VIDEO: Examining the Annihilation of Florida

Jeff VanderMeer is a realist — but that doesn't mean he's without hope for the future of wild Florida. During today's Clean Water Conversation, the bestselling author and Tallahassee resident talked with Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples about his recent article in Current Affairs, "The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy." Jeff discussed special interests that work against environmental protection in Florida, the rapid pace of habitat loss, and the expanses of Florida's wilderness that still need to be protected. Several football fields-worth of forest and other valuable habitat are cleared every day in Florida. And we have 11 million acres of wetlands that remain vulnerable, down from 20 million acres prior to the 1800s. Jeff [...]

Veto request caps 2022 Legislative Session

The Florida Legislature has ended its 2022 session. But we’re not done yet. One of the worst bills to emerge from Tallahassee this year was approved by the Legislature but has not yet been signed into law by Gov. DeSantis. Senate Bill 2508 was a toxic stew of bad ideas that sought to undermine responsible water management on Lake Okeechobee, fast-track wetlands destruction and expand the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program to rival, and perhaps compete with, Florida’s signature environmental land-acquisition program, Florida Forever. Introduced surreptitiously as a “budget conforming bill,” SB 2508 had only one legislative hearing — but generated such a massive wave of opposition that legislators amended it, then further altered it during budget negotiations, stripping [...]

2022-04-13T16:10:06-04:00March 31st, 2022|All Posts, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

Your opposition helped fend off the worst of SB 2508

We wounded the beast. But Senate Bill 2508 is still an ugly monster of a bill. And now it’s headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. On Thursday, March 10, the Florida Senate and House resolved a budget impasse triggered in part by the controversial SB 2508, agreeing to slight revisions in the bill language. The changes are a marginal improvement over the previous version, and they do little to redeem this sneak-attack legislation — which Senate leaders rammed through the Legislature with little public input. The bill still poses risks to Florida’s fragile environment. The original bill — which was proposed in early February and had but one legislative hearing — was a hodgepodge of bad ideas that would have [...]

2022-04-13T16:10:40-04:00March 11th, 2022|Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

Everglades Illustrated: SB 2508 is still a danger to Florida’s environment

The fight to kill Senate Bill 2508 isn't over. We outlined the reasons that this bill is still a danger to Florida's environment in a recent Clean Water Conversation. The long-story-short explanation is listed in the graphic above. You can find more information about why we still have major concerns by clicking here. Though amended to remove some of the most damaging provisions, there is no reason to let our guard down, and we need your help rallying others to help us kill this bill for good. If you haven't already, use the button below to send a message to Senate President Wilton Simpson, Senator Ben Albritton, Representative Chris Sprowls, and Representative Josie Tomkow today. If you've already done so, [...]

SB 2508 is still a threat. Tell legislative leaders to oppose it.

The surprise attack that is SB 2508 emerged late on a Friday afternoon during Florida's annual 60-day legislative session, prompting a fast and furious reaction from the environmental community to push back. In response to that impressive effort, the Florida Senate amended the bill on February 17, stripping some of its most egregious provisions. But major concerns remain. Even amended, SB 2508 remains a mixed bag of bad proposals that undermine Florida's environmental protections and protect powerful industries — most notably Big Sugar. If enacted by the Legislature, this bill could have detrimental impacts on Florida's environment, economy, and public health. It would: Enshrine outdated water-shortage rules into state law, preserving the status quo that benefits Big Sugar at the [...]

2022-04-13T16:11:07-04:00March 3rd, 2022|Action Alerts, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

VIDEO: SB 2508 was a “full on assault”

This year's legislative session may have produced a litany of bad environmental bills, but the surprise attack that was SB 2508 took the cake. During today's Clean Water Conversation, we tackled the details surrounding why SB 2508 would have detrimental consequences for Florida's environment, economy, and public health. Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch clued us in to the South Florida Water Management District's "unanimous stance against attempts to intimidate them with this bill," and Roy Gardener spelled out the dangers of delegating wetland “dredge and fill” permit reviews to utility companies. For a variety of reasons detailed throughout, Friends of the Everglades remains staunchly opposed to its passage. As egregious as this bill itself is, Gil Smart was right that the process with which is [...]

2022-04-13T16:11:16-04:00February 23rd, 2022|Clean Water Conversations, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

They blinked. Now keep your eyes open.

The Florida Senate didn't kill SB 2508 — Now what? The Florida Senate blinked. Now we need to keep our eyes wide open. Senate Bill 2508, pushed by Sen. Ben Albritton and backed by Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, was amended late Wednesday to remove some of its most damaging provisions. That amendment was a direct response to outrage from the people of Florida — including roughly 1,700 messages you, our Friends of the Everglades, sent to lawmakers, calling on lawmakers to reject the bill in its original form. But our work isn’t done. The amended version remains very concerning, and it passed the Senate today, in a 37-2 vote (with only Sens. Gary Farmer and Jeff Brandes opposing). It [...]

2022-04-13T16:11:24-04:00February 17th, 2022|Clean Water Conversations, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

Friends of the Everglades 2022 Legislative Update

The 2022 Florida Legislative Session has reached the halfway point, and it’s shaping up to be one of the most environmentally contentious sessions in recent history.  Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson shocked the environmental community Feb. 4 when his chamber filed a toxic stew of measures that ultimately could undermine efforts to create a more equitable Lake Okeechobee management plan. Simpson is defending the measures, while Gov. Ron DeSantis and his appointees on the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board are crying foul — which means the second half of session is going to be intense.  But there is  a glimmer of good news: Some of the legislative proposals we believe could further harm Florida’s fragile waters appear to [...]

2022-02-15T12:03:20-05:00February 11th, 2022|Florida Legislature|

Roll call: This is who pushed SB 2508 through

Yesterday, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee approved a proposed piece of legislation that prioritizes Florida’s sugarcane industry and is poised to have devastating effects on Florida’s water and Everglades restoration efforts. Specifically, SB 2508 touched on 3 main areas of concern: Language in this bill forces the South Florida Water Management District to maintain existing, overly generous water-supply promises in the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). This would lead to more toxic algae blooms on Florida’s east and west coasts. It would delegate some wetland “dredge and fill” permit reviews to utility companies, meaning major companies like FPL and Duke Energy could potentially evaluate their own permit applications. This would not be necessary if DEP was properly staffed [...]

2022-06-17T13:42:23-04:00February 10th, 2022|Florida Legislature, LOSOM, SB 2508|

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