2020 Legislative Priorities
As lawmakers kick-off the 2020 Florida Legislative Session in Tallahassee, we are encouraged that protecting Florida’s waters appears to be a top priority. However, it is critical that these policies are implemented by strong, enforceable, science-based regulations that protect our waters from the growing threats of existing pollution sources, rapid growth, and impacts from climate change.
The 2020 Session began January 14 and will end on March 15, 2020.
As we follow bills through the Session, stay tuned for calls to action and ways you can help us protect the St. Johns River!
"Clean Waterways Act" (SB 712) UPDATE
SB 712 has gone from bad to worse due to the efforts of polluter lobbyists.
On March 4, Senator Mayfield filed a 77-page amendment that will weaken provisions to control the pollution that is fueling the toxic algae that threatens our river, economy and our health. Here’s how:
1) It serves water bottlers by making it easier to get a consumptive use permit from a water management district governing board
2) It serves utilities by weakening rules regarding the land disposal of sewage sludge (a.k.a. biosolids) in sensitive watersheds and making reclaimed water a source for public water supply systems without having the proper laws and technology in place to make sure it is safe.
3) It serves agricultural producers by failing to fix the broken basin management action plan program and failing to require agriculture to meet water quality goals.
Bills to Watch
Senate Bill 712 – Water Quality Improvements
Senate Bill 200 – Advanced Well Stimulation Treatments
Senate Bill 178 – Public Financing of Construction Projects
Senate Bill 690 – Water Resources
House Bill 147 – Water Resources
Senate Bill 40 – Prohibition of Plastic Carryout Bags and Straws
House Bill 405 – Stormwater Management Systems
Senate Bill 686 – Stormwater Management Systems
Senate Bill 7016 – Statewide Office of Resiliency
To truly protect our rivers, springs, estuaries and beaches, Floridians must demand protective policies that will:
Stop Pollution at Its Source
This legislative session, we are calling for policies that keep pollution OUT of our waterways, rather than attempting to expensive clean up after the fact including:
- Comprehensive sewage management reform
- Stormwater rule enhancements
- Protections aimed at reducing plastic pollution
- Bills to strengthen regulatory tools to achieve water quality standards
- Agricultural Best Management Practices required to meet water quality goals
- Septic Tank Regulations to eliminate harmful discharges
- Develop Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) targets that meet water quality standards that accommodates for growth
Protect All Florida Waters
Too often we see priority given to water resources in specific geographic or socioeconomic regions of the state, while others are neglected. We urge comprehensive protections for ALL of our state’s waters including, sea level rise resiliency, adequate funding for restoration projects, and mechanisms to solve water quality issues rather than just move problems from one place to another.
- Protect all of Florida waters from land disposal of sewage sludge just as South Florida waters are protected
- Adopt statewide water quality standards for toxic blue green algae (cyanobacteria)
- Adopt comprehensive and timely notification of blue green algae outbreaks
- Pass policies to make Florida more resilient from sea level rise and climate change
- Adequately fund environmental restoration projects throughout the state
Protect Our Land to Protect Our Waters
One of the best ways to protect our waterways is to protect the land around them. Conservation land provides a variety of ecosystem services including water purification, resiliency, and habitat protection. Land that is conserved in its natural state supports vegetation that is extremely effective at removing nutrients and other pollutants from stormwater and keeping them out of our waterways.
- Fully Fund our Florida Forever program
- Reinstitute of the Department of Community Affairs or comparable statewide growth management system
- Prohibit exploitation of public lands for private interests