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

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.

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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.

Proposed Florida Environmental Regulation May Place Your Business at the Center of the Next Media Crisis

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David Childs, environmental law expert, testifies on behalf of the Florida Chamber and Florida’s business community against the proposed Florida Department of Environmental Protection rule.

 

Before a recently proposed emergency rule, environmental compliance in Florida was straightforward: most of the time, the reporting company notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of any significant pollution event, who in turn provided technical guidance and notified the public when necessary.  Definitions were understood, good businesses followed clear rules, and Florida’s environment was protected and the public informed through sound science.  That system is in jeopardy.

On September 26, 2016, Governor Scott issued an Emergency Rule that established new requirements for the public notification of pollution.   Under the emergency rule, the company that has a pollution incident must not only notify the Florida DEP, but also notify local elected officials, property owners and even broadcast media as well as provide technical guidance to the general public.

As soon as the rule was public, the Florida Chamber of Commerce led a coalition effort to raise concerns on potential regulatory uncertainty, vague reporting thresholds, and the burdensome media reporting requirement with Florida DEP leadership.  Despite improvements to reporting threshold requirements in the proposed rule, DEP now seeks to codify a modified version of this rule, which will force many businesses to directly contact the media within 24 hours of a potential incident and before all the facts are in.

The Florida Chamber believes that the core function of the Florida DEP is to use its expertise and judgment to provide appropriate notice and recommendations to the public. This rule appears to shift that burden and cost to small businesses.  This morning, environmental law expert David Childs testified on behalf of the Florida Chamber of Commerce at the final rule workshop, giving voice to the concerns of Florida’s business community.  Public comment on the proposed rule will close at 5pm this Wednesday.  We need your input to understand how this rule will affect your business, and push DEP to reconsider this burdensome regulation.

If your company will be affected or could be affected, please email Christopher Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com.

Rep. Gayle Harrell Discusses Florida’s Environment

“We are devastated by the releases from Lake Okeechobee.”

-Representative Gayle Harrell

Florida’s precious natural resources are just one reason why six million more people will call our state home between now and 2030. In the latest edition of The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, Rep. Gayle Harrell address Legacy Florida, a bill that helps preserve the Everglades, as well as the impact runoff and septic tanks have on our environment, businesses and economy.

“We are devastated by the releases from Lake Okeechobee…it is just devastating to our economy and our small business people.”

Learn what the Florida Chamber’s partnership with FAU to educate Floridians on the impact of septic tanks:

Florida Wins!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

 Florida Voters Put Jobs & Education First & Believe Florida Is On The Right Track

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (November 4, 2014) – Florida wins at the ballot box on Election Day by putting Florida’s private sector job creation and positive education reforms ahead of the Washington, D.C.-style gridlock, absence of leadership and policy failures, the Florida Chamber announced today.

“Voters saw a clear distinction between Washington’s mismanagement and the positive movement Florida is making with Governor Rick Scott’s focus on private sector job creation and education reforms, and voted to put Florida first,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Voters are smart, and they voted to send a clear message to keep Florida moving in the right direction.”

Voter approval that Florida is on the right track is also a green light for elected leaders to work in a bipartisan fashion to tackle other big issues important to securing Florida’s future:

  • Water & Energy – Preparing now to meet Florida’s growing population demands with a consistent and coherent energy policy and a plan to provide 28 percent more water by 2030.
  • Healthcare – Producing smarter outcomes and bending the cost curve in healthcare.
  • Transportation & Infrastructure – Investing to meet future population needs while improving and expanding major trade and freight corridors.
  • Environment – Working with lawmakers to implement Amendment 1 in a manner that doesn’t take away investments in education, economic development, healthcare and other priority areas.
  • Education – Continuing to reform at all levels of Florida’s education system to help diversify our economy, create job opportunities for future generations and meet the needs of Florida’s businesses.
  • Government Pensions – Modernizing public pensions to create fiscally stable state and local governments.
  • Economic Development – Continuing to focus on growing the private sector while diversifying Florida’s economy.

 

“The Florida Chamber congratulates Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for their victories tonight,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Operations for the Florida Chamber.

 

GET OUT THE VOTE WAS THE KEY:

“Voter turnout was the key to helping job creators win their respective races,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber’s employer to employee get out the vote program FloridaWins.org was the most aggressive GOTV program in the Florida Chamber’s history. FloridaWins.org made a difference, and I’m grateful to all the employers who made it all possible.”

 

REELECTION OF FLORIDA CHAMBER-BACKED GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT:

“The Florida Chamber congratulates Governor Rick Scott on his reelection, and we look forward to working with Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to accelerate private sector job growth through even more economic development,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

VOTERS AGREE WITH THE FLORIDA CHAMBER, SAY NO TO AMENDMENT 2:

“Legalizing drugs is not the type of business Florida needs. It’s bad for employers and bad for Florida’s brand. The Florida Chamber thanks Mel and Betty Sembler for their vision and courage to stand up against the deep pockets of billboard trial lawyers, and commends former Governor Jeb Bush, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and other leaders for helping defeat this bad idea,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 1:

“The Florida Chamber has long-supported efforts to protect Florida’s natural resources and scenic beauty, including the Florida Forever program and Preservation 2000. While we opposed putting a 20-year spending mandate in Florida’s Constitution, we congratulate the passage of Amendment 1. We look forward to working with the Florida Legislature on a bipartisan strategy to secure Florida’s future while also ensuring it does not compromise investments in education, healthcare and economic development,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

FLORIDA CHAMBER POLITICAL OPERATION RESULTS:

During the 2014 election cycle, the Florida Chamber and its Political Operation team:

Endorsed Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Putnam,

We engaged in 29 primary election races and 62 general election candidates for House and Senate,

  • Invested $7 million in voter education programs, including a TV advertisement,
  • Defeated three trial lawyer candidates for the House of Representatives,
  • Launched the game changing employer to employee www.FloridaWins.org,
  • Engaged in digital and social media get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts,
  • Conducted automated phone GOTV calls,
  • Conducted routine political polling, and more.

A complete listing of 2014 General Election Results, including Florida Chamber-endorsed candidates for Governor, Cabinet, House and Senate are available at www.FloridaChamber.com.

 

 

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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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.