Everglades head says public still has a chance at killing "Frankenstein " environmental bill

Fordham, who says that at last check, the Everglades will get about $30 million funding in this years budget (a noticeable reduction of the $50 million they've received the past couple of years, but better than the $17 million allotment that Governor Rick Scott proposed), spoke with CL Wednesday morning about issues about the Everglades, including the takedown that Federal Judge Alan Gold gave to Governor Rick Scott last week about the state's lackluster "restoration" efforts to save the Everglades. We will include those comments in a future post, but regarding HB 991, the Palm Beach Post wrote in an editorial today:

The push for House Bill 991 comes from a consortium of Florida's mining, paper and development industries, along with the state's largest landowners. Their campaign is separate from the effort to abolish growth rules that were passed 25 years ago. In both cases, the legislation is not in the state's best interest, but supporters cite Florida's unemployment rate of 11.1 percent as reason to end regulations that were in place when unemployment was 3.3 percent in early 2007.

The editorial concludes:

As with the growth management bill, the justification is that Florida takes too long to issue development permits. Since the state is on track to become the third-largest, and overbuilding led to the real estate collapse, that argument fails. Still, there might be room for compromise on updating some permitting laws, if this Legislature felt like balancing the needs of industry and the public. Caring only about industry and not the public isn't compromise, and isn't good for Florida

This bill could be voted on at any time over the next three days.

State Senator Jack Latvala
  • State Senator Jack Latvala

The passage last week of House Bill 991 (in just seven minutes) has been denounced in several newspaper editorials over the past couple of days. The legislation curtails local regulation or mining, weakens wetlands protections, and undermines rules designed to protect groundwater from landfill pollution.

Everglades Foundation head Kirk Fordam says environmental groups are calling it the "Frankenstein" bill, because of the various egregious assaults on the environment contained in the legislation.

But he says with the bill moving to the Senate, there might still be time to kill it if Tampa Bay readers contact key Senators- specifically Hillsborough/Pinellas Senator Jack Latvala and Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

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