Space Coast Progressive Alliance

The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 21:08

Are we furious yet?

Written by  Spence Guerin + news compiled by Team SCPA

Posted March 23, 2016, revised and updated March 24, 2016 at 9:20am
Indian River Lagoon Pollution and Florida Politics, cont'd.

Commentary and compiled news items, plus video links. Be sure to read down to 'How did it get this way?' about how Florida thwarted EPA plan to fight Florida pollution.
Cover photo courtesy of Alex Gorichky, a local fishing guide.
-- SCPA Editor


Opinion / Commentary*

Are we furious yet?
by Spence Guerin

It seems clear that our dying lagoon will be restored only if and when The People DEMAND it.

Can we finally proceed to elect people to public office who will take the action necessary to restore the Indian River Lagoon and other polluted waters across Florida?

Or will we re-elect the same legislators who have NOT taken appropriate action to restore the lagoon, and have undermined funding of Amendment 1, and have even acted to prevent EPA plans to fight Florida pollution? Will we re-elect Congressmen who vote AGAINST Clean Water Act and try to shut down the EPA?

Jim Waymer of Florida Today advises that the legislature has provided '$72 million in restoration money' for the lagoon over the past three years. That's about $24 million per year.

In the last three years, requests for septic tank studies have gone unfunded. Dredging muck won't stop the root cause of muck. Spending a million bucks planting live oysters in polluted water is, uh, circumventing the root causes of the pollution problems.

Given the dire circumstances of the polluted lagoon, at a time when the state has a declared surplus of several hundred million dollars this year alone, would you say $24 million for lagoon restoration effort is way too little trickle, and maybe too late?

QUESTION: If a healthy Indian River Lagoon contributes $3.4 BILLION per year to the lagoon region, how much should Floridians invest in lagoon restoration this year? Wouldn't YOU invest more than $24 million in restoration if YOU had a $3.4 BILLION cash cow to get well? Should we invest a couple hundred million this year, and every year to restore the lagoon as fast as possible before it's too late?

Put another way: Even if you had to borrow -- let's say $200 million for urgent action -- would you do it not to risk losing your $3.4 BILLION cash cow? Our cash cow is dying and needs urgent veterinary care.

Keep in mind, if deterioration continues, the lagoon is in danger of 'flipping to an algae pond.' And if that happens, we can kiss goodbye the beneficial Indian River Lagoon Estuary of National Significance. And kiss goodbye the $3.4 billion annual gift derived from a healthy lagoon.

Though lagoon science studies have been unfunded, underfunded and even vetoed, we do know the problems have to do with septic tanks -- more than 90,000 in Brevard County and we don't even know where they all are -- lawn fertilizers and chemical poisons runoff into ditches into canals into the lagoon, agriculture runoff in canals into the lagoon, stormwater runoff, and insufficient state-of-the-art sewage treatment.

After 50 years of neglect -- and undermining EPA plans to fight Florida pollution (see below) -- the restoration cost is now huge.

A 2013 EPA plan estimated it would take $44 to $108 annually per household for improvements directly effecting the lagoon. The plan was scuttled by Florida business interests. See 'How did it get this way?' below.

Makes you wonder, what if? Would the chances of lagoon recovery have been dramatically improved? Undoubtedly.

We have a serious problem in the lagoon, and efforts to restore the lagoon are pitifully insufficient.

ARE WE ANGRY ENOUGH YET to, at long last, achieve:
- funding septic tanks studies along the lagoon? (What? Curtail development?)
- septic tanks inspections!
- removal of septic tanks that pollute
- sewage treatment plant upgrades to state of the art?
- NO new subdivisions without proper sewage treatment plants!
- no more septic tanks -- period!
- no fertilizer with phosphorous and a minimum of 50% slow release nitrogen
- EPA enforcement of Clean Water Standards!
- UNelection of legislators who fail to act for Greater Public Interest -- lagoon restoration
- election of people who will act for the Greater Public Interest -- lagoon restoration + more

Let us hope it's not too little, too late.

Spence Guerin is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance, grew up in Melbourne and remembers a time when, under a lantern at night along the causeway, the waters were abundantly alive with fishes of many kinds, shrimp and crabs, and oysters were gathered at the mouth of Crane Creek.

