STC Sea Turtle Blog

URGENT! Your Calls are Needed to Stop a Monster Environmental Bill!

Florida sea turtle supporters:

We are passing this alert from 1000 Friends of Florida on to our friends and supporters and recommend you take action as soon as possible. As many of you know, the Florida legislature is focused on cutting the budgets of state regulatory agencies and their environmental programs, streamlining or eliminating environmental regulations, and essentially gutting the growth management laws that have been in existence for decades.

As the legislative session winds down there are many bills that will reduce or eliminate environmental protections for surface and marine waters, wetlands, coastal habitats, sea grass beds, and wildlife. The alert below addresses two of the worst bills working their way through the legislature and what you can do to reduce the potential harm to Florida’s rich environment.

Sea Turtle Conservancy has been actively involved in this legislation and working with its partners in the environmental community to make this legislation better. We have offered amendments to improve these bills in ways that would ensure protection for sea turtle nesting beaches. Unfortunately it has been a difficult uphill battle. We are now asking for your help. The issues and the bills are complicated. Please read the alert below and take action:

While the schedule has not yet been released, the Senate Budget Committee is expected to pass the growth management bill, SB 1122, on Thursday, April 28. SB 1122 will then be ready for a floor vote by the full Senate sometime next week.

Representatives of Florida’s leading planning and conservation organizations, including 1000 Friends of Florida, Audubon of Florida, the Everglades Foundation, Florida Wildlife Federation, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club, and The Nature Conservancy, have been consulting with key Senate leadership on growth management and have come to the conclusion that sweeping growth management legislation will pass this session despite strenuous objections. While it has many flaws, SB 1122 is clearly preferable to the House companion bill, HB 1729.

We are asking you to call your Senator as soon as possible to prevent damaging changes to SB 1122 when it comes up for a vote by the full Senate next week. Click here to find your Senator. Please ask your Senator to:

(1) Keep intact the existing SB 1122 language on the expedited review/alternative review process. The Senate version provides for fairer citizen challenge standards on plan amendments, and gives smaller local governments the option of keeping the current and more comprehensive plan amendment process; and

(2) Not allow “developer giveaways” on large scale projects (known as DRIs) to be amended on to SB 1122. These damaging amendments would allow a 150 percent increase in the size of projects that would be exempted from the state DRI review process, a 100 percent increase in the allowance for large scale changes to DRIs that do not require additional DRI review, and outright exemptions from the DRI process for MINING, INDUSTRIAL, and HOTEL/MOTEL projects.

Stop a Monster Environmental Bill:

HB 991 by Rep. Jimmy Patronis includes a series of special interest changes to 34 different environmental laws undermining citizen protection rights from polluters. It would limit local regulation of mining operations, allow groundwater contamination from landfills, and increase development provisions in wetlands. More information will be released at a 10:30 a.m. press conference called by The Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Audubon of Florida and 1000 Friends of Florida. Conservation groups are calling on Senators to resist efforts to amend this bill’s bad provisions on to other proposed legislation.

While you are calling your Senator about halting the damaging growth management provisions outlined above, please also ask your Senator to not amend the harmful provisions from HB 991 onto other bills. Please also contact your Representative to oppose HB 991. To find your Representative, please click here and then click on the “Find Your Representative” icon.