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Tell Sen. Mayfield to STOP SB 540

We need you to speak up! Senate Bill 540 (DiCeglie) would disempower citizens by requiring the losing party in challenges to local government comprehensive plans or plan amendments to pay the prevailing party’s attorney fees and court costs. This could be a significant burden for the average citizen, and runs the risk of scaring off well-meaning challenges, thereby leading to more development and sprawl. The bill was made even worse through an amendment that effectively greenlights a controversial Miami-Dade County proposal which Friends of the Everglades was involved in fighting last year — to bring dense industrial development to hundreds of flood-prone acres of farmland in Homestead, well outside the Urban Development Boundary. We’ve made it easy [...]

Help us reform the U.S. Sugar Program

A sugarcane field burns in the distance in the Everglades Agricultural Area on Jan. 6, 2023, in Palm Beach County. We need your help. For decades, Big Sugar has received a sweet deal in the federal Farm Bill — despite its damaging influence on Florida’s water policy and pollution of our air through sugarcane burning. We have an opportunity to change that by urging lawmakers in Washington to end the sugar program in the upcoming Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, which is reauthorized every five years by Congress, covers issues such as agriculture, nutrition, conservation, forestry, and rural development. The federal government underwrites Big Sugar’s profits through the sugar program in the Farm Bill. It's an outdated [...]

Bad Bill Alert: HB 1197/SB 1240

Speak out to stop ‘Dirty Water’ bills that would undercut local rules Today marks the start of Florida's annual 60-day Legislative session — a time when lawmakers convene in Tallahassee to consider bills that will impact Floridians and the natural environment. Communities across Florida have a huge stake in clean water. But if two bills filed in the state Legislature last week become law, they will abolish local governments’ ability to fight pollution — and inevitably lead to dirtier water. House Bill 1197 (Maggard) and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 1240 (Burgess) would strip municipal and county governments of their authority to regulate water quality, water quantity, pollution control, pollution discharge prevention or removal, and wetlands, including delineation of [...]

Floridians deserve the Right to Clean Water

Join us in demanding clean and healthy water in Florida! The "why" is simple and obvious. The current system has failed our most basic expectations, risking or harming our most basic needs. Clean water should not be vulnerable to state-sanctioned pollution. To correct this systemic flaw, the Florida Right to Clean Water movement is working to amend the Florida Constitution to include a fundamental right to clean and healthy waters, setting out clear standards, priorities and consequences should a state executive agency violate this right. Floridians must band together to demand responsible governance and accountability when it comes to our most important natural resource. The goal is steep and we need your help. More than 800,000 physically signed petitions must [...]

Miami-Dade County: Tell Commissioners to vote NO on the South Dade Logistics and Tech Center!

Boca Chita Key at Biscayne National Park on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Aerial support provided by LightHawk. As a resident of Miami-Dade county, we need your help to hold the line against industrial development that threatens fragile ecosystems and jeopardizes local water quality. The Aligned Holdings application in District 8 has been reduced from an 800-acre footprint to 350 acres. But that does not diminish our concerns about the proposal which lies in a flood-prone, coastal high-hazard zone that is currently being farmed. This area is important for aquifer recharge and serves as an important line of protection from storm surge and other impacts of climate change. The proposed project is a risk to ongoing efforts to [...]

2022-09-14T17:08:58-04:00September 15th, 2022|Action Alerts, Hold the Line, Stopping Sprawl|

Protect Martin County’s Comp Plan — Tell Commissioners to Oppose “Rural Lifestyles”

Concerned citizens rallied at Martin County Commission meetings earlier this year following the passing of local environmental hero Maggy Hurchalla to oppose a newly proposed land-use designation that threatened the County’s environmentally protective Comprehensive Plan. The new “Rural Lifestyle” land use would undermine the cornerstone of Martin County’s comprehensive plan — prioritizing the environment and quality of life by maintaining responsible limits on development. Since those meetings, insufficient adjustments have been made to the proposed amendments, none of which adequately address the concern that rural lands in Martin County will be made vulnerable to sprawl. We need your help. On September 13, the proposal will be heard by the Martin County Commission once again, for a final vote. Join us [...]

2022-09-14T16:44:00-04:00September 8th, 2022|Action Alerts, Stopping Sprawl|

One Last Chance to Kill SB 2508

Today, Senate Bill 2508 was transmitted to Gov. DeSantis’ desk. He now has 15 days to do one of three things: sign this anti-water bill into law, veto it, or do nothing — allowing it to pass into law July 1 without his signature. The only environmentally defensible move is a VETO. “SB 2508 is a grab bag of terrible ideas, destined to result in more toxic discharges to Florida's coast and fast-tracking the destruction of crucial wetlands,” Friends of the Everglades policy director Gil Smart said. If passed, SB 2508 will have widespread negative impacts on Floridians and the state’s tourism-based economy by letting utility companies pay to expedite review permits that would destroy wetlands; and preserving status quo [...]

2022-06-02T09:28:24-04:00June 2nd, 2022|Action Alerts, All Posts, SB 2508|

Help us make this The Last Burn Season

We know a picture’s worth a thousand words, and this year Friends of the Everglades has worked to visually chronicle the story of sugarcane burning in Florida. The images, seen here in the carousel above, are alarming. May marked the final days of the 2021-2022 burn season, which began in October. For the last eight months, large plumes of smoke regularly darkened the sky over Glades communities. Smoke and black ash became the regular backdrop for community and family events, encroaching on barbecues, wedding receptions, playgrounds, and roadways adjacent to burning fields. Mounting evidence from ProPublica and The Palm Beach Post’s investigative reporting, and [...]

2022-06-01T13:30:17-04:00May 31st, 2022|Action Alerts, All Posts, Sugarcane Burning|

VIDEO: Let’s make this the Last Burn Season

Colin Walkes painted a stark picture for us today, asking each of us to think what it's like to celebrate a wedding in our backyards as plumes of smoke billow in the background and black ash rains down to rest on a loved one's white dress. Though it may seem unimaginable to some, smoke as a backdrop to daily life is a familiar reality for residents of the Glades communities south of Lake Okeechobee that can last up to eight months of each year. Courageous local leaders have inspired a movement for justice to bring an end to sugarcane burning in favor of safer, sustainable, burn-free harvesting. We are grateful to Colin Walkes, Robert Mitchell and Patrick Ferguson for leading [...]