Wednesday, May 28, 2014

50 groups to Florida Attorney General Bondi: withdraw challenge to Chesapeake Bay cleanup

The Floridian's Clean Water Declaration Campaign is working to bring the voices of water quality advocates in the non-profit and business worlds together to send a loud and clear message to Florida's decision-makers and water mangers.  The first sign-on letter distributed and transmitted by the campaign is directed at Attorney General Pam Bondi, Governor Rick Scott, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio:

May 27, 2014

Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

RE:  Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint Amicus Brief

Dear Attorney General Bondi:

When the leadership of six states joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an historic plan to effectively manage under-treated sewage, industrial discharges and, most important, agricultural pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, water managers in our state recognized that such collaborative success in the Mid-Atlantic could lead to solutions to Florida’s fouled waters as well.

We understood why some regulated industries tied to outdated, unsustainable business practices would fight the cleanup of the Chesapeake, but were confounded and outraged as to why our Attorney General would join the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Council, The Fertilizer Institute, and the National Beef Cattleman’s Association in a lawsuit against the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint.

This cannot be credibly portrayed as a state’s-rights issue, as the Chesapeake Bay states signed and supported the cleanup plan.  The legal challenge also cannot be portrayed as protecting Floridians’ interests; the demise of the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint would actually set a negative precedent for the development and implementation of effective cleanup plans for Florida’s waters.

The waters of Florida, and across the country, suffer from the same source of pollution as Chesapeake Bay – too much nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer, sewage and animal manure.  Algal blooms explode; toxic dead zones are created; and waters are rendered unfit for swimming, fishing or drinking.  There isn’t one region of Florida that has escaped the impacts of this pollution – we have the lost jobs, decreased property values, and diminished quality of life to show for it from the Panhandle to the Keys but nowhere has the extent of this water quality problem in Florida been more apparent than in the Everglades ecosystem in the last 12 months.

If the Everglades is to be restored, we must effectively deal with not only the storage and conveyance of water through the region but also the quality of that water.  Water quality in the Everglades will never be improved if regulated industries do not stop pollution at its source instead of sending it flowing into state waters.  The Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint should be used as a map for other states rather than be attacked because it might actually accomplish what it proposes to do.

The Everglades is the hallmark of Florida – a unique ecosystem found nowhere else on earth – that provides our state with clean drinking water, incredibly biodiversity, and countless recreational opportunities for Floridians and visitors alike that bolster our tourism economy.  We need to do everything possible to protect the waters of the Everglades, including supporting and encouraging fruitful collaboration between the state and the US EPA.  The State of Florida has been calling on the federal government to “do its part” with regard to the restoration of the Everglades ecosystem; any attempt to sabotage collaboration between the US EPA and another state or states does nothing but hurt our endeavors here to share the burden with Florida’s federal partners.

To show the citizens of Florida that you are committed to ensuring Florida's water bodies are clean and healthy, we, the 50 undersigned organizations and businesses, ask you to immediately withdraw the state's involvement in the American Farm Bureau Federation, et. al v. Environmental Protection Agency, (3d. Cir. 2014).


Save the Manatee Club
Katie Tripp, Ph.D.
Director of Science and Conservation

St. Johns Riverkeeper
Lisa Rinaman

Putnam County Environmental Council
Tim Keyser

Reef Relief
Peter Anderson

Chris Castro
Co-founder, Vice President

Sierra Club Florida
Debbie Matthews

Lobby For Animals
Thomas Ponce

Our Santa Fe River, Inc.
Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson

1000 Friends of Florida
Charles Pattison, FAICP

PRC Digital Media
Ray Hays

Paddle Florida, Inc.
Bill Richards
Executive Director

Ocean River Institute
Rob Moir Ph.D.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Jennifer Hecker
Director of Natural Resource Policy

Becky Ayech

Stone Crab Alliance
Karen Dwyer, Ph.D., John P. Dwyer, Ph.D.

Alliance for a Livable Pinellas
Bill Stokes

Adventure Kayak Tours
Stephen Cox

Center for Biological Diversity
Jaclyn Lopez
Staff Attorney

Intracoastal Eco-Systems LLC
Lee Shepard

Tropical Kayak Tours
Rhonda Good Cox

Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Association
Jill McGuire

Loxahatchee Group of the Sierra Club
Drew Martin
Conservation Chair

Suwannee St. Johns Group of the Sierra Club
Tamara Robbins

Miami Group of the Sierra Club
Jim Teas

Around the Bend Nature Tours LLC
Karen Fraley

Preserve Brevard
Vince Lamb

Gulf Restoration Network
Cathy Harrelson
Florida Organizer

Suncoast Waterkeeper
Justin Bloom

Anglers for Conservation (AFC)
Rodney Smith

League of Women Voters of Florida
Rosalie Shaffer
President, LWV of Manatee County

Indian River Lagoon Coalition
Judy Orcutt

Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society (OVAS)
Linda Bystrak

Matanzas Riverkeeper
Neil Armingeon

Central Florida Group of the Sierra Club
Marjorie Holt
Chair/Conservation Chair

Indian River Lagoon Paddle Adventure
John Kumiski

Agrarian Land and Pond, LLC
Zachary Marimon

Solutions To Avoid Red Tide (START)
Sandy Gilbert

Marine Resources Council
Leesa Souto
Executive Director

Turtle Coast Group of the Sierra Club
Deborah Longman-Marien

Suncoast Group of the Sierra Club
Lisa Hinton
Executive Committee Chair

Friends of Warm Mineral Springs, Inc.
Juliette Jones

Ichetucknee Alliance, Inc.
John Jopling

Clean Water Action
Kathy Aterno
National Managing Director and Florida Director

South Florida Audubon Society
Grant Campbell
Director of Wildlife Policy/Conservation Chair

Conradina Chapter of the Native Plant Society
Suzanne Valencia

River Kidz of St. Lucie County/Indian River County
Katy Lewey
Head Organizer

Pax Christi Florida
Carol Ann Breyer

Indian Riverkeeper
Marty Baum

Florida Defenders of the Environment
Karen Ahlers
Ocklawaha River Restoration Coordinator

Pelican Island Audubon Society
Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.

cc:        Governor Rick Scott
            Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam
            Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater
            U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
            U.S. Senator Marco Rubio