Clean water is essential for the health of every Floridian – and for the health of our precious environment. But it’s also essential for a healthy economy. We’ve seen the economic and environmental devastation when our elected leaders look the other way and let special interests pollute our water. And then Floridians pay the price. With Red Tide once again hitting the state’s Gulf Coast and with Blue-Green Algae choking Lake
Okeechobee and threatening coastal communities, our economy, our jobs, and our way of life are at stake. The Crist administration will make it a top priority to ensure our water is clean for all Floridians.
REDUCE THE RUN-OFF
- Pollutants from farms and ranches such as fertilizers, manure and pesticides harm drinking water, kill fish and trigger algae blooms.
- The Crist administration will strengthen regulations regarding run-off from agricultural lands.
- The Crist administration will strengthen “best management practices’’ for agricultural lands to reduce runoff and water use.
- As governor, Crist will oppose state preemption over local control of environmental issues and the retail sale of fertilizer.
- As governor, Crist will push for incentives for homeowners to create Florida- friendly landscaping that uses less water and requires less fertilizer and herbicide, which feed algae blooms and kill our seagrasses.
IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM TASK FORCE
- Red Tide causes $20 million in tourism-related losses each year in Florida.
- Now Red Tide is wreaking havoc again. The city of St. Petersburg – Crist’s hometown – picked up 9 tons of dead fish in 24 hours.
- Red Tide also forces us to stop the harvesting of oysters, clams and scallops.
- Red Tide has been found this month from Pasco to Sarasota counties, irritating the eyes and respiratory systems of Floridians and tourists.
- Florida’s Harmful Algal Bloom Task Forces have made recommendations, and the Crist administration will implement them.
- From runoff to sewage and stormwater, Florida needs tough new rules to protect our fresh water and our coastal areas.
REPLACE ALL SEPTIC TANKS – AND STOP ADDING NEW ONES – IN URBAN AREAS
- There are roughly 2.7 million septic tanks in Florida.
- Many septic tanks are old, too close to important watersheds, and not designed to remove nitrogen.
- Contaminants seep out through sand and limestone and into the aquifers, polluting our springs, lakes and rivers.
- As governor, Crist will work to replace all urban septic tanks and connect them to central sewer systems.
- All new urban developments should connect to centralized sewer systems – not septic tanks.
- Florida can use American Rescue Plan dollars to pay for these improvements.
SUPPORT WATER STORAGE AND WETLAND RESTORATION
- Dispersed water management cleans water, creates more habitat for plants and wildlife, and provides groundwater recharge for the water supply.
- The Crist administration will make more public lands available to store and clean water and restore wetlands.
- As governor, Crist will find more ways to encourage private landowners to store and clean water on their property.
PROTECT FLORIDA’S FRESHWATER SPRINGS
- Florida’s freshwater springs are the largest of their kind in the world.
- Excessive nitrogen has polluted 80 percent of our freshwater springs.
- We should be protecting our springs from agricultural runoff and excess consumption.
- Crist supports a Right to Clean Water constitutional amendment.
- As governor, Crist will fight state preemption of local governments adding additional protections for clean water.
FULLY FUND AND STAFF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
- As governor, Crist will appoint an environmentalist to lead DEP, not someone from an industry the state regulates.
- Florida is only the third state to take over wetlands permitting from the federal government.
- More responsibility means DEP needs more resources to do the job right and protect our wetlands and waterways.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers processed about 1,000 wetlands permits a year in Florida.
- The Crist administration won’t streamline bureaucracy to please industry and developers. It will do the job right to protect our precious resources from development.
STOP POLLUTING LAKE OKEECHOBEE
- Florida’s “liquid heart’’ has been polluted for decades.
- Tons of legacy pollution along with flood control efforts and the lake’s natural geography have vexed efforts to fully restore Lake Okeechobee. But we can at least stop making the problem worse.
- As governor, Crist will crack down on agriculture runoff, improve management of the watershed north of the lake, and limit back-pumping.
- Communities around the lake and coastal communities on the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers have been the ones paying the price for Lake Okeechobee polluters for too long.
RESTORE AND PROTECT OUR EVERGLADES
- In Congress and as governor, Charlie worked across the aisle to secure billions of dollars for critical Everglades restoration.
- For decades, special interests blocked efforts to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee for water storage and treatment, the missing link to truly restore the Everglades.
- As governor in 2010, Charlie beat the special interests and signed a historic agreement to purchase over 100,000 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Although Charlie’s successor let the deal collapse, he remains committed to getting the job done.
- In addition to keeping bipartisan, state and federal Everglades projects funded and on track, Charlie will use Amendment 1 dollars to purchase more land to enable fresh water to flow south into the Everglades and Florida Bay.
- This will avoid saltwater intrusion due to sea level rise and protect coastal communities and their estuaries. Charlie’s plan will improve water quality, mitigate harmful algae blooms, support ecotourism, sequester carbon dioxide, and safeguard drinking water for millions of Floridians.