Our Santa Fe River, Inc. has signed on to a Sierra Club letter, along with 56 other organizations and businesses, asking Attorney General Pam Bondi to disassociate the State of Florida regarding the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint amicus brief. The letter was re-sent June 10, 2014 and reads as follows:
June 10, 2014
Office of Attorney General State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
RE: Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint Amicus Brief
Dear Attorney General Bondi:
When the leadership of six states joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an historic plan to effectively manage under-treated sewage, industrial discharges and, most important, agricultural pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, water managers in our state recognized that such collaborative success in the Mid-Atlantic could lead to solutions to Florida’s fouled waters as well.
We understood why some regulated industries tied to outdated, unsustainable business practices would fight the cleanup of the Chesapeake, but were confounded and outraged as to why our Attorney General would join the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Council, The Fertilizer Institute, and the National Beef Cattleman’s Association in a lawsuit against the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint.
This cannot be credibly portrayed as a state’s-rights issue, as the Chesapeake Bay states signed and supported the cleanup plan. The legal challenge also cannot be portrayed as protecting Floridians’ interests; the demise of the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint would actually set a negative precedent for the development and implementation of effective cleanup plans for Florida’s waters.
The waters of Florida, and across the country, suffer from the same source of pollution as Chesapeake Bay – too much nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer, sewage and animal manure. Algal blooms explode; toxic dead zones are created; and waters are rendered unfit for swimming, fishing or drinking. There isn’t one region of Florida that has escaped the impacts of this pollution – we have the lost jobs, decreased property values, and diminished quality of life to show for it from the Panhandle to the Keys but nowhere has the extent of this water quality problem in Florida been more apparent than in the Everglades ecosystem in the last 12 months.
If the Everglades is to be restored, we must effectively deal with not only the storage and conveyance of water through the region but also the quality of that water. Water quality in the Everglades will never be improved if regulated industries do not stop pollution at its source instead of sending it flowing into state waters. The Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint should be used as a map for other states rather than be attacked because it might actually accomplish what it proposes to do.
The Everglades is the hallmark of Florida – a unique ecosystem found nowhere else on earth – that provides our state with clean drinking water, incredibly biodiversity, and countless recreational opportunities for Floridians and visitors alike that bolster our tourism economy. We need to do everything possible to protect the waters of the Everglades, including supporting and encouraging fruitful collaboration between the state and the US EPA. The State of Florida has been calling on the federal government to “do its part” with regard to the restoration of the Everglades ecosystem; any attempt to sabotage collaboration between the US EPA and another state or states does nothing but hurt our endeavors here to share the burden with Florida’s federal partners.
To show the citizens of Florida that you are committed to ensuring Florida’s water bodies are clean and healthy, we, the 57 undersigned organizations and businesses, ask you to immediately withdraw the state’s involvement in the American Farm Bureau Federation, et. al v. Environmental Protection Agency, (3d. Cir. 2014).
Save the Manatee Club
Katie Tripp, Ph.D.
Director of Science and Conservation
St. Johns Riverkeeper
Putnam County Environmental Council
IDEAS For Us
Co-founder, Vice President
Sierra Club Florida
Lobby For Animals
Our Santa Fe River, Inc.
1000 Friends of Florida
Charles Pattison, FAICP
PRC Digital Media
Paddle Florida, Inc.
Ocean River Institute
Rob Moir Ph.D.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Director of Natural Resource Policy
Stone Crab Alliance
Karen Dwyer, Ph.D., John P. Dwyer, Ph.D.
Alliance for a Livable Pinellas
Bill Stokes Founder
Adventure Kayak Tours
Center for Biological Diversity
Jaclyn Lopez Staff Attorney
Intracoastal Eco-Systems LLC
Tropical Kayak Tours
Rhonda Good Cox
Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Association
Jill McGuire President
Loxahatchee Group of the Sierra Club
Drew Martin Conservation Chair
Suwannee St. Johns Group of the Sierra Club
Tamara Robbins Chair
Miami Group of the Sierra Club
Jim Teas Chair
Around the Bend Nature Tours LLC
Gulf Restoration Network
Anglers for Conservation (AFC)
League of Women Voters of Florida
LWV of Manatee County
Indian River Lagoon Coalition
Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society (OVAS)
Central Florida Group of the Sierra Club
Indian River Lagoon Paddle Adventure
John Kumiski Founder
Agrarian Land and Pond, LLC
Zachary Marimon President
Solutions To Avoid Red Tide (START)
Marine Resources Council
Turtle Coast Group of the Sierra Club
Suncoast Group of the Sierra Club
Executive Committee Chair
Friends of Warm Mineral Springs, Inc.
Ichetucknee Alliance, Inc.
Clean Water Action
National Managing Director and Florida Director
South Florida Audubon Society
Director of Wildlife Policy/Conservation Chair
Conradina Chapter of the Native Plant Society
River Kidz of St. Lucie County/Indian River County
Pax Christi Florida
Carol Ann Breyer
Florida Defenders of the Environment
Ocklawaha River Restoration Coordinator
Pelican Island Audubon Society
Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
Florida Wildlife Federation
Manley K. Fuller President
Springs Eternal Project
South Anastasia Communities Association
The Environmental Youth Council of St. Augustine
Howard T. Odum Springs Institute, Inc.
Secretary, Board of Directors
Capt. Adam Morley
Northeast Group of the Sierra Club
cc: Governor Rick Scott
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio