Jupiter, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced proposed legislation for the 2020 Legislative Session that will expedite water quality improvements throughout Florida. The legislation incorporates recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, which the Governor created shortly after taking office to aid the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in protecting, conserving and managing the state’s natural resources.
The Governor made today’s announcement following a tour of the Loxahatchee River District, where he was joined by DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein and Chief Science Officer Dr. Tom Frazier as well as other environmental stakeholders from across the state.
“The health of our state depends on the health and quality of our water,” said Governor DeSantis. “That is why I am proposing legislation to expedite the improvement of our water quality throughout Florida. These comprehensive proposals, recommended by the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, will greatly aid the Department of Environmental Protection in our mission to enhance the quality of our state’s most precious natural resource.”
The proposed legislation furthers the directives outlined in Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-12 and is based on the recommendations of The Blue-Green Algae Task Force. The Blue-Green Algae Task Force, through its discussion and deliberations, provides guidance and specific, science-based recommendations with the goal of expediting improvements and restoration of Florida’s water bodies that have been adversely affected by blue-green algae blooms.
The Blue-Green Algae Task Force received input from a variety of stakeholders and identified runoff from agricultural lands, onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems, sanitary sewer overflows, and stormwater runoff as some of the significant sources of nutrient pollution and made recommendations to improve the state’s policies and programs to achieve targeted nutrient reductions and protect public health.
“Addressing nutrient impacts will require actions by all stakeholders in Florida and significant water quality changes can only occur when all stakeholders work together,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “This legislation is the foundation for implementing necessary actions by the department, local governments and our regulated community based on the Task Force’s recommendations.”
“Today was another example of leadership by Governor DeSantis,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. “The Governor outlined a comprehensive approach to address water quality problems that have been plaguing our state and the Everglades for decades. Today’s announcement ends the era of defending the status quo and moves us into a new chapter of fixing what has been neglected. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to improve our waterways, restore the Everglades, and protect Florida’s vibrant economy.”
“We are grateful for Governor DeSantis’ continued commitment to Florida’s environment,” said Gary Jennings, Director of Keep Florida Fishing. “Keep Florida Fishing supports the Blue-Green Algae Task Force’s multi-faceted, science-based approach to improving water quality throughout the state. We look forward to working with the Governor, Legislature and relevant state agencies to address these issues and move these proposals forward. Water quality is critical for maintaining fish habitat and healthy fish populations, which are so important to Florida’s $11.5 billion sportfishing industry and more than 4 million anglers.”