Everglades restoration efforts in jeopardy
Bill amendments are under review. The Conservancy will provide an update on our position once completed.
As the Florida Legislature passes the halfway mark for the 2022 Session, an egregious bill targeting the protection of Florida’s water resources has emerged and is swiftly moving through the Senate. This is one of the most concerning bills the Conservancy has ever seen in regards to reversing efforts to protect coastal waters. It must be stopped.
SB2508 is being rammed through the legislative process without proper public review. With only one committee stop last week, and clear opposition from Governor DeSantis, the South Florida Water Management District, business leaders, anglers, and the entire environmental community, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved SB2508. Its next stop is the Senate floor this week.
Why is SB2508 so concerning?
- It is an end-run around the regular legislative process and deliberately designed to prevent public comments and review.
- SB 2508 seeks to undermine years of work with all stakeholders involved to achieve a balanced plan for the future management of Lake Okeechobee the process known as LOSOM (Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual).
- This bill will allow public entities, including utilities, to contribute funding to state permitting agencies to expedite the processing of their environmental resource and Clean Water Act Section 404 permit applications. This is problematic because the regulated community should not be allowed to pay an agency to fast-track permit reviews.
- SB2508 modifies how the state funds Everglades Restoration projects, potentially allowing questionable projects, such as Aquifer Storage and Recovery north of the lake, to compete for funding with essential projects such as the EAA Reservoir.
SB2508 has only one more stop in the Senate!
Unfortunately, our local Senator, Kathleen Passidomo, voted in favor of this destructive bill last week at the Appropriations Committee hearing. This is despite the fact that she is the Chair of the Florida Senate Rules Committee and understands that a budget conforming bill that really re-writes policy, should never have been allowed to have advanced in the Senate without appropriate review and related committee stops.