Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Legislative Alert: Contact Your Senator and Ask Him or Her to Vote "No" to the Amendment to Senate Bill 712

For the past month, Florida Springs Council, Sierra Club, and Waterkeepers Florida have been urging Senator Debbie Mayfield to fix Senate Bill 712, dubbed the “Clean Waterways Act.”  We offered detailed amendments and produced side-by-side comparisons to prove our case – the bill as written will not clean up Florida’s waters.  However, over that time, instead of getting more protective of our beleaguered waterways, SB 712 has been degraded by polluter interests, much like the waters it is supposed to protect and restore. 

Today, the trend continued; a 77-page amendment by Senator Mayfield would make a weak bill even weaker, even less able to control the pollution that is fueling the toxic algae that threatens our economy and health but more palatable for the state’s polluters:

·        It serves water bottlers by making it easier to get a consumptive use permit from a Water Management District Governing Board (an earlier version of the bill made it harder).
·        It serves utilities by (1) fatally weakening rules regarding the land application of sewage sludge (a.k.a. biosolids) in sensitive watersheds and (2) making reclaimed sewage water a source for public water supply systems without having the proper laws and technology in place to make sure it is safe.
·        It serves polluters by failing to (1) fix the broken basin management action plan program, (2) require agriculture to meet water quality goals, and (3) eliminate preemption on local Rights of Nature laws.

Once again, industry gets their way while our waters and future generations will pay the price.
Up to this point, we have been advocating that SB 712 needs to be improved to earn our support.  In light of Senator Mayfield’s latest concessions, we now have no choice but to oppose her amendment. SB 712 is no longer “not good enough;” it is now ineffective, bad policy.

Please call or email your State Senator now and ask him or her to Vote “No” on Senator Mayfield’s amendment when it is heard on the Senate Floor tomorrow (March 5).  

Tell your State Senator that it contains no positive provisions and only moves us backwards on protecting Florida’s waters. Any Legislator who supports Senator Mayfield’s amendment is voting in favor of polluters and water bottlers and against clean water and the people of Florida.