What Florida’s Leaders Are Saying About Comprehensive Water Policy Reform

Tallahassee, FL – Next week, the Florida Legislature is expected to resume consideration of the comprehensive water policy reform bill.  The legislation enjoys broad support from many of Florida’s most influential leaders and their organizations, representing business, agricultural, and conservation interests across the state.  Here’s what Florida leaders are saying about the bill:

 Tom Feeney, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida

 “The Florida Legislature is making an unprecedented commitment to the stewardship of our natural resources by considering this historic comprehensive water reform bill.  If approved, this bill will use industry standards – not draconian government mandates – to improve water quality and increase protections for our springs, which will ensure the availability of fresh drinking water for generations to come.  Floridians can be proud of the leadership House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Senate President Andy Gardiner, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam have demonstrated on this issue. Representative Matt Caldwell and Senator Charlie Dean have also worked hard to develop a good product that will serve our state well. Throughout the process, House and Senate leaders made many concessions to craft a bill that reflects the will of everyone involved, including representatives from the agriculture, environmental, and business communities.”

 Temperince Morgan, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy of Florida*

“We appreciate the Legislature including provisions to ensure that projects which produce water for the environment and for people are planned for concurrently. These changes will benefit Florida’s natural systems and provide water for Florida’s present and future economic growth and development.”

Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

“Ensuring Florida is prepared to address future water supply and quality challenges is critical to our state’s continued economic growth, particularly in our hospitality and trade industries.  Without access to clean drinking water, Florida’s restaurants and hotels wouldn’t be able to operate.  The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association supports comprehensive water reform because it takes a forward-thinking approach to water conservation and proper management.”

Carrie O’Rourke, Florida Realtors® Vice President of Public Policy

“Florida’s Realtors® are passionate about the state’s water resources. No matter where you live in Florida, there’s a body of water that is a part of your community.  Florida Realtors supports a statewide water policy that safeguards healthy, clean and abundant supplies of water in our state.  HB 7005 by the State Affairs Committee and Representative Matt Caldwell and SB 552 by Senator Charlie Dean provide a strong foundation for a comprehensive statewide policy that addresses key aspects of water management, water quality and water supply.”

Barbara Sharief, President, Florida Association of Counties & Vice Mayor of Broward County

“FAC supports efforts in the Florida House & Senate to improve water quality throughout the state, especially in regard to our springs.  No one knows better the challenges and opportunities facing our rivers, lakes, streams and aquifers than those of us who live and play near them every day and it is why county involvement in local water issues is critical to the long term success of Florida’s water challenges.”

Matt Surrency, Florida League of Cities President and Mayor of Hawthorne

“These bills are an important step towards addressing one of Florida's most pressing policy needs.  The Legislature is providing a framework for collaboration and cooperation that will serve our state well in facing the challenges ahead.”

Barbara Miedema, ‎VP for Public Affairs & Communications at Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative

 “Florida’s sugar cane farmers have been on the front lines of water quality improvements for the past several decades, and the progress has been undeniable. This legislation builds upon the successes of the Everglades Agricultural Area’s Best Management Practices program.  We strongly support this legislation and appreciate the hard work of House and Senate leaders, who have developed a historic plan that will increase Florida’s commitment to solving water challenges in a big way.”

John Hoblick, President of the Florida Farm Bureau

“Supporting a comprehensive approach on water policy is incredibly important to Florida’s farmers.  This bill provides a balanced approach to creating a sustainable supply of plentiful, clean water for Florida’s unique environment, growing population and strong agriculture industry.  All these aspects are critical to our state and this legislation allows for continued improvement to our natural resources without harming the drivers of the economy.”

Ben Bolusky, CEO Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association

“Water is inseparably intertwined into the economic, environmental and cultural fabric of our great state. The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA), representing Florida's $15.3 billion nursery and landscape industry, applauds members of the Florida House and Senate for their tireless work in crafting a science-based, common sense and comprehensive water policy which addresses Florida's current and future water challenges.”

Henry Dean, Former Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District

“This reform package is the most significant piece of water legislation to be considered by the Florida Legislature in the past forty years.  By recognizing the hard work happening at the local level by water managers around the state, this bill will increase our state’s commitment to managing our precious natural resources in a major way.  The bill increases protections for springs, holds water users to a higher standard, and looks to the future by ensuring Florida is prepared to handle future growth.”

*Not an H2O Coalition Member.

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