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  • Writer's pictureIRNA

Those water quality fixes we're waiting for can and must be completed

The recent editorial expressing 'impatience' with the Florida’s water quality initiatives was right on. How long must we wait to see improvement?

Annually the Indian River Neighborhood Association asks our legislative delegation (our state representative and state senator) for action on specific issues in Tallahassee. We have made some of these requests every year, including:

• Implementing the remaining recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force.

• Increasing funding for conversion of Florida’s ~3 million septic tanks to sewer or advanced nutrient reduction systems.

• Increased funding for FDEP to effectively advance the BMAP program with required agricultural participation; testing of toxic materials other than nitrogen and phosphorous, more monitoring and penalties for non-compliance.

• Increase funding for overseeing Florida’s wetlands recently turned over to the state from the Army Corps of Engineers.

• Eliminating the rollback of water management district taxes that would add millions of dollars for needed water quality projects.

Unfortunately, local environmental groups are no match for lobbyists in Tallahassee that represent the agriculture industry, the developers, and the road and construction industries. We follow proposed bills through committee, sending letters to committee members expressing our views. Unhappily, many of the bills we support never make it out of committee. This is true of the remaining recommendations of the Blue Green Algae Task Force.

Patience is a virtue but Floridians are running out of it with the slow pace of action to clean up our waterbodies. It will not happen overnight, but why are scientifically proven approaches not being supported and implemented?

It comes down to electing the right candidates to the legislature and holding them accountable for needed action to clean up our waterways. Demand that the candidates you support take action on these critical issues and commit to legislate to improve Florida’s waterbodies. Not just vote the party line.

Originally published in the Press Journal in the August 31, 2022 - Letters to the Editor.

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