No legislative body has greater control over the health of Florida’s environment than the Florida Legislature. As lawmakers pass the midpoint of their 60-day session in Tallahassee, we offer the following analysis of key bills and pressure points impacting the Greater Everglades. JUMP TO: M-CORES Repeal Everglades Oil Drilling Water Storage North of Lake Okeechobee Right to Farm Expansion Blue-Green Algae Task Force Recommendations Seaport Regulations Florida Forever It was a frightening and symbolic moment. Along Florida’s Gulf Coast on April 3, mobile phones rattled with a dire warning: Piney Point was in danger of imminent collapse. So far the radioactive phosphogypsum stack at the former fertilizer plant in Manatee County has not given way. But that’s only because workers [...]
When does the "right to farm" become the "right to harm”? On Tuesday the Florida House of Representatives' Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee voted 14-4 to advance HB 1601, which ostensibly seeks to boost agri-tourism and protect farmers from newcomers who want to curtail farm operations. But we believe the effect of the bill will be to disenfranchise the already disenfranchised, like those who live near sugar fields and find themselves hacking and wheezing when smoke from the burning cane wafts in their direction. The bill curtails their ability to sue, requiring they live within 1/2 mile of the farm in question to file a nuisance action. It also raises the burden of proof, limits damages and requires plaintiffs who [...]
Statement from Eve Samples, executive director of Friends of the Everglades, on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of the Clean Waterways Act (Senate Bill 712) on June 30, 2020: “The Clean Waterways Act is incrementalism at best. It does too little to curtail polluters, and too little to protect Floridians from the harmful effects of toxic algae blooms that have devastating effects on human health and the state’s economy. What’s worse: The bill was amended to preempt local governments from passing ‘Rights of Nature’ initiatives that could have empowered citizens to protect the natural ecosystems in their own communities. Senate Bill 712 does some incremental good by tightening up rules and penalties for septic and sewer systems — but it falls [...]
Friends of the Everglades submitted the following letter to Congress to express our support for a provision in the Water Resources Development Act that would prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from discharging Lake Okeechobee water into the St. Lucie Estuary when levels of microcystin exceed 8 micrograms per liter.
Congress must reject 20-year-old water promises to protect future of Lake Okeechobee, estuaries & Everglades
The following letter was sent by Friends of the Everglades to all Florida congressional offices requesting their rejection of the intentionally manipulative language additions that would ultimately prioritize the water supply needs for large industrial farms south of Lake Okeechobee over the health of residents living along toxic-algae plagued waterways. April 29, 2020 To the members of Florida's congressional delegation: On behalf of Friends of the Everglades, I’m writing to voice our concerns about an effort to manipulate this year’s Water Resources & Development Act (WRDA) in a manner that would be detrimental to the Everglades, the northern estuaries and Florida Bay. In an email sent Tuesday, April 28, Rep. Alcee Hastings’ staff requested other representatives sign onto a letter [...]