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David Guest's blog

Everglades National Park

The most popular thing on the entire statewide ballot in 2014 – more popular than any candidate or issue – was the Land Acquisition Amendment to our state Constitution. We know all too well that Floridians are perennially divided on so many votes, but this one was a landslide, approved by a whopping 75 percent majority.

Now that we've got the Land Acquisition Amendment on the books, we citizens need to watch closely to make sure that special interests and their politician friends don't try to make an end-run around the voters' will.

polling station

I’m happy to report that we got a major, slam-dunk win for the environment down here in Florida in the mid-term elections.

A grassroots environmental initiative was the biggest winner on the statewide ballot, more popular than any other candidate or issue. By a whopping 75 percent majority, Floridians voted to add the Land and Water Conservation Amendment to our state Constitution. Florida now has what is believed to be the largest state-based conservation initiative in U.S. history.

Ichetucknee Spring.

Florida has the largest concentration of fresh water springs on Earth. And, as most of you know, the news coming out of our springs is not good. Years of sewage, fertilizer and manure runoff are tipping the biological apple cart, bringing outbreaks of algae and “No Swimming” signs on springs that have been flowing gin-clear for hundreds of years.

A fluorescent green toxic algae outbreak on St. Johns River on November 12, 2013.

A toxic algae outbreak that recently caused officials in Toledo, Ohio to ban citizens from drinking tainted city water for several days, grabbed headlines around the world. For those of us living here in sunny Florida, these noxious green slime outbreaks are now a year-round occurrence.

A water plant that is supposed to serve 30,000 people along Southwest Florida’s Caloosahatchee River, near Fort Myers, has been repeatedly shut down over the years because toxic algae makes the water unsafe.

Lake Okeechobee.

For more than 30 years, the big lake that looks like a hole on the Florida map at the top of the Everglades—714-square-mile Lake Okeechobee—has been wrecked by government-sanctioned pollution.

But we won a decision in federal court March 28 that, we hope, will put a stop to it. Florida’s biggest newspaper, The Tampa Bay Times, called the ruling “long-awaited clarity and common sense” and “a victory for public health and the environment.”

We agree.

Let’s put this news item in the Yet-Another-Crazy-Florida-Thing-We-Swear-We-Didn’t-Make-Up file.

Florida, the state with water pollution so severe that multitudes of fish, dolphins, seabirds and manatees are washing up dead, has now taken bold legal action.

But it isn’t action to clean up Florida waters. No, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott have filed legal action to block pollution cleanup of Chesapeake Bay.

I’m sure many questions come into your mind, namely, “Huh?”

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