We need your help. The terrible “environmental train” we wrote you about earlier this week has gotten even worse. These Bills, moving quickly through the House and Senate, seek to change over 25 environmental regulations affecting water management, air quality, environmental resource permitting, development permitting and more.
This week, not only was Senate Bill 1684 amended to incorporate many of the worst parts of House Bill 999, including a new amendment that strikes a major blow against sound resource management and water conservation.
· This new amendment to the Senate Bill, eliminates the existing authority of water management districts and the Department of Environmental Protection to reduce groundwater allocations because of the availability of water from a drought resistance source (such as desalination, reclaimed water, aquifer storage and recovery, etc.) ; unwisely restricting their ability to review and modify permits to assure that water continues to be used in the public interest. The result would allow those wealthier counties and landowners who can afford to build desalination plants or reservoirs to "bank" natural sources of water and become the major suppliers in their areas. Conservation of precious groundwater continues to be ignored. The FCC will continue to vigorously protest these blatant attempts at privatization. These changes go against the result of months of work by stakeholder groups on related subjects during the Department of Environmental Protections Consumptive Use rulemaking. We have heard that the Department is trying to "negotiate" this one. We must also let them know that this will not due, they should hold their ground.
Take 60 seconds to call or email Senator Latvala, (850) 487 5020 or (727) 793 2797 who introduced the Senate version of the amendment, and tell him you oppose this amendment as bad public policy and bad for the State of Florida. Your water and environment are on the line.
Another of the most harmful of the many special interest giveaways in these bills is a section restricting the ability of the Department of Environmental Protection to regulate waters courses and wetlands as part of environmental resource permitting.
· By defining “mean annual flood line” in a way that excludes currently regulated areas this section, being pushed by a major phosphate mining company, would reduce the area covered under environmental resource permits, leading to unmitigated habitat damage in and around our precious wetlands.
Unfortunately, as more and more gifts to special interests get stacked onto these bills they gain momentum and become harder to stop. We must act now and let the politicians in Tallahassee know that the people of Florida won’t stand by idly as our waters and lands are given away to special interests. FCC volunteers are working hard to stop these bad bills, but we can’t do it alone.
Please take 60 seconds to call your Representative and Senator and ask them to vote against House Bill 999 and Senate Bill 1684. Tell them you oppose these massive special interest giveaways and the harm they will do to the places you love.
Then email the members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Agriculture Committee. Tell them you oppose these bills as bad policy and they should be temporarily postponed until the interests of the public have been fully addressed.
Even if you have never called or written your elected officials before today, now is the time to act. Only together can we stand up to special interests and protect the best of Florida.