SB 2508: “How could Florida let this happen again?”

https://youtu.be/QGThHiUGxMY "How could Florida let this happen again?" In an egregious display of disregard for our state’s waterways, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 2508 today in Tallahassee. It’s a toxic stew of bad proposals that undermine Florida’s environmental protections and protect powerful industries — most notably Big Sugar. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ben Albritton, a citrus farmer, deflected pointed criticism from environmental groups, including Friends of the Everglades, and many fishing guides who attended the hearing to object. Albritton claimed opponents had been “misled” about the true intent of the bill — but he failed to dispel our concerns. The video above of Friends of the Everglades policy director Gil Smart outlines several of [...]

Bad bill alert: Proposed Senate Bill 2508 poses multiple environmental threats

https://youtu.be/iLKPqfQm0K8 A terrible new bill emerged from Florida’s legislative session late last week. In this video, our executive director Eve Samples breaks down the reasons that it’s a cause for concern on many environmental fronts — not least of which is the threat it poses to the new Lake Okeechobee plan. Among other things, this bill would lock in benefits to water supply users under the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), degrading environmental benefits of the new plan and making downstream estuaries more susceptible to toxic algae blooms. It would allow expedited "dredge and fill" wetland permits if they serve a “public purpose," and would spread thin state funding for critical Everglades restoration projects. These are terrible ideas, and [...]

2022-04-13T16:11:53-04:00February 8th, 2022|All Posts, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

VIDEO: Will Florida Legislators make our fragile waterways better… or worse?

We're in the midst of another Legislative session in Tallahassee and it seems that the theme is the same this year as in years past. Despite all the water quality problems that we know are persistent in Florida, each year there are bills filed to further erode our pollution regulations and environmental protections. As Friends of the Everglades executive director Eve Samples pointed out today, for those of us that speak up on these issues, it's easy to feel like we’re playing a lot of defense. During today's Clean Water Conversation, we broke down several of the best and worst bills being considered during this year's 60-day session. We'd like to extend a big thank you to VoteWater's executive director, [...]

2022-01-26T14:04:31-05:00January 26th, 2022|Clean Water Conversations, Florida Legislature|

Friends of the Everglades 2022 Legislative Preview

The Florida Legislature will consider dozens of bills in 2022 that could have a significant impact on water quality, conservation, environmental justice and the health of the Everglades itself.  In line with Friends of the Everglades’ 2022 Legislative Priorities, we offer the following analysis of bills being considered for the session that begins January 11, 2022: JUMP TO: Stop pollution at its source Prohibit oil drilling in the Everglades and Big Cypress Strip "particle emissions" from the list of protected farming practices Fully Fund Florida Forever Support legal rights for the natural environment Stop the assault on home rule Other Priorities Priority: Stop Pollution at its source Seagrass mitigation banks - OPPOSE SB 198 (Rodriguez) and HB 349 (Sirois) would [...]

2022-01-11T10:49:55-05:00January 5th, 2022|All Posts, Florida Legislature|

Friends of the Everglades Legislative Priorities: 2022

About Friends of the Everglades: Friends of the Everglades was founded in 1969 by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, author of the seminal book The Everglades: River of Grass. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving America’s Everglades and its interconnected ecosystems. We are proud to advocate on behalf of supporters across the Greater Everglades region. 2022 Legislative Priorities: JUMP TO: Stop pollution at its source Prohibit oil drilling in the Everglades and Big Cypress Strip "particle emissions" from the list of protected farming practices Fully Fund Florida Forever Send more Lake Okeechobee water south Support legal rights for the natural environment Stop the assault on home rule 1. Stop pollution at its source. Fully implement the recommendations of the [...]

2022-01-03T13:10:07-05:00September 28th, 2021|All Posts, Florida Legislature|

VIDEO: Breaking down Florida’s 2021 Legislative Session

Florida's 2021 legislative session left much to be desired for those worried about environmental issues. Today's Clean Water Conversation dived into a number of bills that did damage this session. We heard input from Rep. Anna Eskamani (even as she dashed between our event and potential House floor votes happening simultaneously during special session in Tallahassee!), from Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters, Aliki Moncrief, as well as from our own Policy Director, Gil Smart and Executive Director Eve Samples. Each of them reminded us of the need to remain vigilant. Our voices matter, and together we have the numbers to impact environmental policy in Florida. If you missed the conversation today, you can find the full recording below. For more information [...]

Friends of the Everglades Legislative Report: 2021

We’re not sugarcoating it: The 2021 session of the Florida Legislature eroded environmental protections and failed to address the core of our state’s water-quality crisis: lack of enforceable pollution limits. The following is our analysis of the good, the bad and the ugly from the session that concluded April 30 in Tallahassee. JUMP TO: M-CORES Repeal Right to Farm Expansion Seaport Regulations Water Storage North of Lake Okeechobee Everglades Oil Drilling Blue-Green Algae Task Force Recommendations Florida Forever As of July 13, 2021, the following Legislative Report has been updated to reflect recent developments. It was shaping up as just another spring in Tallahassee. Then the money rolled in. With the federal American Rescue Plan funneling $10.2 billion into state [...]

2021-07-13T13:57:36-04:00May 18th, 2021|All Posts, Florida Legislature|

DeSantis had a chance to side with Floridians. He chose sugar.

Next time Gov. Ron DeSantis tries to claim he's not beholden to Florida's powerful sugar industry, don't believe him. DeSantis gave Big Sugar a massive gift April 29 when he signed Senate Bill 88, a measure which effectively indemnifies Big Sugar from legal action related to its harmful impacts, like the class-action suit filed by residents of the Glades communities who argue that sugarcane burning causes long-term health problems. This bill, now law, means only those who live within a half a mile of an agricultural operation can bring a legal case against detrimental impacts like the smoke from the burning fields, which can travel upwards of 20 miles. The old and young are particularly susceptible to respiratory problems caused [...]

2021-04-30T15:50:49-04:00April 29th, 2021|Florida Legislature, Sugarcane Burning|

Seaport preemption bills make a comeback as Friends of the Everglades joins calls for a veto

On April 27, Friends of the Everglades joined the Ocean Conservancy and dozens of other environmental organizations in sending a letter to Gov. DeSantis opposing a pair of bills, SB 426 and HB 267, that pose yet another legislative attack on home rule and the environment. The letter, which requests a veto of SB 426 and HB 267 states: "Florida’s ocean and coastal assets are a key economic driver for the state, as well as the foundation of the state’s cultural identity. Floridians live, work, and play on the state’s beaches and the reefs offshore, and visitors leave behind billions in contributions to the state’s GDP. Port authorities and local governments know their local waterways best. These waterways are the [...]

Friends of the Everglades Asks Gov. DeSantis to Veto SB 88

Even as we learn more about the detrimental effects of breathing in the smoke and soot from the burning cane fields, it's clear SB 88 represents an invaluable gift to the sugar industry. Today, Friends of the Everglades sent a letter to Gov. DeSantis requesting a veto of SB 88. The bill that would enact sweeping new protections for Florida farmers, shielding them from "nuisance lawsuits," sits on Gov. Desantis' desk right now awaiting his signature. The bill effectively protects “Big Sugar” from legal action related to its harmful impacts, like the class-action suit filed by residents of the Glades communities who argue that sugarcane burning causes long-term health problems. Though smoke from the burning cane fields can travel for [...]

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