Friday, April 26, 2013

To FL State Senators: Oppose the “Florida Fertilizer Regulatory Review Council”

We, the undersigned, representing 44 Florida businesses, organizations and associations, urge you to oppose the “Florida Fertilizer Regulatory Review Council” amendment language in HB 999 – companion to SB 1684.

For the past six years the fertilizer industry tried to eliminate Florida’s more than 50 local ordinances that put water quality protection controls on lawn fertilizer pollution.  

Their efforts failed because legislators on both sides of the aisle understand that urban fertilizer regulation is the only cheap and immediately effective way to staunch the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous into our state’s most at-risk water bodies.  Taxpayers and local governments have been adamant that when it comes to protecting their waterfront economic engines from toxic tides and green slime, it is crazy for the legislature to tie their hands. 

Once again this year urban fertilizer preemption is threatening our local governments’ ability to protect taxpayers and local businesses:  the floor amendment titled “Florida Fertilizer Regulatory Review Council” now a part of HB 999 (companion to SB 1684).

We urge you to remember that there is a very good reason that strong urban fertilizer ordinances are a non-partisan issue and have been adopted all over the state – these ordinances are close to cost-free for local governments and are the only current alternative to expensive taxpayer-funded clean-up projects.

The “Florida Fertilizer Regulatory Review Council” amendment creates a “Council” heavy with fertilizer industry-friendly members intent on implementing a one-size-fits-all model for the entire state; preempts duly elected local governments; and prevents the consideration of the costs (to taxpayers) of inappropriate use of lawn fertilizer. 

A one-size-fits-all model for the state is absolutely contrary to the watershed-by-watershed approach that is promoted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and would represent the “floor” with regard to the protection of water quality rather than the “ceiling.”  Local governments would be left only the weakest pollution controls with no way to make them stronger. 

We urge you to vote “NO” on any amendment or bill that would stop or hinder the local regulation of urban fertilizers.

This year has already been a horrible one for Florida in the national press.  The manatee and other shore life death tolls have been reported in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the New Yorker.  Florida newspapers and television have reported the impacts of toxic algae from Southwest Florida, to the Indian River Lagoon, to the once but no longer renowned springs in Central and North Florida – all during our high tourist season.  Prevention is the only cheap way to turn our water quality problems around; please oppose the “Florida Fertilizer Regulatory Review Council”  amendment.


Around the Bend Nature Tours LLC
Karen Fraley, Manager

Holsinger Horticultural Services, Inc.
Michael Holsinger

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Jason Lauritsen, Sanctuary Director

Hendry Glades Audubon
Margaret England

Solutions To Avoid Red Tide (START)
Sandy Gilbert, Chairman

Ding Darling Wildlife Society
John McCabe, President

South Florida Audubon Society
Grant Campbell, Director of Wildlife Policy

Protect Our Watersheds, Inc.
Helen Jelks King

Putnam County Environmental Council
Karen Chadwick, Board Member

Reef Relief
Millard McCleary, Executive Program Director

The Snook & Gamefish Foundation
Brett Fitzgerald, Managing Director

Withlacoochee Area Residents (W.A.R.), Inc
Dan Hilliard, Director

Sierra Club
Frank Jackalone, Florida Staff Director

Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Jennifer Hecker, Director of Natural Resource Policy

1000 Friends of Florida
Charles Pattison, President 

Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation
Erick Lindblad, Executive Director 

Florida Wildlife Federation
Martha Musgrove, Southern Regional Director

Florida Wildlife Federation
Manley Fuller, President

Loxahatchee Group Sierra Club
Kay Gates/Drew Martin

Alisa Coe, Attorney

Space Coast Progressive Alliance (SCPA)
Spence Guerin, Member Delegate, Board of Directors

Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee
Beth McMillen, Chair

Center for Earth Jurisprudence
Barry University School of Law
Sister Patricia Siemen, Esq

Florida's Eden
Annie Pais, Executive Director

Beautiful Ponds, Wetland & Preserve Management
Russ Hoffman

Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Association
Jill McGuire

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Bradford H. Sewell, Senior Attorney

Coastal Wildlife Club, Inc.
Carol Leonard, Board of Directors

Clean Water Network of FL
Linda Young

Friends of St. Sebastian River
Tim Glover, President

Calusa Group Sierra Club
Rhonda Roff

Marine Resources Council
Leesa Souto, PhD, Executive Director 

Friends of the Hillsborough River
Phil Compton

Florida Consumer Action Network
Bill Newton, Executive Director

Miami Group - Sierra Club
Bradley Stark

Florida Native Plant Society
Joan Bausch

Martin County Conservation Alliance
Donna Melzer, Chair

SW FL Audubon Club
Carl Veaux, Chapter President

Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
John Sibley, President

Clean Water Action
Kathleen E. Aterno, National Managing Director and Florida Director

Gulf Restoration Network
Matt Rota, Director of Science and Water Policy

Reef Relief Key West
Peter Anderson, President

Peace River Audubon Society
Larry Behrens, President
Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (Riverwatch)
Wayne Daltry