- Clearly Democracy In Florida Has Been So Corroded By Money And Special Interests That Has Ceased To Function.
- For 17-years, The Florida Legislature Has Ignored The Florida Constitution And The Direction Of The Florida Supreme Court To Implement Art. Ii, Sec. 7(B), “Polluter Pays” In The Everglades Agricultural Area.
- For 17-years, The Corporate Big Sugar Interests Have Caused More Than 75% Of The Pollution Of The Everglades, But Only Paid 25% Of The Cleanup Costs – Instead Of 100% As Required By The Florida Constitution.
- The Everglades Foundation’s Polluter Pays Study, Which Only Looked At Eaa’s Phosphorus Pollution (Not Its Sulfate-mercury Pollution), Proved That The Taxpayers Are Subsidizing 50% Of Big Sugar’s Pollution Clean Up Costs. Why?
- Over The Years And, Now, With The $880 Million State-sfwmd Settlement In 2012, The Legislature Has Shifted Billions Of Dollars Of Big Sugar Pollution Cleanup Costs Onto The Taxpayers Of South Florida. Why?
- Yet, Now, After 17-years Of Defeating The Will Of The People, The Florida Legislature Is Taking Up A Bill (Sac 13-01) To Immunize Big Sugar From Any Compliance With The Florida Constitution?
- Really? Is This How The Florida Legislature Intends To Finally Implement The Polluter Pays Amendment To The Florida Constituion — To Gut The Will Of The People?
- Not Only Does Big Sugar’s Phosphorus Pollution Destroy The Everglades Ecosystem, But It Is The Cause Of Such High Levels Of Methyl-mercury In The Everglades Fish And Wildlife That The Fla Dept Of Health Posts “Do Not Consume” Warnings To Protect Pregnant Women, Fetuses And Small Children From The Effects Of This Powerful Neuro-toxin.
- Why Won’t The Florida Legislature Even Protect The Unborn From Methyl-mercury Caused By Big Sugar’s Pollution?
- This All Could Be Stopped, If Only The Florida Legislature Would Follow The Florida Constitution, As Interpreted By The Supreme Court Of Florida.
- That’s What Democratic Instituions Are Supposed To Do.
Polluter Pays, Florida Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 7(b) –
On November 5, 1996, the Polluter Pays Amendment (Amendment 5) was approved by over 68% of Florida voters. On November 12, 1996, the Florida Attorney General opined that Amendment 5 is self-executing. Op. Fla. Atty. Gen. 96-92 (1996). On March 6, 1997, Governor Chiles requested an advisory opinion from the Florida Supreme Court regarding two questions: (1) whether Amendment 5 is self –executing; and, (2) whether the term “primarily responsible” as used in Amendment 5 means that after an entity has been determined to be a polluter, it is required to pay for the entire cost to abate its own pollution, or, in the alternative, whether an entity is required to pay only a portion of the cost to clean up its own pollution.
In 1997, the Florida Supreme Court issued Advisory Opinion to the Governor – 1996 Amendment 5 (Everglades), 706 So.2d 278 (Fla. 1997). In that opinion, the Florida Supreme Court answered both of Governor Chiles’ questions. It ruled that, based on the precedent in Gray v. Bryant, 125 So.2d 846 (Fla. 1960), the Polluter Pays provision was not “self-executing”, because the Court believed that the Amendment did not “lay down” a “sufficient rule by means of which the right or purpose which it gives or is intended to accomplish may be determined, enjoyed, or protected without the aid of legislative enactment.”
Thus, in 1997, the Florida Supreme Court left it to the Florida Legislature to pass laws that would implement Amendment 5 (and, thereby, the will of the voters). The Supreme Court ruled “the voters adopted Amendment 5 to effect a change, and construing the Everglades Forever act as Amendment 5’s implementing legislation would effect no change, nullifying the Amendment and frustrate the will of the people. We therefore glean that in adopting Amendment 5, the voters expected the legislature to enact supplementary legislation to make it effective, to carry out its intended purposes, and to define any rights intended to be determined, enjoyed, or protected.”
On Governor Chiles’ second question, regarding the meaning of the words “primarily responsible”, the Supreme Court ruled: “[W]e recognize, of course, that not all of the water pollution within the EPA and the EAA may be caused by polluters within the EAA. Therefore, while polluters within the EAA as a group must pay for 100% of the cost to abate the pollution they cause, Amendment 5 does not require them to pay for the abatement of such portion of the pollution they do not cause.”
Not only is Big Sugar the biggest source of phosphorus pollution in the Everglades, but it is also the biggest causative factor for the very serious methyl-mercury problem in the Everglades. The dumping of sulfates into the Everglades by the EAA through the SFWMD STAs and also through canals and other conveyances that by-pass the STAs causes toxic methyl-mercury hotspots in the Everglades. In the five years from 2006-2011, the SFWMD’s STAs have dumped approximately 273,000 metric tons of sulfates into the Everglades or about 55,000 metric tons per year. Most of this sulfate pollution comes from the waste discharges of sugar farms in the EAA. As Dr. Orem, Dr. Naja and many other nationally-respected scientists have determined, it is the excess sulfates in the Everglades from the EAA that are causing the high methyl-mercury levels in fish and wildlife and, also, threatening human health, especially to pregnant women, their fetuses and small children who consume fish caught in the Everglades.