A terrible session of the Florida legislature has drawn to a close, taking with it many of the environmental protections that citizens long ago deemed required strengthening, not elimination. Governor Rick Scott has the power to veto some of the worst legislation in modern Florida history. First: HB 993.
Representative Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) issued comments in response to HB 993:
“… the Republican majority continued its efforts to stifle the rights of citizens in our state. An amendment added to this bill changes thirty years of environmental laws establishing a citizen’s right to challenge a polluter’s permit application,” said Representative Randolph. “Not only does this legislation defy common sense, it clearly violates the Clean Water Act and other federally-delegated programs. “Just last week, a judge nearly removed Florida’s control over water quality programs relating to Everglades protection and restoration. Today, the majority has all but ensured federal government intervention in protecting Florida’s waterways from polluters.”
Then there is the budget, including a measure that rolls back thirty years of efforts to restrain ill-advised growth in wetlands and Florida’s open spaces, virtually eliminating the Florida Department of Community Affairs. DCA is the only state agency with the authority to prevent over-development and sprawl from being built right to the edge of the Everglades. A bill striking much of the landmark 1985 law passed the Senate 31-8, promoted by Senator Mike Bennett, (R-Bradenton), a developer frustrated with state oversight.
In addition, the budget includes cuts to the state’s water management districts. The South Florida Water Management District is the state partner in Everglades restoration, and without adequate resources from the state, the Everglades cannot be protected.
Ask Gov. Scott to veto HB 993
Write to Governor Rick Scott and urge him to send the budget back to the legislature to be fixed– reminding him that killing growth management in Florida will not fix the problems caused by overdevelopment and bad development and planning in the past. Ask him to also veto HB 993.