We’ve been quite clear and vocal about what’s going on in Florida. And we aren’t the only ones, either. It seems until very recently, everyone from private citizens (some who don’t even live here) to A-list stars have had something to say about the devastation going on. Everyone that is, except our politicians. But something has changed. It wasn’t the dead manatees, marine mammals, fish or hundreds of sea turtles that washed up on Florida’s southwest coast that got them talking though. No, it was the season. Now that we are getting closer to election time, “politicians are tripping over one another to express concern.”1


However, this issue didn’t just start this year or even last year, but eight years ago when Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and Attorney General Pam Bondi fought a tough fight to keep stricter limits on the pollution currently “sliming” South Florida out of our state. (Just after they were all elected.)

“In the November 2010 letter of objection to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, they complained that setting pollution limits for sewage, manure and fertilizer runoff would be an ‘onerous regulation’ by an ‘overbearing federal government.’

It would also, they argued, interfere with the ability to squeeze every last dollar out of the cash cow that is the Sunshine State. ‘We are very concerned about the cost of this onerous regulation to Floridians. Businesses across Florida are struggling and our unemployment rate is nearly 12%.’”2

Why on earth they thought keeping poop out of the public waterways would make unemployment worse makes no sense to me. But then and again, I’m no politician. The trifecta even claimed that pollution limits might increase the price of “utilities, food and other necessities for Floridians.”3

Though the EPA’s proposed pollution limits weren’t strong they were a start and would have made Florida the first state in America to set limits on sewage, manure, and fertilizer runoff. And it was time. Runoff from Big Ag had already created a massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and turned lakes and rivers fluorescent green with toxic algae from coast to coast. But no.

“The polluters hired Tallahassee PR man Ron Sachs’ firm to puff up the narrative that setting pollution limits would Cost Too Much, and they trotted out various loyalists in the Legislature and state government put lipstick on that pig. A fake ‘clean water’ coalition sprung up, made up of the very industries opposing the pollution safeguards.

In the end, Gov. Scott got his Department of Environmental Protection to convince the EPA that Florida should set its own regulations for sewage, manure and fertilizer. This, in a state where Scott had eviscerated environmental agencies with cutbacks that slashed enforcement and tossed aside many state scientists with long experience.”4

Bondi and Scott would also go on to file legal action in 2014 to block the cleanup of Chesapeake Bay. Florida author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen explain it best, “Why would the state of Florida try to obstruct the cleanup of public waters hundreds of miles away from our own? Because Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott are complete tools. They aren’t suing on behalf of the citizens of Florida; they’re suing on behalf of big agricultural and development interests that don’t want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcing clean-water laws anywhere. Among the lobby groups trying to dismantle the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint are the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Home Builders and those famously civic-minded folks at the Fertilizer Institute. They want us to trust them to regulate their own pollution, and to hell with the EPA.”5


This isn’t just mean girl gossip, Putnam is running for governor and Scott is running for U.S. Senate and we’ve got to stop them. We simply cannot let them govern or speak for us, anymore. (I wonder what the trifectas Republican supporters who live on waterfront estates and coastal business owners who have been slammed with rotting dead fish, think about pollution regulation now?)



Sources and References

  1. Florida Phoenix, August 3, 2018.
  2. Florida Phoenix, August 3, 2018.
  3. Florida Phoenix, August 3, 2018.
  4. Florida Phoenix, August 3, 2018.
  5. Florida Phoenix, August 3, 2018.