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.

Sincerely, 

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

Earthjustice
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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Gainesville Sun

Cris Costello: A threat to local fertilizer ordinances

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 5:44 p.m.


Lakeland Ledger
For seven legislative sessions in a row, the pest control and fertilizer industries have tried to eliminate Florida’s more than 50 local ordinances that put strict controls on lawn fertilizer pollution.

In the past six years those industries 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 made it clear that when it comes to protecting their waterfront economic engines from toxic brown and red tides and green slime, it’s crazy for the legislature to tie their hands.

But they are at it again this year and ground zero isn’t Tallahassee but rather Brevard County where the Indian River Lagoon has now become the poster child for the death and destruction that results from inadequate water quality protection.

You’d think that everyone affected by the loss of fisheries, the dead manatees and shorebirds, and the stain on the Indian River Lagoon’s reputation as a fishing and vacation destination would praise local efforts to control pollution; especially when those efforts are aimed at cost-free prevention rather than expensive taxpayer-funded clean-up projects.

You’d think, but you’d be wrong. It is from around the Indian River Lagoon that we have seen a renewed effort by the pest and fertilizer industries to kill any sort of regulation statewide. And it is the Indian River Lagoon’s own Rep. Steve Crisafulli who started this year’s attempt at preemption of local ordinances. In March, Crisafulli called “stakeholders” together to comment on a piece of draft legislation written by industry lobbyists. This stakeholder group, heavy with industry representatives and lacking even one independent water quality expert, has come up with an amendment that is sure to be added to some bill on the House or Senate floor this week.

This “Florida Fertilizer Regulatory Review Council” amendment creates a “council” packed with pro-fertilizer 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.

There is a reason why the industry wants a one-size-fits-all model – it knows that any single statewide rule will represent the “floor” with regard to the protection of water quality rather than the “ceiling.” Local governments will be left only the weakest pollution controls with no way to make them stronger. And even though a one-size-fits-all approach is absolutely contrary to the watershed-by-watershed approach that is promoted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), that agency has not condemned the amendment’s obvious trajectory.

Who wins? Professional applicators who want the right to apply fertilizer and charge their customers for it, even if it ends up washing down the storm-drain and into everyone’s favorite waterbody.

Who loses? Everyone else: taxpayers; waterfront resorts, restaurants, charter boat captains; fishing and kayaking guides; recreational and commercial fishermen; the real estate industry; and especially homeowners whose property values and quality of life depend on the health of the water resource.

Is one industry so powerful that it can make our elected representatives and the FDEP forget about everyone else? So powerful that it can make them ignore the fact that right this minute the Indian River Lagoon and the algae-choked springs in Central and North Florida are on their deathbeds? Can it make them forget that toxic tides along Southwest Florida are chasing tourists away during high season?

We are in trouble and it is time to act fast. Call your local senators and representatives and urge them to vote “no” on any amendment that would stop the local regulation of urban fertilizers.

Lawn fertilizer’s impact on water quality varies from locality to locality. Urbanized areas with lots of impermeable surfaces speed runoff to local water bodies because water runs downhill. If fertilizer pollution is allowed to get into that runoff, impaired water quality can be the only result.

Florida’s urban communities need to be able to adopt strong ordinances to prevent fertilizer pollution because they’re on the hook for the clean up if it gets into their water. Don’t let your legislators forget that.

Cris Costello is coordinator of Sierra Club Florida’s Slime Crimes Campaign.

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20130424/OPINION/130429777/-1/opinion?p=1&tc=pg

Major Threat to Environment - HB 999 - Adopted by Florida Representatives. CALLS NEEDED to Florida Senators to Stop this Bill.




Sierra Club Florida ALERT

Senate could take up HB 999 or the 
Senate version - SB 1684 - at any time!



On Thursday morning, April 25, the Florida House of Representatives passed by a 92-20 vote HB 999, the most anti-environmental bill of the 2013 Legislative Session.

The fight to stop this bill now moves to the Senate and SB 1684.   A contact list for all Senators follows at the bottom of this message.  Please call your Senator immediately and urge them to VOTE NO on HB 999 and SB 1684!  

