necessary, just say you oppose this Request to Assume Administration.

Here’s how:   go to the federal website and view docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0640.  Really easy and you may be saving some wetlands from being ruined forever.

Some of the speakers:   Photos by Jim Tatum

Lisa Rinaman SJ RiverKeeper    Cris Costello Sierra Club       Kent Wimmer Defenders of Wildlife

Marian Ryan Ancient Islands SC                  Sarah Younger  Suwannee St Johns SC

Sen. José Javier Rodríguez  (D-Miami) wears rainboots #ActonClimateFL