Monday, February 20, 2012

Senate moving to make water districts into state agencies - FCC call to action

Below is an alert distributed by the Florida Conservation Coalition.  If you have concerns about the legislature’s ongoing attempt to transform water management districts into state agencies to be controlled by Tallahassee instead of by board members from your own regional community, please read it.
Yes, I worked in water management for many years but this is not about me or any biases I might harbor. It’s about control of our property taxes and control of the water resources in our area.  If this bill passes, we – you and I – will lose that control which is today provided by the five regional water management districts around the state.
Please read this alert and consider copying and pasting the proposed email message that follows and sending it to Governor Scott, Speaker Cannon, Senate President Haridopolos, Representative Grimsley, Representative Trudi Williams. Their email addresses are also provided which can be copied and pasted into to the “to” line of your email.
SPB 7092, the legislative takeover of water management districts, passed the Senate Budget Committee last week. This is the reincarnated bill that essentially transfers control of the state’s five water management districts to Tallahassee and transforms them into state agencies.  It had been pulled from the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee earlier, because it likely would not have passed the substantive committee.  This is clearly a very high priority of the Senate Leadership

SPB 7092 has now been renumbered SB 1986 (a stand-alone budget conforming bill.)  So, it is now in its third incarnation of the session, making it next to impossible for a normal citizen to follow. It is on second reading in the Senate, can be amended on the Senate floor (not likely), but it is unlikely that the House will pass this bill as it is, and the Senate recognizes this. What this means is that the fate of regional water management will probably be decided in fairly smoky rooms during conference, within one week or so.  Therefore, one of the most important public policy questions to all Floridians is going to be decided behind closed doors, outside the democratic process.

Please write the Governor, Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the Chairman and Subcommittee Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as your local House and Senate members.  It is very, very important to include your members at this stage.
Below is a message along with the email addresses of the Governor, the Speaker, the Senate President and the House Appropriations Chair and Subcommittee Chair, please simply add your own elected officials to the addressees and modify your message to suit your views.

Dear Governor Scott, Speaker Cannon, Senate President Haridopolos, Representative Grimsley, Representative Trudi Williams
We do not want legislators from Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando or Miami deciding the fate of our local water resources or how and where our local property tax dollars will be spent.  Further, we do not want legislators to decide how regulatory activity should be conducted, nor what projects are paramount to us.  Local and regional government is best for protecting the Water Resources of the State.
Please retain Regional Water Resource Management for Florida!

Currently in its third iteration, SB1986 - now a budget conforming bill - awaits full Senate action.  It is just as unacceptable as it was two bill numbers ago.  The water management districts are regional entities funded by local and regional property taxes, and the Governor has general supervisory authority over them.  This is the way it should be, just as it was before 2010. 
Please say no to SB1986

1 comment:

  1. Water conservation is the only fair means of providing for Florida's future revenues, quality of life, healthy drinking water, edible fish and shellfish, and rivers or lakes in which we can swim. If the legislature seizes further control of the water management districts in this reactionary attempt to undermine water quality in Florida, we will pay with higher prices for drinking water. Besides the cost increases, further septic tank pollution of our waterways will occur, and higher levels of nitrogen and phosphorus -- not to mention mercury contamination-- will characterize our future water supplies.

    Tell the legislature that special interests need to "Keep their dirty hands off of your clean water." Water in Florida belongs to all the people not just the few and the mighty, As goes water so goes your democracy.
    J Siry