Speak up for Florida’s wild places
To the editor,
The last few months in Florida have been marked by unprecedented attempts by development interests to unravel our state’s environmental protections. We’re not just talking about chipping away at the state’s environmental armor, but taking a wrecking ball to it.
Organizations like Save the Manatee Club and other environmental groups battle daily to give a voice to Florida’s environment and speak for citizens who treasure the state’s diverse natural resources, but lately it seems our voices are struggling to be heard over the buzz of chainsaws and roar of bulldozer engines and dredgers waiting in the wings as forces work to destroy all that makes Florida unique and beautiful. If ever there was a time to help us speak up for Florida’s wild places, it is now.
Do you love manatees? Have a favorite fishing hole? Enjoy a day at the beach or a hike through the forest? Like to swim in clean water? It’s all in jeopardy right now as Florida’s legislative session rages on. Growth management laws could be obliterated through HB 7129 / SB 1122 and HB 991 could preempt local government environmental controls. The quality of the waters in which we fish and recreate is threatened by HB 239.
Aquatic preserve offices in critical locations like Biscayne Bay and Tampa Bay could be shut down, taking away valuable protections for aquatic resources that far outweigh the cost of operating these offices. CS/CS SB 2086 could make citizens petition initiatives more difficult, including an attempt to get a constitutional ban on nearshore oil drilling placed on a future Florida ballot (sosbs.org).
Another damaging bill, SB 796 / HB 613, would require less wastewater treatment, increase the amount of secondarily treated sewage being discharged to South Florida coastal waters, and allow the injection of wastewater into the shallow water aquifer that provides drinking water for South Florida and the Keys. These are not issues specific to one party or one interest group. These are changes that are certain to affect each one of us as Floridians.
Contact your legislators and local government leaders. You can send a quick online letter to Governor Scott by using the following link: org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5215/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6453. Reach out to your favorite environmental organization, engage your friends and neighbors, and help send a loud and clear message that you love Florida’s natural resources and will not stand idly by and watch them be destroyed. The threat is real and the time to act is now.
Dr. Katie Tripp
Director of Science & Conservation
Save the Manatee Club