Tuesday, February 18, 2020

We need your help to fix the "Clean Waterways Act"- SB 712. Immediate Action Needed!

Following a decade of rapid water quality deterioration, Florida waters need strong, enforceable water quality regulations now. We can no longer afford to kick the can down the road or implement half-measures with little to no chance of success.

Despite being named the “Clean Waterways Act” Senate Bill 712 as currently written, will not adequately protect and restore Florida’s water resources, further endangering our environment, economy, and public health.

Last year, Senator Debbie Mayfield, the sponsor of SB 712, promised clean water advocates she would “fix the bill” during a Committee Hearing on the 2019 “Clean Waterways Act.” There is still time for Senator Mayfield to keep her promise to “fix the bill,” but we need your help.
SB 712 is scheduled for its final Committee Hearing on Thursday, February 20th. This is our best opportunity to have our voices heard and FIX SB 712.
Please contact the Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee!
Two weeks ago, Waterkeepers Florida, Sierra Club Florida, and the Florida Springs Council respectfully submitted amendments to fix SB 712 that are common sense, practical approaches to ensure that it  realizes our collective goal of protecting and restoring Florida’s springs, rivers, lakes, coasts, wetlands, and estuaries.
About the Amendments:

A Total Maximum Daily Load is the amount of pollution an impaired water body can receive and still be able to recover to health. For most Florida waters, pollution inputs must be much less than they are now in order to restore the water body. That should be the goal of SB 712.

We have offered a suite of amendments to accomplish this goal:

  • Ensure that Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) include projects and programs that are capable of achieving all the pollution reductions needed to meet the Total Maximum Daily Load and account for future growth in pollution.  

  • Require each major pollution source (agriculture, septic tanks, etc.) to actually meet pollution reductions necessary to achieve water quality goals.

  • Require an agricultural remediation plan, including advanced best management practices (BMPs) and land acquisition, in areas where agriculture is a significant pollution source.

  • Require that all agricultural BMPs or water quality monitoring begin within two years of the adoption or update of a BMAP.

  • Strengthen protections for Priority Focus Areas of impaired Outstanding Florida Springs by prohibiting major new pollution sources. 

  • Increase and require penalties for violations of water quality regulations.

  • Include a deadline for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to turn over collected fertilizer data. 

  • Remove all language from the bill that promotes sprawl as it calls for septic to sewer conversion in undeveloped areas.  

  • Eliminate the land application of biosolids in environmentally sensitive areas and bolster regulations state-wide to ensure they do not contribute to water quality degradation.  

SB 712 is scheduled for its final Committee Hearing on Thursday, February 20th. This is our best opportunity to be heard and FIX SB 712.

Please call the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee -- their contact information is below. Call their Tallahassee office and ask them to support the amendments to FIX SB 712. If you are unable to call, please send an email asking the same (sample email below).
       
·    
Senator
Phone Number
Email
FL Sen. Rob Bradley (R-FL-005) Chair
(850) 487-5005
bradley.rob.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-FL-010) V. Ch.
(850) 487-5010
simpson.wilton.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Aaron Bean (R-FL-004)
(850) 487-5004
bean.aaron.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-FL-027)
(850) 487-5027
benacquisto.lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Lauren Book (D-FL-032)
(850) 487-5032
book.lauren.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-FL-024)
(850) 487-5024
brandes.jeff.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Anitere Flores (R-FL-039)
(850) 487-5039
flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. George Gainer (R-FL-002)
(850) 487-5002
gainer.george.web@flsenate.gov
FL Leader Audrey Gibson (D-FL-006)
(850) 487-5006
gibson.audrey.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Travis Hutson (R-FL-007)
(850) 487-5007
hutson.travis.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Tom Lee (R-FL-020)
(850) 487-5020
lee.tom.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Debbie Mayfield (R-FL-017)
(850) 487-5017
mayfield.debbie.web@flsenate.gov
FL Leader Bill Montford (D-FL-003)
(850) 487-5003
montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov
FL Leader Kathleen Passidomo (R-FL-028)
(850) 487-5028
Passidomo.Kathleen.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Bobby Powell (D-FL-030)
(850) 487-5030
powell.bobby.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-FL-019)
(850) 487-5019
Rouson.Darryl.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. David Simmons (R-FL-009)
(850) 487-5009
simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-FL-022)
(850) 487-5022
stargel.kelli.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Linda Stewart (D-FL-013)
(850) 487-5013
stewart.linda.web@flsenate.gov
FL Sen. Perry Thurston (D-FL-033)
(850) 487-5033
thurston.perry.web@flsenate.gov



Dear Senator: 

The “Clean Waterways Act” Senate Bill 712 as currently written, will not adequately protect and restore Florida’s water resources, further endangering our environment, economy, and public health. Please vote to adopt amendments that:

  • Ensure that Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) include projects and programs that are capable of achieving all the pollution reductions needed to meet the Total Maximum Daily Load and account for future growth in pollution. 
  • Require each major pollution source (agriculture, septic tanks, etc.) to actually meet pollution reductions necessary to achieve water quality goals.
  • Require an agricultural remediation plan, including advanced best management practices (BMPs) and land acquisition, in areas where agriculture is a significant pollution source.
  • Require that all agricultural BMPs or water quality monitoring begin within two years of the adoption or update of a BMAP.
  • Strengthen protections for Priority Focus Areas of impaired Outstanding Florida Springs by prohibiting major new pollution sources.
  • Increase and require penalties for violations of water quality regulations.
  • Include a deadline for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to turn over collected fertilizer data. 
  • Remove all language from the bill that promotes sprawl as it calls for septic to sewer conversion in undeveloped areas.  
  • Eliminate the land application of biosolids in environmentally sensitive areas and bolster regulations state-wide to ensure they do not contribute to water quality degradation.  

Thank you for your consideration of these important amendments.