WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday announced proposed legislation for the 2020 Legislative Session that will expedite water quality improvements throughout Florida. The legislation incorporates recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, which the Governor created shortly after taking office to aid the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in protecting, conserving and managing the state’s natural resources. More information on the legislation can be found here.
Below is what state officials and environmental stakeholders are saying about the announcement:
“Less than a week after the Task Force published its first consensus document, we already have the most comprehensive legislation to protect our water quality. Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, we are making it clear that the status quo is not acceptable and I am proud of our team for working hard to ensure we don’t waste any time in implementing the record funding received from the Legislature, unprecedented directives from the Governor and now recommendations from the Task Force,” said Noah Valenstein, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
“It is especially rewarding to me, as Florida’s Chief Science Officer, to see that the recommendations made by the Blue-Green Algae Task Force have been incorporated into the Governor’s proposed legislation. It underscores the administration’s commitment to science-based decision-making in the environmental policy arena,” said Dr. Thomas Frazer, Chief Science Officer.
“We remain grateful to Governor DeSantis and our partners for prioritizing water quality and the environment through such bold initiatives. Our fish and wildlife resources depend on clean water and are critical to our state’s economy and the well-being of our residents and visitors,” said Eric Sutton, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
“I applaud Governor DeSantis’ ongoing commitment to improving water quality in our state. Our water resources define Florida – it is inherent on us to do everything we can, right now, to enhance and protect it for future generations,” said Senator Rob Bradley.
“Any lasting solution must address aging sewage treatment infrastructure, eliminating wastewater spills, septic to sewer conversions and biosolid disposal. I look forward to working with Governor DeSantis to implement these reforms and make cleaner waterways a reality,” said Senator Debbie Mayfield.
“Governor DeSantis recognizes that the health of Florida’s economy is linked to the health of our environment, and he has made it clear that the days of the status quo are no longer. This proposed legislation continues on the promises he laid out less than 48 hours after taking the oath of office to protect Florida’s waterways, and we will work shoulder to shoulder with this administration and with members of the House and Senate to ensure it becomes a reality,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO, The Everglades Foundation.
“Governor DeSantis recognizes that Florida’s water problems require both funding priorities and policy change. The problems facing our wetlands and water are well understood, and it’s exciting to see that the political will to address these issues is alive and well in this governor and legislature. The science is clear, and the need is great. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis and the legislature to make these recommendations a reality,” said Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director, Audubon Florida.
“We applaud Governor DeSantis’ relentless commitment to enhancing the quality of life for Floridians and our visitors by improving our water resources and environment. We all know there is no silver bullet to improve water quality in Florida and expediting a comprehensive suite of water quality priorities through legislation will reap benefits for each of us,” said Temperince Morgan, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida.
“From his first day in office, Governor DeSantis pledged to improve Florida’s water quality. The Governor clearly recognizes clean water as the lifeblood of Florida’s quality of life, environment, and economy. I thank the Blue-Green Algae Task Force for its bold recommendations and thank the Governor for working to incorporate those recommendations into action. The Governing Board has heard time and time again from our stakeholders that we need to do more to achieve better results and it’s clear the Governor is listening. We’re dedicated to working collaboratively with stakeholder groups, our partners in government, and our communities to address nutrient pollution which will reduce the likelihood of harmful algal blooms in the future,” said Chauncey Goss, Chairman, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board.
“We have to protect our Everglades and improving the quality of its waters is a critical component to restoring this ecosystem. The Governor’s leadership for the environment is good news for the Everglades and for the millions of Floridians who depend on this resource for clean water. I’m grateful for Governor DeSantis’ commitment to improving Florida’s water quality and the environment. Together, we can save the Everglades,” said “Alligator Ron” Bergeron, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member.
“Improving water quality is essential to effective water resource management and restoration at the South Florida Water Management District. Governor DeSantis’ action to expedite water quality improvements underscores his commitment to Florida’s people, environment and economy. Thank you, Governor DeSantis,” said Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member.
“We applaud Governor DeSantis’ leadership to protect Florida’s water resources. Our Governor is leading the way on improving Florida’s water quality for the benefit of both people and the environment. The Blue-Green Algae Task Force provided science-based recommendations, and Governor DeSantis should be commended for acting on these recommendations so quickly. The South Florida Water Management District looks forward to working with the public, state agencies, and stakeholders to supporting water quality improvements,” said Drew Bartlett, Executive Director, South Florida Water Management District.
“The Governor and DEP are firing on all cylinders, exceeding our high expectations. Funding is absolutely critical for the projects that are essential to replumbing our water management system, but without serious attention and changes to the status quo for Florida’s water and waterways, we’d be throwing good money after bad. I’m reminded of the Governor’s comments regarding the Everglades and state waters as he was sworn in this past January – ‘We won’t be cowed, and we won’t let the foot-draggers stand in our way.’ Looks to me like he meant it,” said Kimberly Mitchell, Executive Director, Everglades Trust.
“The American Sportfishing Association is grateful for the Governor’s leadership to create the Blue-Green Task Force and address Florida’s water quality issues. We look forward to working with the Legislature and the Department of Environmental Protection to implement the Task Force’s comprehensive recommendations, which will have a significant positive impact on our state’s natural resources and ensure clean waters for Florida’s world-class fisheries,” said Kellie Ralston, Southeast Fisheries Policy Director, American Sportfishing Association.