Worst provisions of the bill:

(1) Preempts local authority to adopt fertilizer control ordinances that protect water quality (more info);

(2) Creates wetland exemptions for drainage districts and jeopardizes over 1 million acres of land and water in Florida;

(3) Ratifies no-bid 30 year sugar leases in the Everglades Agricultural Area, increasing the cost of Everglades restoration and further degrading water quality in the Everglades (The intent of this provision is to stop the Florida Wildlife Federation's legal challenge of the harmful leases);

(4) Expedites natural gas pipeline permit applications;

(5) Limits how the Florida Department of Environmental Protection can test for polluted water discharges;

(6) Prohibits water management districts from reducing permitted water withdrawals where an alternative water source is available;

(7) Restricts how local governments deal with development proposals by limiting how many times additional information can be requested.

Please call your Senators immediately -- 
Urge them to VOTE NO on HB 999 and SB 1684!


Members of the Florida Senate 2013




Sen.

Local Delegations

Local Phone

Email Address

Sen. Joseph Abruzzo

Palm Beach

(850) 487-5025


Sen. Thad Altman

Brevard,Orange,Seminole

(850) 487-5016


Sen. Aaron Bean

Duval,Nassau

(850) 487-5004


Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto

Charlotte,Lee

(850) 487-5030


Sen. Rob Bradley

Alachua,Bradford,Clay

(850) 487-5007


Sen. Jeff Brandes

Hillsborough,Pinellas

(850) 487-5022


Sen. Oscar Braynon

Broward,Miami-Dade

(850) 487-5036


Sen. Dwight Bullard

Collier,Hendry,Miami-Dade,Monroe

(850) 487-5039


Sen. Jeff Clemens

Palm Beach

(850) 487-5027


Sen. Charles S. Dean

Baker,Citrus,Columbia,Dixie,Gilchrist,Lafayette,Levy,Marion,Suwannee,Union

(850) 487-5005


Sen. Nancy Detert

Charlotte,Sarasota

(850) 487-5028


Sen. Greg Evers

Escambia,Okaloosa,Santa Rosa

(850) 487-5002


Sen. Anitere Flores

Miami-Dade

(850) 487-5037


Sen. Don Gaetz

Bay,Holmes,Jackson,Okaloosa,Walton,Washington

(850) 487-5001


Sen. Bill Galvano

Charlotte,DeSoto,Glades,Hardee,Highlands,Hillsborough,Manatee

(850) 487-5026


Sen. Rene Garcia

Miami-Dade

(850) 487-5038


Sen. Andy Gardiner

Brevard,Orange

(850) 487-5013


Sen. Audrey Gibson

Duval

(850) 487-5009


Sen. Denise Grimsley

Highlands,Martin,Okeechobee,Osceola,Polk,St. Lucie

(850) 487-5021


Sen. Alan Hays

Lake,Marion,Orange,Sumter

(850) 487-5011


Sen. Dorothy L. Hukill

Lake,Marion,Volusia

(850) 487-5008


Sen. Arthenia Joyner

Hillsborough,Manatee,Pinellas

(850) 487-5019


Sen. Jack Latvala

Pinellas

(850) 487-5020


Sen. Tom Lee

Hillsborough

(850) 487-5024


Sen. John Legg

Hillsborough,Pasco

(850) 487-5017

legg.john.web@ flsenate.gov

Sen. Gwen Margolis

Miami-Dade

(850) 487-5035


Sen. Bill Montford

Calhoun,Franklin,Gadsden,Gulf,Hamilton,Jefferson,Leon,Liberty,Madison,Taylor,Wakulla

(850) 487-5003


Sen. Joe Negron

Indian River,Martin,Palm Beach,St. Lucie

(850) 487-5032


Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla

Miami-Dade

(850) 487-5040


Sen. Garrett Richter

Collier,Lee

(850) 487-5023


Sen. Jeremy Ring

Broward

(850) 487-5029


Sen. Maria Lorts Sachs

Broward,Palm Beach

(850) 487-5034


Sen. David Simmons

Seminole,Volusia

(850) 487-5010


Sen. Wilton Simpson

Hernando,Pasco,Sumter

(850) 487-5018


Sen. Christopher Smith

Broward



Sen. Eleanor Sobel

Broward

(850) 487-5033


Sen. Darren Soto

Orange,Osceola,Polk

(850) 487-5014


Sen. Kelli Stargel

Orange,Osceola,Polk

(850) 487-5015


Sen. Geraldine F. Thompson

Orange

(850) 487-5012


Sen. John Thrasher

Flagler,Putnam,St. Johns,Volusia

(850) 487-5006





Thank You!

Debbie Matthews
Sierra Club Florida Chapter Chair


Sierra ClubSierra Club Florida

1990 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33712