Protect America's Everglades

This is an urgent alert calling on all Floridians to stand up for our River of Grass, send a letter to legislators right now.

The Sugar Industry has launched an effort to further weaken Everglades cleanup efforts, load more of the expenses on the taxpayers, and have the Legislature attempt to nullify an important part of Florida’s Constitution. Your voice is needed right now to protect the Everglades. 

Take Action

Tell your elected representative you favor the approach to Everglades Restoration supported by Governor Scott, the Department of Environmental Protection, and South Florida Water Management District, which is contained in SB 768. Ask them to reject “Sugar’s poison pill” PCB SAC 13-01. 

We ask that you contact members of the House State Affairs Committee with a message in your own words, or you may use this prepared and addressed email* (just make sure you add your name at the bottom). The time to stand up for the Everglades is now – ACT TODAY!
 

Bill Specifics

The House State Affairs Committee will act Thursday, March 7 on PCS SAC 13-01 the Sugar industry has drafted. This bad bill attempts to insulate Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) farmers from having to do anything more to pay for or clean up their own pollution by codifying in law a dubious claim that Best management Practices (BMPs) are effectively reducing phosphorus pollution. If the bill passes, the Everglades loses and you lose. 

Even today, the flawed BMPs in the EAA allow individual farmers to discharge massive amounts of phosphorus – sometimes 500, 700, or even more than 1,000 parts per billion (PPB) phosphorus when the state water quality standard is only 10 ppb. Nearly 3000 tons of phosphorus fertilizer is used in the EAA annually, and this massive use of fertilizer is a major cause of Everglades pollution. 

Another provision of the Sugar Industry’s bill removes from law a longstanding legal requirement that farms take extra steps to control pollution if the water coming off their land causes or contributes to violations of water quality standards.  

Under current law, “…no permittee’s discharge shall cause or contribute to any violation of water quality standards in the Everglades Protection Area…” regardless of the fact that a farmer is operating under a permit. The new provision proposed by the Sugar Industry causes existing permits to become a shield preventing any additional requirements for cleanup, no matter how bad water quality gets. 

In addition to insulating themselves from responsibility for preventing pollution of the Everglades, the Sugar industry seeks to continue passing on to taxpayer the cost of cleaning up their pollution. The small “Agriculture Privilege Tax” currently paid by EAA farmers currently provides only $11 million per year toward the billions of dollars needed for Everglades cleanup. That is not even enough money to pay interest on the money required to build cleanup projects.

Leaving you the taxpayer with the check appears to be the sugar industries' main goal. The bill falsely declares that the sugar industry, which has been found to cause 2/3rds of the pollution in the Everglades, complies with the Florida Constitution’s polluter pay requirement, which says those who create pollution in the Everglades be “primarily responsible” for cleanup costs. 

This very bad Sugar Industry bill will be offered in the State Affairs Committee this Thursday is a response by the industry to a good bill proposed by Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. That bill, SB 768, would codify the recent agreement between the State of Florida and EPA on a new cleanup plan in law and help to facilitate its completion. 

The Governor’s bill contains none of the harmful language proposed by the Sugar Industry in the draft bill to be proposed in the State Affairs Committee.

Take Action

Tell your elected representative you favor the approach to Everglades Restoration supported by Governor Scott, the Department of Environmental Protection, and South Florida Water Management District, which is contained in SB 768. Ask them to reject “Sugar’s poison pill”. 

We ask that you contact members of the House State Affairs Committee with a message in your own words, or you may use this prepared and addressed email* (just make sure you add your name at the bottom). The time to stand up for the Everglades is now – ACT TODAY!

It's your voice that counts.

Thank You.

Florida Conservation Coalition