Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fertilizer Preemption Alert

Please call members of the House Community and Military Affairs Subcommittee today and urge them to vote against this bad preemption bill.  Committee contact information is below.  Telephone calls are best, but if you can’t call, please send an email.  HB 457 (Fertilizer) will be heard in the House Community and Military  Affairs  tomorrow, Wednesday, at 8:00 a.m.
HB 457 is a complete preemption bill that guts water protection ordinances adopted by 40 local governments. 
HB 457:
  • Sets up a weak “model ordinance” as the most a local government can do even though it was written as a minimum standard.  Since the weak model ordinance would apply statewide and no stronger ordinances could be adopted, water quality will inevitably suffer and clean up costs will be shifted to taxpayers.
  • Preempts local ordinances retrospectively by giving the Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) all authority over the sale, use, and application of urban turf fertilizer. All 40 local water quality ordinances adopted by officials closest to the people will be abolished.  (DEP, the agency responsible for water quality is cut out of the loop completely.)

Talking points
  • Localities have already adopted more stringent ordinances than the “model ordinance” and water quality has improved in those areas!
  • Lawns are not agriculture.  This is not about food production.  But lawns do contribute to nutrient run off.
  • The cost of removing nitrogen from Tampa Bay through storm water treatment projects ranges from $40,000-$200,000 per ton (according to the treatment method used.) Source control is the best (and cheapest) water protection strategy.
  • Nutrient pollution that damages water quality with algal blooms affects these Florida businesses:
·         Florida tourism is a $65.2 billion annual industry that generated 1,007,000 jobs in 2008  
·         Fresh and saltwater fishing generated $6.1 billion and 52,945 jobs
·         The commercial fishing industry generated $5.6 billion and  108,695 jobs
  • Lawn care companies can still do business under the more stringent ordinances.  They are free to apply iron, magnesium, potassium, compost based fertilizers, etc.  during the summer rainy season.  They can also do pest control and mow, trim topiaries, etc.  These ordinances put no one out of work.
  • Many Florida fertilizer companies already offer “summer safe” products and Florida companies have gone from 2% of the market to between 70 and 90% of the market in areas with summer application bans. 
  • The ordinances do NOT affect the sale of, plant material, potting soil, or feeds
House Community and Military Affairs Subcommittee 2011
District City
Local Phone
Email Address
Rep. Ritch Workman, Chair
(850) 488-9720
Rep. Ed Hooper, V. Chair
(850) 488-1540
Rep. Lori Berman
Delray Beach
(850) 488-1662
Rep. Jeffrey ''Jeff'' Brandes
St. Petersburg
(850) 488-5719
Rep. Matt Caldwell
Fort Myers
(850) 488-1541
Rep. Daphne Campbell
Miami Shores
(850) 488-4233
Rep. Fredrick W. ''Fred'' Costello
(850) 488-9873
Rep. Jose Felix Diaz
(850) 488-3616
Rep. Chris Dorworth
(850) 488-5843
Rep. James ''J.W.'' Grant
(850) 488-0275
Rep. John Patrick Julien
North Miami Beach
(850) 488-7088
Rep. Mark Pafford
West Palm Beach
(850) 488-0175
Rep. Scott Randolph
(850) 488-0660
Rep. Ronald ''Doc'' Renuart
Ponte Vedra Beach
(850) 488-0001
Rep. Jimmie T. Smith
(850) 488-0805