Friday, November 2, 2018

Ron DeSantis on the Environment

Restore the Everglades, Stop Toxic Algae Discharges and Send Water South

St. Petersburg, Fl 

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD 
The issues with Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades developed over the course of more than a hundred years. Politicians continue to propose one-off, short-sighted, band aid “solutions” that provide no relief to those subjected to red tide and algae clogged water. The DeSantis administration will provide a comprehensive, long-term approach that includes effective stakeholder involvement and cooperation from all levels of government. Floridians are demanding leadership and as Governor, Ron DeSantis will:
Pursue Southern Storage and Everglades Restoration. The cornerstone of a comprehensive solution to Lake Okeechobee is restoring the Everglades, with the centerpiece being the completion of a southern reservoir to store water. The federal government has fallen nearly $1 billion short in their commitment to Everglades restoration. Ron DeSantis is committed to completing the suite of Everglades Restoration projects in the Central Everglades Planning Process (CEPP) and Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). To accomplish this, our next Governor must have the ability to work with President Trump, his administration, and Congress to finally deliver on Everglades restoration for Florida. No one is better suited to accomplish these goals than Ron DeSantis. Beginning day one, DeSantis will work with the Trump administration and Congress to ensure the federal government honors its 20-year old funding promise to CERP by appropriating its $200 million in matching federal dollars to build the Southern Reservoir and complete the entire suite of projects. The 120-billion-gallon reservoir will be built primarily on state land and will serve as a dynamic storage system discharging clean water into Everglades National Park and then into the Florida Bay. Ron DeSantis understands that fulfilling the promises of Everglades restoration is a critical investment in protecting our natural resources, creating jobs, and enhancing a lifestyle for millions of residents and visitors to Florida. The entire inventory of projects approved for Lake Okeechobee would reduce discharges by almost 63%.
Continue the Success of Raising the Tamiami Trail. The DeSantis administration will continue the state’s commitment to raising the Tamiami Trail. This state-approved project will bridge 2.6 miles of the Tamiami Trail in order to allow clean water to flow into the southern Everglades rather than drain from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Raising the Tamiami Trail is vital to ensure that the Everglades system works as it was intended and to allow water to continue to flow south where it belongs.
Protect Our Beaches
Florida’s beaches are the envy of the world. Last year, the Sunshine State welcomed more than 116 million visitors, many of whom enjoyed beaches across our great state. Protecting our beaches, coastline and state waters is essential to Florida’s economy. Ron DeSantis is committed to ensuring Floridians never experience another Deepwater Horizon Spill crisis, and that we work to end the unprecedented red tides in Southwest Florida. As Governor, Ron DeSantis will:
Fight to Prevent Oil Drilling off Florida’s Coast. Our coast is one of the most important economic drivers of Florida and Ron DeSantis has a proven track record in supporting measures to ban offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Florida has seen firsthand the dangers that off-shore drilling can bring to our beaches and shorelines. Starting day one, DeSantis will utilize his unique relationship with President Trump and his administration to ensure that oil drilling never occurs off Florida’s coastlines.
Find Solutions to the Unprecedented Red Tides in Southwest Florida. Red tide is a naturally occurring event off the coast of Southwest Florida, but the length and severity of this crisis is unprecedented.  It is imperative Florida finds the underlying cause to this event and works to implement an appropriate solution.  As Governor Ron DeSantis will issue an executive order reestablishing a task force composed of experts in the field of marine and oceanic science to research and report the causes and solutions to Florida’s red tide crisis.
Commitment to Beach Restoration. Florida has seen a rash of hurricanes severely erode many of our beautiful beaches across the state. As a source of recreation for Floridians and visitors alike, restoring and maintaining our beaches is a priority for Ron DeSantis. Florida must continue to fund solutions to combat beach erosion and as Governor, DeSantis will seek out innovative technology and funding opportunities to keep our coastline pristine.
Emphasize Smart Growth and Resilience to Rising Sea Level for South Florida.  South Florida serves as the Gateway to Latin America and home to some of Florida’s best beaches. Due to its success, growth and unique environment, South Florida faces rising sea level challenges that we must address including water usage, vulnerability to hurricanes, and flooding. We must plan ahead to protect and sustain South Florida and ensure this area of the state remains vibrant. Ron DeSantis will work with local governments to prioritize sustainable growth and flood mitigation efforts and rising sea levels.
Expand and Protect our Water Supply
Access to clean and reliable water is an absolute necessity not just for Florida’s environment, but also for our ever-growing population and expanding economy. Protecting Florida’s precious water quality will require partnerships between state and local governments in conjunction with public and private entities. Water is a resource that needs to be managed wisely and planned for long-term. As Governor, Ron DeSantis will:
Utilize All Available Water Supplies and Conserve Water. Ground water supplies, particularly in populated coastal areas are limited, shallow, and vulnerable to over-pumping, contamination, and salt water intrusion. Reuse of reclaimed water (i.e., highly treated wastewater) helps to conserve potable water supplies, since reclaimed water is used in place of potable water for irrigation, industrial, and other beneficial purposes.  In addition, many reuse activities can help recharge ground water supplies. Advanced treatment technologies also allow reclaimed water to be used to help meet drinking water demands, while protecting the public health and environment. As Governor, Ron DeSantis will work with the Florida Legislature to update Florida’s reclaimed water laws to enhance the use of reclaimed water as a water supply source. He will ensure that Florida’s laws are designed to protect the public health and the environment by requiring that the reclaimed water be treated consistent with its use.
Work to Ban Fracking in the State of Florida. With Florida’s geological makeup of limestone and shallow water sources, fracking presents a danger to our state that is not acceptable. On day one, Ron DeSantis will advocate to the Florida Legislature to pass legislation that bans fracking in the state.
Protect our State Lands, Parks, Springs, and Air
Florida is world renowned for our state lands, parks, and springs. We are blessed with some of the cleanest air in the country and our natural beauty continues to draw millions of visitors annually. It’s time to double down on our commitment to protecting these resources so that citizens and visitors can enjoy them for generations to come.  As Governor, Ron DeSantis will:
Continue the Legacy of Restoring and Protecting Florida’s Springs. Our springs are some of our state’s most treasured resources, but unfortunately over time we’ve seen significant deterioration. If we fail to act, we risk permanent and irreversible damage.  As Governor, Ron DeSantis will work with all stakeholders to implement a comprehensive springs restoration program to reduce all sources of nitrogen pollution.
Implement the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1). Ron DeSantis is committed to honoring the will of Florida’s voters. The administration will work with Florida’s legislative leadership to ensure proper funding is put toward conservation and preservation. Ron DeSantis believes that while Amendment 1, passed in 2014 calls for the use of trust fund dollars for prospective land acquisitions, the voters also intended the funds be utilized for current restoration of conservation lands. Ron DeSantis’ plan would include vital springs protection funding, everglades restoration funding, beach restoration funding, various water quality and conservation of our state parks. The intent of Amendment 1 was to provide our states experts with the ability to utilize funds to provide maximum benefit for our taxpayers.
Protect our Clean Air. Florida is blessed to have some of the cleanest air in the country and as Governor, Ron DeSantis will continue this legacy through continued aggressive air quality monitoring and working with local stakeholders and utility companies to further improve our air quality. As one of the fastest growing states in the country it is of paramount importance that we not take our clean air for granted and maintain our stature as one of the cleanest air quality states.
Restore the Everglades, Stop Toxic Algae Discharges and Send Water South

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