*ED. NOTE: The views expressed here are solely those of the author. SCPA does not endorse candidates and welcomes commentary on a wide range of issues, including political campaigns, local, regional and national. If interested in contributing commentary, contact SCPA, please click here.



On Florida’s massive fish kills, there is no mystery who is responsible: voters did it

HUFFPOST POLITICS, by Alan Farago, President, Friends of the Everglades
March 23, 2016


...The mainstream media are filled with talking points like this: “State wild officials could not pinpoint the reason for the deaths of the fish recently.” Bullshit. The massive, horrendous, shocking and sad fish kills happening in and around the Indian River Lagoon represent the political corruption infecting the state of Florida.

Here are a few examples: regulations to provide numerical standards for mercury and sulfates in Florida waters? Never happened.

Regulation to allow local government to stop phosphorous and nitrogen pollution in Florida waters? State legislature and Gov. Rick Scott voted, no. Protection of coastlines from massive overdevelopment? Absolutely not. Support for the U.S. EPA to regulate contaminants and enforce against violations in Florida? No.

Blame the Florida legislature, its leaders like Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, Florida Representative Matt Caldwell, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Senator Joe Negron, to start. Blame the most clueless, radical governor in Florida history — the anti-people governor Rick Scott who never addressed a problem that he couldn’t visualize from 30,000 feet in his private jet, or, if he did then just slammed the window shades shut.

There is no need for science to tell us what’s wrong with Florida’s waterways and the cascade of destruction from Florida Bay stretching north along both coasts. We know exactly what is wrong: voters who don’t care, don’t vote, or vote for candidates and incumbents who represent institutionalized corruption.

Who is responsible for the tragedy of Florida waters? Voters who keep returning to office at the county, state and federal level, politicians who are paid to misrepresent the truth. Voters who elect politicians in the pocket of powerful industries and trade associations that routinely make a mockery of democratic processes: Associated Industries of Florida, run by former Jeb Bush ally Tom Feeney, spewing dark money into negative advertising like algae blooms. The Florida Chamber of Commerce. The Florida Farm Bureau. In 2013, 58 business organizations in the state of Florida signed a letter to the US Congress against the EPA’s regulation of nitrogen and phosphorous contaminating state waterways. Killing off the EPA itself is a central platform of the GOP.

Every dead fish in Brevard County should be picked up and deposited on the doorsteps of citizens and taxpayers who did not vote, who voted for politicians funded by special interests like Big Sugar, who voted for elected officials who refused to make government work to protect rivers and waterways through tough pollution standards. One dead fish for every lobbyist in Tallahassee and two dead fish for every voter who supported elected officials who tolerate the revolving door between government regulators and the regulated. Three dead fish for every member of the governing board of the state’s water management districts, and four dead fish for every voter who returned to office the governor who put those governing board members in place. ...



VIDEO: Dead and dying fish, crabs, sting rays, shrimp… Massive die off…

Two 3 min. videos by Jonathan Whipple


Dead fish causing dread
TC Palm by Ed Killer, March 22, 2016


PHOTOS: Thousands of dead fish
News 13



In 2013, the federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed a Florida plan to fight nitrogen and phosphorus pollution -- pollutants from sewage, lawn fertilizers, farms and other sources. Each Florida household would pay an estimated $44 to $108 per year for sewage plant upgrades, stormwater management and septic system improvements. But -- guess what? -- Florida's 'business community and local governments' said the EPA proposal went too far, and 58 organizations representing Florida industry complained the pollution limits would 'impose burdensome costs while not improving environmental protection.'


Rubio plans to fight EPA water regulations for Florida
Tampa Bay Times, by Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief, March 2, 2011

Sen. Marco Rubio is planning to try to insert a measure in the forthcoming budget resolution that would bar the EPA from implementing water pollution rules that business groups in Florida oppose.

The move, certain to draw criticism from environmentalists, mirrors an effort by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta. The rules are the product of contentious legal battle in Florida in which the EPA agreed to set new limits on how much nutrient pollution is allowed into waterways. Critics say the regulations will be too costly. Even Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has worked to get the EPA to hold off. …


Editorial: The Florida Legislature's Amendment 1 fraud
Tampa Bay Times, June 17, 2015


Brazen theft of our Amendment 1 bucks
Carl Hiaasen, September 26, 2015



Photo of dead fish by fishing guide Alex Gorichky. Compiled by Team SCPA


Last modified on Sunday, 15 May 2016 08:36
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