Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sierra Club Florida releases 2018 Legislative priorities

2018 Legislative Session Priorities

FRACKING – Support a state ban of hydraulic fracking, acid fracturing, and acid matrix stimulation for natural gas and oil in Florida.

Fracking and disposal of fracking fluids pose unacceptable risks to our water supply and deplete the water resource.
Toxic chemicals used in fracking are associated with serious health threats including cancer, cardiotoxicity, neurotoxicity, liver and kidney toxicity, and reproductive and developmental toxicity (EPA Final Assessment 2016).

ENVIRONMENTAL FUNDING – Fund both land acquisition and environmental infrastructure needs. All Amendment 1/Land Acquisition Trust Funds generated by Document Stamp Taxes must be used exclusively to acquire, improve, restore, and manage conservation and recreation lands. Fully fund Florida Forever! Provide adequate additional funding from other sources for environmentally beneficial projects such as septic tank upgrades, sewer conversion, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, and for water supply improvements and agency expenses.

Amendment 1 was approved by over 75% of voters in 2014; 
Over 1,000 people a day are moving to Florida. If we fail to protect our open and natural land from development quality of life will decline, clean air and water will disappear, and Florida’s people and economy will suffer.
Florida has made some poor choices with respect to regulating pollution, and with a population of more than 20 million, those choices are having a significant impact on the quality of life and economy of the State. Septic tanks, outmoded wastewater and stormwater treatment systems, and poor agricultural practices are damaging the very water we drink and that supports most of our economy.

WATER SUPPLY FOR NATURAL SYSTEMS – Require Minimum Flows and Minimum Levels (MFMLs) to be genuinely protective of water bodies instead of massaging them to allow unsustainable withdrawals for development or agriculture. Monitor how much water is withdrawn under Consumptive Use Permits, so realistic water budgets can be developed for regions of the state. Incentivize, and where necessary mandate, better water conservation.

Water Management Districts are responsible for setting MFMLs that are designed to prevent significant harm to the water resource or ecology of the area, yet their computer models result in MFMLs that are far below historical flows and levels.

REGULATION – Protect private property and natural resources from unsustainable degradation caused by pollution. Oppose state preemption of local rules and ordinances more restrictive than state provisions, such as in local control of fertilizer management or plastic bag/single-use containers ban/restrictions.

Local governments are accountable under the Clean Water Act for polluted waters in their jurisdictions; preempting their ability to address these issues puts them and their citizens in an untenable situation.
Water pollution issues must be addressed on a watershed-by-watershed basis, not one-size-fits-all.
If local governments overreach in regulation, residents and businesses either will elect new officials or vote with their feet. Trust the marketplace.

TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY – Florida’s concentration of coastal development makes it particularly susceptible to sea level rise; CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to address this threat to our communities.

Invest in money-saving energy efficiency and renewable energy systems for state and other public facilities.
Reverse fossil fuel industry and allied investor-owned utility “capture” of the Florida Public Service Commission.
Include infrastructure for electric vehicles in Florida’s long-term transportation planning and budgeting.

To read the full Sierra Club 2017-18 Legislative Platform, click here.

Contact:  David Cullen,  941-323-2404, October 2017