TC PALM: 'Right to clean environment' should be written into Florida Constitution

TC Palm: Written by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch. October 26, 2017.

Just like the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution protects our essential rights as Florida citizens, such as religious freedom and due process of law. Some may argue that our rights as Floridians are sufficiently covered under the existing Florida Constitution. However, I think the definition of our “rights” as citizens is evolving.

That's especially true in Florida, which is known across the world for beautiful beaches and natural springs; the quality of our environment is inextricable from our quality of life and identity as Floridians. As a Republican and former mayor of Sewall’s Point in Martin County, I don’t think this is a partisan issue. Rather, environmental degradation is the great dilemma of our time.

Although Florida’s Constitution gives policymakers tools to protect our natural resources, there is evidence that our resources are under continued, significant stress. My neighbors and I on the Treasure Coast can see this happening in our own backyards. Last year, Florida made national headlines when thick. putrid algae from Lake Okeechobee — the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida — began polluting surrounding bodies of water.

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