Tell the Legislature to remove damaging policy language from the State budget bills

March 3, 2022


SB2508, while slightly improved when heard on the Senate Floor several weeks ago, is still an extremely problematic piece of legislation that is now headed into the House and Senate Budget Conference Committee process for reconciliation between the two Chambers. 

While the Senate passed the amended version of SB2508, the House did not approve any version of a companion bill.  The two Chambers will now have to come to a reconciliation on acceptable language over the next several days and they need to hear from you! 


We anticipate the Conference Committee meetings will extend through the weekend.  This is our last opportunity to ask our legislators to protect our coastal waters, quality of life, and local economy.

While SB2508 includes many concerning components, the Conservancy is focused on the following issues and we ask that you please contact the below Legislators today and request that they:

1. Remove all language referencing the requirement of expanded pre-funding certification for projects and operational schedules, such as the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM).  (Specifically, remove proposed language amending Florida Statutes Sections 373.026, 373.036, and 373.1501(7))

Why this is important:
This language inappropriately adds projects, such as LOSOM, to existing requirements for pre-funding certification.  Not only is this unnecessary, but it may lead to delays in funding authorization and political pressure for the South Florida Water Management District (District) to prioritize water supply over the water needs of the natural systems. 

2. Remove all language that locks in specific provisions about how the District manages water shortages.  (Specifically, remove proposed language amending Florida Statutes Section 373.1501 (10) and (11))

Why this is important:
This language forces the District to use outdated provisions when determining water allocation during the dry season, is likely to lead to the prioritization of water supply over the water needed for natural systems and circumvents the years of collaborative stakeholder input that resulted in a balanced LOSOM process and plan. 

3. Remove all language allowing public entities, like utilities, to pay for Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff to expedite the review of their permit applications.  (Specifically, remove proposed language amending Florida Statutes Section 373.4141)

Why this is important:
Allowing applicants to pay for expedited permit processing is inappropriate and raises concerns about the ability of permit reviewers to maintain impartiality while reviewing applications for entities directly paying their salaries.   

4. In SB2500 – the proposed budget – remove section 1647, which allocates funding for Everglades Restoration contingent upon SB2508, or similar legislation, becoming law. 

Why this is important:
It is completely inappropriate for Everglades funding to be held hostage and only “released” if the bad policy changes from SB2508 become law.  This is an abuse of the budget process and such language needs to be removed. 

Legislative Session ends next week, and this bill is likely to be reconciled by the end of the weekend!  Click here to contact the below House and Senate members today!

This alert was created in collaboration with Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Both of our organizations are committed to protecting the ecological resources, quality of life and nature-based economy of Southwest Florida.