Lawmakers Pass Legislation to Invest in Water Quality to Protect Florida’s Environment

By: Edie Ousley

TALLAHASSEE, FL (March 11, 2020) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds the Florida Legislature for passing a bill that will help protect Florida’s environment by making long-term investments in water quality.

With 4.5 million more Floridians expected to call Florida home between now and 2030, there is an increasing need for protecting Florida’s natural resources.

Under SB 712 by Senator Debbie Mayfield, Florida is Investing in Water Quality by:

– Collecting improved water data,
– Eliminating the fringe legal philosophy known as the “rights of nature” movement that could undercut past and ongoing environmental restoration and protection efforts, and
– Increasing inspections and investing in septic to sewer conversions.

“The Florida Chamber has a long history of advocating for science-based, sustainable water policies in order to ensure Florida’s environmental and economic future. Investments in septic to sewer conversions represent an important step forward to protect Florida’s natural beauty which Floridians and our visitors treasure,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

SB 712 also prevents the so-called “rights of nature” movement that would have given legal rights to some water bodies and give standing for nearly any person to sue an individual, organization, business or government for otherwise lawful activities.

Representative Bobby Payne, sponsor of the House companion bill (HB 1343), recently championed the importance of this legislation on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

“I would say it’s a comprehensive package that really looks at how we’re going to address nutrient loading coming from our water bodies,” Representative Payne said. “Those loadings are coming from on-site sewage treatment systems, sanitary sewer overflows, domestic wastewater overflows, some agricultural BMPs that we need to tighten up and get some better records on. Let’s face it, we know we’re at a point, and the Governor pointed it out, if we don’t do some things now, we’ll continue to have problems in the future.”

The Florida Chamber thanks both Senator Mayfield, Representative Payne and Representative Blaise Ingoglia for their leadership in sponsoring this legislation.

###

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.