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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Florida Bill Greens Lawns Not The Environment

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View David Guest's blog posts
21 May 2009, 9:07 AM

One of the most difficult things we face every legislative season is a bill that looks good on the surface but turns out to be rotten at the core.

We are urging Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to veto just such a bill, deceptively titled, "Protection of Urban and Residential Environments and Water Act," right now. This bill – Florida Senate Bill 494 - appears to do something to help the environment, when in fact, it makes things worse.

In short, the bill will make it harder for cities and counties to enact strong local laws to protect waterways from fertilizer pollution. This is critical stuff down here in the land of emerald green lawns and golf courses, where blue water is turning murky and underwater springs are bubbling up with fertilizer-laden water.

We know that pollution from fertilizer runoff is the chief problem in Florida’s waters. We see the algae growing out of control our lakes, closed beaches, and drinking water that threatens public health. A lot of Florida lakes aren’t safe to swim in anymore.

We should be getting serious in tackling this problem. Instead, state leaders are dancing around it, trying to placate Big Agriculture and golf course community developers. They get bright green grass and we get scum-covered lakes.

With the help of the fertilizer industry, state agriculture leaders developed a model fertilizer ordinance – which sounds good. The trouble is that this new bill, not yet signed by Gov. Crist, encourages local governments to adopt the model ordinance, rather than develop their own ordinance. The state’s model ordinance is a gift to the fertilizer industry and it lacks teeth.

This fertilizer bill was pushed basically to preempt local governments from passing tougher standards that would meaningfully protect public waters.

Gov. Crist should throw it in the waste bin and ask the Legislature to get serious about regulating fertilizer use to keep Florida’s waters clean.

don't leave us on the greens man

This is so sad - UNFORTUNATELY, anyone can buy fertilizer and do what they want with it. I moved to Arkansas many years ago - the Fish and Game Department as well as the Extension offices have been know to RECOMMEND applying fertilizer to the lakes and ponds in order to grow bigger FISH!!!
I DID live on a lake - NOT anymore.
How can we educate the masses, when the educated are not knowledgeable?
Thank you for this forum.

It saddens me that I can not take my children to Lake Fairview in Orlando. I have many memories of going there with my family as a child. It is no longer open for swimming because of this very problem.
So I am going to contact my governer. Anyone who feels as I do, should too!
Contact the Governor or Lt. Governor
Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Citizen Services Hotline: (850) 488-4441
Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146
[Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time]
Fax: (850) 487-0801
For individuals with hearing loss or speech disability:
1-850-922-7795 (TTY)
711 (Florida Telecommunication Relay)
Flag Protocol for Active Duty Military Deaths

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