Often and justifiably, we focus on the bad guys in this environmental and economic disaster. But it’s also important for Floridians to know who the good guys are. This week we’re highlighting another Everglades champion: State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, (affectionately known as JJR).
Whether at home in Miami-Dade or at the State Capitol, donning his trademark rainboots, Senator Rodriguez keeps Florida’s environment and the challenges we face with climate change front and center. JJR realizes sea level rise isn't just an issue of critical importance to Miamians, but for all Floridians. He also recognizes that a hydrated and healthy Everglades is key to fighting saltwater intrusion as a result of sea level rise.
An Eagle Scout (well, of course he was!) and time in the Peace Corps filled his early years, JJR has spent his political career eschewing special interests. As a State House Rep, he introduced legislation to limit deep injection wells. In the State Senate, he's introduced legislation to force polluters to clean up their own mess; legislation to ban permitting of oil and gas wells in the Everglades; and legislation that would force developers to assess sea level rise in construction planning.
In 2017, when Jeff Clemens, Democratic Senate Minority Leader, blocked every effort to pass SB10 - the legislation for the critical reservoir in the EAA, one Democrat, in particular, stood solid on the Senate floor.
Working all angles to try to fix what his sugared-up colleagues had broken, JJR had to endure his party’s “leadership” squelching his – and our – efforts.
Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) has demonstrated steeled nerve in his commitment to the Everglades, even when his stance is unpopular with his legislative colleagues.
Jeff Clemens (D) showed everyone his true colors, actually going to work for Big Sugar after his stint in the Legislature and adding insult to injury.
So, there you have it: Two men, both Democrats, both representing South Florida, both espousing concerns for our environment. Two completely different outcomes.
America’s Everglades and future generations are indebted to Senator Rodriguez. We're grateful for his moxie and his vigorous protection of these places we need and cherish, the places that make our state unique. All Floridians, regardless of party, should be as well.
At the heart of the Trust’s mission, we work to hold politicians and bureaucrats accountable. We do this work regardless of their partisan persuasion. And we will never ever sugar-coat it.
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A simmering brew, almost exclusively of agricultural runoff, is pushing against the doorstep of millions of Floridians, as it is blocked by Big Sugar from moving south safely. All we can do is push to get these projects built faster.
We do not know how the Fanjuls of Florida Crystals and the heirs to the CSMott fortune of US Sugar sleep at night.
Kerry Kates, with the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, said farmers are willing to participate in the clean-up process. "Agriculture is a part of the problem. Agriculture will also be a part of the solution."
Now, this is refreshing.
Environmental officials found cyanobacteria, a blue-green algae bloom, on Lake Okeechobee that is three times the toxic level. A recent test of the waters shows 29 microcystis per liter of water. This is a stark increase from eight microcystis, which is the beginning of toxicity, according to the EPA.
A call for caution ahead of the big weekend ahead. Carolyn Fleming got the infection during a walk on the beach and died two weeks later. Early detection saved the life of 12-year-old, Kylei Parker.
Municipalities should be required to treat this human waste (biosolids is the polite word) instead of moving their problem elsewhere – like into the waiting arms of agriculture looking for cheap fertilizer right next to our waterways.
A lightning strike in the already-parched Everglades has erupted into a massive wildfire. Public safety agencies are warning about potential breathing problems for South Florida residents from the fire's smoke. Parents and pet owners are urged to keep children and animals indoors if air quality deteriorates.