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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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.
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...
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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.