Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Rick Scott "Give Big Sugar What It Wants, Everglades "Restoration" Bill" ... by gimleteye

The following exchange is reprinted with the permission of Mr. Michel, a long-time Everglades advocate.

From: Paul Michel
Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2013 2:47 AM
To: Diaz, Jose
Subject: Fix the Everglades Bill - Support Amendment 303739

Mar 21, 2013

Representative Jose Diaz
House Office Building, Room 400
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300

Dear Representative Diaz,

As your constituent, I urge you to support amendment number 303739on the Everglades bill, HB 7065.

This amendment removes HB 7065's objectionable changes to theEverglades Forever Act, restores enforcement of water quality standards, and extends the agricultural privilege tax paid in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

The Everglades is part of Florida's natural heritage. Help protect this special place by supporting amendment number 303739 on the Everglades bill, HB 7065.


Mr. Paul Michel

From: Diaz, Jose []
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 2:34 PM
To: Paul Michel
Subject: RE: Fix the Everglades Bill - Support Amendment 303739

Dear Mr. Michel,

I would like to take the time to thank you for contacting our office about this important issue. I am pleased to inform you that HB7065, which will improve water quality in the Everglades as well as create a long term plan for Everglades improvement, was passed unanimously by the Florida House of Representatives on March 22nd, 2013. I believe in the mission to manage, protect, and restore the Everglades.

Again, thank you for taking the time to reach out to me regarding an issue that holds so much importance in our community.


Jose Felix Diaz
State Representative, District 116

From: Paul Michel
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 3:33 PM
To: Diaz, Jose
Subject: Answer to Mr. Diaz - bad, bad, bad decisions!

In reference to your automatic e-mail response ...

Dear Mr. Diaz:

If you really believe that HB7065 will help the Everglades, you have been sadly misguided. The Florida House unanimous vote says much about the fact that it cares about Big Sugar a lot more than it cares about its constituents. Thanks to you, we the taxpayers will be stuck with more Everglades pollution and more taxes to clean it.You are not fooling anybody: history and your own children will judge you.

You and the pitiful House continuously make wrong decisions, always voting in favor of special interests instead of the general wellbeing of the public. I wish you would be better informed in matters of the environment and others of concern to your constituents and in the future make YOUR own decisions and not follow the horrendous ones of your House colleagues.

Usted no representa mis intereses ni los de los otros ciudadanos que residen en la Florida. I am utterly disgusted.

Paul Michel

From: Diaz, Jose []
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 3:44 PM
To: Paul Michel
Subject: RE: Answer to Mr. Diaz - bad, bad, bad decisions!

It passed unanimously because a deal with struck with all the environmental groups that were engaged. See here.

"After a tumultuous start of the session, a landmark Everglades bill that will fund the "last act" of a 20-year restoration effort unanimously passed the Florida House Friday, thanks to bipartisan support and a groundbreaking compromise reached between farmers and
environmental activist groups earlier in the week.

Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida, one of a pair of environmental groups who pushed for tax increases, told Thursday's Senate committee that his organization stands behind the bill."

Here is the bill analysis - please review it and let me know where you disagree with this legislation.

Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2013 9:41 PM
From: Paul Michel
To: Representative Jose Diaz

Dear Representative Diaz,

I hope you will take the time to consider the following:

Florida's taxpayers continue to fund the major portion of Everglades restoration costs, despite a constitutional amendment passed by a clear majority of Florida voters (and never enacted by the Florida legislature) that the polluters of the Everglades must pay the costs of cleaning their pollution.

The recently bill you supported moves the public even further away from equity and fairness of this provision of the Florida constitution.

Who must primarily bear the costs of cleaning up the Everglades? The polluters.

Environmental groups have been forced to litigate Everglades restoration through the Clean Water Act in federal court because the state -- over many years -- had ignored the law. Last year, one lawsuit in the Miami courtroom of federal Judge Alan Gold compelled the state to agree to an additional, required $890 million committment.

The questions we ask: who, how and when is that going to be paid for?

The bill you applaud REDUCES Big Sugar's ag tax: from $25/ acre through 2026, $20/acre from 2027 to 2029, $15/acre from 2030-2035, and $10/ acre from 2036 on. If the constitution holds that the polluter must pay for the costs of his pollution, and cost of restoration never goes down but only goes up, and the tax on polluters never goes up but always goes down: who is going to make up the difference, sir? And when? And how?
Why would the legislature commit to a long-term reduction?

As for participation by environmental groups, the record is clear. It was stated in the press succinctly by David Guest, lead attorney for EarthJustice: "We participate in the sense that they explain what they come up with." (Sun Sentinel, 8:32 p.m. EDT, March 25, 2013)

Honestly, -- with a governor who slashed budgets and science staff at the water management districts -- with our rivers, streams, bays and estuaries so overloaded with pollution --, I do not know how you can believe REDUCING the obligation of polluters to clean up their pollution is part of a plan the Florida public should celebrate.

We mourn what has happened to our natural resources in Florida. Environmental organizations you cite exhibit Stockholm Syndrome: that's the expression for what happens to hostages who are so psychologically battered they begin to identify with their captors.

You, on the other hand, are in a position to do something about it.


Geniusofdespair said...

Eric Draper, why am I not surprised to see that Audubon name in this exchange. Draper often gives cover to bad the St. Joe Airport.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Well said!