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WATERKEEPERS FLORIDA NEWS

Florida Department of Health Fails to Consistently Notify Residents of Health Risks from Toxic Blue-Green Algae

John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper, K.C. Schulberg, Executive Director Calusa Waterkeeper, Reinaldo Diaz, Lake Worth Waterkeeper, Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper

July 13, 2020

After massive and recurring blue-green algae blooms in Florida waters that resulted in multiple “states of emergency” issued by then-Governor Rick Scott in 2016 and 2018, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is still unable to consistently warn the public of the toxic blooms. Governor DeSantis appointed experts to the Blue-green Algae Task Force...

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Environmental groups want state to do more to warn public about toxic blue-green algae

Chad Gillis

July 16, 2020

An environmental network in Florida says Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health are not doing their jobs when it comes to informing the public about the health risks of toxic algae blooms. Four Florida Waterkeepers sent a letter to the governor and DOH earlier this week, saying the state is not doing enough to protect...

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Guest Commentary – SB 712: A Watered-Down Bill that Will Not Fix our Water Quality Issues

Special to the Immokalee Bulletin

July 19, 2020

Governor DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 – the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” – an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark. This bill has been praised by its supporters as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. But looking...

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Comments on cyanobacteria issues discussed by the Florida Blue-green Algae Task Force meeting on July 29, 2020

John Cassani

August 10, 2020

Dear Dr. Frazer and members of the Florida Blue-green Algae Task Force: Thank you for soliciting comments regarding cyanobacteria issues discussed by the Florida Blue-green Algae Task Force (BGATF) meeting on July 29, 2020. Our fundamental premise is that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) should adopt water quality standards incorporating numeric thresholds for cyanotoxins and similarly, the Florida Department of Health should adopt swim advisories for the same cyanotoxins and numeric thresholds determined by FDEP.

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Waterkeepers Florida Weighs in on FDEP Stormwater Rules

October 1, 2020

Waterkeepers Florida, along with a strong coalition of Florida environmental organizations, banded together to provide extensive support for clean water positive stormwater regulations on the FDEP’s 2020 Stormwater Rulemaking after the Department’s request for public input. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) since 2007 has acknowledged the necessity of updating its stormwater...

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Comments in Opposition to FDEP’s Assumption Application Package: Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0640, FRL-10014-54-Region 4

Rachel Silversien

November 2, 2020

Dear Mr. Laycock, On behalf of our respective organizations and our thousands of members, we are writing to express our opposition to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (“FDEP”) application to assume jurisdiction under Section 404(a) of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), 33 U.S.C. § 1344, for wetland permitting in waters of the United States.

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EPA Petitioned to Protect Communities, Environment From Radioactive Phosphogypsum Stacks, Wastewater

Center for Biological Diversity

February 8, 2021

Conservation and public-health groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency today to improve federal oversight of the radioactive waste produced by phosphogypsum facilities, including wastewater from phosphoric acid production. Phosphogypsum and process wastewater from phosphogypsum facilities are currently excluded from certain federal hazardous waste regulations...

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UPDATE: Florida Chief Science Officer Quietly Relinquishes Position

Amy Green (WMFE) and James Bruggers (Inside Climate News)

March 17, 2021

When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took office two years ago in a state that had been hammered by two major hurricanes in two years and was suffering through an epic toxic algae crisis, he earned widespread praise for appointing the state’s first chief science and chief resilience officers. Julia Nesheiwat, the resilience officer, left early last year after....

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Oppose Preemption of Ports

March 22, 2021

Waterkeepers Florida signed on to a coalition letter opposing the state preemption of local port management. "State Preemption of Seaport Regulations" (SB 426/HB 267) seeks to implement an overbroad and unnecessary statewide preemption that would strip municipalities of local control of ports. Specifically, these bills target the deliberative and democratic efforts of the voters of Key West to protect public and ecological health by restricting the size and scale of cruise ships utilizing their municipally owned port. Waterkeepers Florida stands with the residents of Key West in their efforts to protect coral reefs from cruise ships. We also stand with municipalities in opposing preemption attempts by the state legislature more broadly.

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Environmental groups appeal to Ron DeSantis to keep Key West cruise regulations in place

Ryan Nicol

March 23, 2021

The GOP-controlled Legislature is weighing a bill to reverse those regulations and preempt local control.Two dozen environmental groups are authoring a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him to halt Republicans’ push to preempt local governments from regulating major aspects of the cruise ship industry.

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Florida’s first-ever chief science officer left, but when, and what did he do?

Laura Cassels

March 30, 2021

At a press conference Tuesday morning praising an Everglades restoration project, Gov. Ron DeSantis made an unrelated surprise announcement: Florida’s first-ever chief science officer, Thomas K. “Tom” Frazer, had left the post. How long the post had been vacant was unclear.

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Congressional Hearing Request Re Piney Point

April 12, 2021

Waterkeepers Florida, conservation, and public health groups submitted a letter calling on Congress to investigate the near-collapse of the radioactive Piney Point phosphogypsum stack and the ongoing emergency caused by the discharge of hundreds of gallons of wastewater. The letter highlights not only the unfolding environmental disaster at Piney Point, but the nearly three decades of documented environmental crises at the dozens of phosphogypsum stacks throughout the United States. Specifically, the groups called for an investigation into the failed regulation of the phosphate industry, phosphogypsum, and process wastewater. The letter also asked Congress to provide additional resources to help the EPA quickly and comprehensively address these problems.

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Letter to the State of Florida's New Chief Science Officer

April 16, 2021

Waterkeepers Florida sent a letter to the state of Florida's new Chief Science Officer and the members of the state's Blue-green Algae Task Force outlining concerns related to the increasing magnitude, duration, and frequency of harmful algae blooms and their effects on the environment, the economy, and human health. The letter called for adoption of defensible water quality criteria for cyanotoxins as part of the ongoing Triennial Review process.

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