The Legislature ignored the environmental community and passed a bad bill, HB 7043, which places Florida’s wetlands at risk. The bill begins the process of delegating federal wetlands permitting and enforcement authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to the State of Florida. Now HB 7043 is on the way to the Governor’s office.
We need your help! Please call Governor Scott at (850) 488 – 4441 right now and leave a message asking him to VETO HB 7043. Let’s flood Governor Scott’s office with phone calls to show the Governor how much Floridians care about our wetlands and let him know we’re watching to see if he’ll make the right decision for Florida’s waters, wildlife, and way of life!
- State assumption of the 404 wetlands permitting program will likely result in weakened protections for Florida’s wetlands. The State is incapable of duplicating protective processes required by federal laws like review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
- In most cases, wetlands will lose the benefit of having federal experts, from multiple agencies, review and negotiate 404 permits in Florida.
- The budget for Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection was slashed by 25% last year. The federal government will not give Florida funds for implementation of the 404 program, and the State does not plan to charge applicants additional fees for 404 permits. The state’s unwillingness to obtain additional financial resources to train and staff a new program responsible for permitting large landscape conversion projects, such as housing developments and sprawling phosphate mines, does not indicate a desire to give 404 permit applications the time and attention they deserve.
- Wetlands protect our drinking water supply and clean the water in our lakes, rivers, and springs.
- Wetlands provide significant flood protection, and the loss of additional wetlands will only worsen the negative effects on our communities from future flooding events.
- Wetlands provide habitat for many of the state’s imperiled species from the Everglades Snail Kite to the Florida panther.
- Protecting wetlands is far cheaper than constructing water treatment plants or water storage reservoirs to replicate the services Florida’s wetlands provide naturally.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce and other development and industry groups are pushing HB 7043 hard. But our wetlands are too important to fast-track their destruction. Please let Governor Scott know why you oppose HB 7043 and ask him to veto the bill.
Thank you for your time and your advocacy!