Thursday, March 05, 2015

1000 Friends of Florida urges citizens to contact legislators on the latest awful ideas from the Great Destroyers … by gimleteye

This is an important announcement from 1000 FoF. If you have time today, please call your state legislator.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote tomorrow (Thursday, March 5) on House Bill 7003, a massive 94-page water resources bill which has drawn concerns from 1000 Friends and its conservation allies. Although there are some good provisions, HB 7003 does not go far enough to protect Florida's waters.

1000 Friends of Florida, conservation allies and like-minded legislators have been working hard to add language to strengthen springs protections, speed up Lake Okeechobee restoration and promote water conservation. These revisions have not been accepted by House leadership.  While we realize this is short notice we now feel it is necessary to call for a no vote on HB 7003.   

Please call your State House Representative and ask him or her to VOTE NO ON HB 7003 because it falls short on springs protection, conservation and Lake Okeechobee cleanup. More detail  is provided below.

It Falls Short on Springs Protection, Conservation and Lake Okeechobee Cleanup

Springs Protection and Restoration
Many of Florida's world class springs are suffering from reduced water flows and excess nutrients. Significant and expeditious action is necessary to restore and protect Florida's springs. However, HB 7003:
  • Lacks deadlines for the adoption of minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for Priority Florida Springs and may delay MFL adoption by requiring that recovery or prevention strategies are adopted simultaneously.
  • Lacks deadlines for achieving water quality goals for impaired springs and restoring spring flows for springs which have fallen below MFLs.
  • Allows pollution to continue to be introduced in springsheds from sewage sludge, hazardous wastes, new septic systems and wastewater disposal facilities which only treat effluent to minimum standards and animal feedlots.
Lake Okeechobee Cleanup
Florida's largest lake suffers from decades of neglect leading to the discharge of polluted water to the Everglades, Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee River and Estuary. Florida agreed to clean up the Lake Okeechobee by 2015 but has done little to meet water quality goals. HB 7003 will only delay Lake Okeechobee cleanup and exacerbate these problems. HB 7003:
  • Deletes the existing 2015 deadline for meeting water quality standards and offers no alternative deadline.
  • Sets aside an existing rule that allows state agencies to require that discharges meet water quality standards.
  • Adopts a phosphorous pollution control program that relies on best management practices that have not been shown to meet water quality standards.
  • Undermines federal efforts to protect communities from a breach in the dike around Lake Okeechobee and conservation efforts to protect fish and wildlife during droughts.
Water Conservation
Water conservation is the most environmentally protective and cost-effective means of meeting Florida's future water needs. HB 7003 allows public money to fund private water supply projects but does nothing to require or promote water conservation and more efficient uses of water to stretch Florida's already limited water supply.   

Again, your calls are urgently needed.  Please call your State House Representative and ask him or her toVOTE NO ON HB 7003.  

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