Ask Governor DeSantis to veto attack on local waterway protections

May 17, 2023

For over 15 years, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and our partners have been depending on urban fertilizer ordinances to help solve our water quality crisis.

It is well established that landscape and turf fertilizers, and the nutrients they contain, can contribute to water impairments and damaging harmful algae blooms. The health and vibrancy of our waters is key to our quality of life and economy throughout the state of Florida.

Local fertilizer ordinances are an essential puzzle piece to solve Florida’s nutrient pollution ailments. Towns, cities, and counties across Florida -over 100- have held tight to their local ordinances as a key to pollution prevention.

Yet, within the legislature’s budget bill, a line item that was added in and received no opportunities for public testimony, would hinder the ability for a municipality to amend or adopt such protective ordinances for at least one year while the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (whose main objective is green lawns, NOT blue waters) would conduct a study.

Such a hiatus would be a massive step backward. Within current Florida law, the legislature had previously determined that local conditions, such as quality of regional water bodies, amount of nutrients in existing soils, and other such factors, necessitate the ability of a local government to enact appropriate fertilizer ordinance conditions. Letting this line item stand would be a marked departure and would set us back on protecting Florida’s critical waterways.

We ask that Governor DeSantis use his authority to strike this item for the benefit of our state’s waters.