|Organizations and businesses demand water pollution fix in 2016|
Posted: 17 Dec 2015 12:29 PM PST
These bills do not satisfy the needs of our waters and neglect many opportunities to create water policies that serve the public’s interest. Various regulated industries, agriculture, and their lobbyists are leading a retreat from protective policies and are instead relying on the same tools that have, for decades, failed Florida’s citizens and our waters.
The letter suggests twelve key areas of concern, which can be remedied by amendments.
“They are not done yet” said Maria Bolton-Joubert of the Central Florida Sierra Club, at the event in Orlando. “The legislature needs to roll up its sleeves and get to work fixing the problems in these bills.”
The Orlando crowd delivered a poster-sized copy of the letter, with all 106 signatures, to the senator’s aide and asked that Senate President Gardiner not only consider the list of concerns but also act to remedy them.
In addition to the office visits, dozens of activists gathered in front of Glen Springs in Gainesville. “We’re not being careful, we’re not conserving, we’re not being efficient in our use of water and our use of fertilizer,” said Bob Knight, Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute.
“Some parts of this legislation work against, not toward, water conservation and protection of groundwater and surface water” said Frank Jackalone, Sierra Club Senior Organizing Manager. “If we don’t act as citizens right now, we’re going to have a bill that controls the fate of our water supply and water quality for decades to come.”
Signatories to the letter are calling for legislation that ensures conservation; long-term protection of Florida’s springs, rivers, estuaries and aquifers; and rapid restoration of imperiled waterways, because clean, plentiful water is the linchpin for Florida’s public, environmental, and economic health.
Press coverage of the events and the letter included stories by The Gainesville Sun, Florida Today, and the Palm Beach Post; TV news stations Channel 20 (Gainesville) and Channel 9 (Orlando); and post-event editorials in The Gainesville Sun and the Ocala Star Banner.
What can you do?
Familiarize your legislators and the members of your county’s legislative delegation with these amendments that address the deficiencies cited in the attached letter signed by 106 organizations and businesses (including Sierra Club Florida). The amendments are drafted to SB 552 and are listed in the order in which they will appear in the bill.
Individual voters can take action to send the same message to their own legislators: Please consider submitting a letter-to-the-editor to your local newspaper urging your state representative and senator to give Florida the holiday gift it really needs – an amended water bill. Or urge legislators to make a New Year’s resolution to amend the bill! Florida needs leadership on water issues and the choices our legislators make now will determine the future of our water resources – please add your voice to the call to get the water bills right!
1. Call and email your state representative and senator. (For contact info click on the words and type in address or zip code.)
— Cris Costello and Dave Cullen
This post rendered with LFS