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    FLORIDA TODAY: Moncrief: Florida waters to decline under new law

    Florida Today: Written by Aliki Moncrief. August 28, 2017. In the early weeks of the 2016 Florida Legislative Session, lawmakers passed a massive bill touted as “comprehensive” water policy. But, at a time when Florida needed robust and aggressive protections of our imperiled waters, Senate Bill 552 fell far short of meeting our current and future needs. It may seem obvious, but the best way to safeguard our waters from fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, and other agricultural pollution is to require polluting farms to meet water quality standards. That used to be the case for agricultural operations in the Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Caloosahatchee watersheds. Under the new law, polluting farms are presumed to meet water quality standards by merely following Best Management Practices (such as building fences to keep animals out of streams and lakes). The bill does not require monitoring or inspections and instead focuses on what amounts to voluntary pollution control strategies. The Legislature has systematically for nearly a decade cut staff and reduced resources available to the agencies tasked with safeguarding our water supply and preventing pollution. Inspections and enforcement of pollution standards have dropped dramatically. The 2016 water bill puts Florida farther down a path of replacing actual pollution limits with an honor code. Continue reading "Moncrief: Florida waters to decline under new law"
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    POLITICAL OBSERVER: Chris King Will not Accept Campaign Money from Sugar Industry

    Political Observer: Written by Kathrine Conroy. August 28, 2017. Chris King, Democratic candidate for Governor, stated his opposition to Speaker Corcoran’s proposal calling for a ballot measure to end partial public funding for political campaigns: “Speaker Corcoran recently called for another ballot measure to stop partial public financing of political campaigns. I oppose Corcoran’s proposal because we need to curb the outsized influence of special interests in our politics, and his proposal makes it more likely to do just the opposite. I believe elections should reflect the will of the people, not special interests, which is why I’ve pledged to not accept any campaign contributions from the sugar industry.” Money is power, and “Big Sugar” has plenty of it. Alan Farago, president of Friends of the Everglades, says “There is simply no way for the environmental community or for the public interest to be adequately represented.” This power goes all the way down to the water management districts: “There is virtually no piece of Everglades restoration that can proceed without the sugar industry’s consent. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that the entire Everglades restoration effort is a workaround of Big Sugar.” Continue reading "Chris King Will not Accept Campaign Money from Sugar Industry"
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