Florida’s natural resources are ranked as some of the best in the world. With hundreds of miles of coastlines and more than 35 natural springs in Florida, our state’s natural resources should be protected in sustainable ways that address long-term issues not only for today, but for future generations.
Currently, Florida has some of the toughest water standards in the nation, recently prompting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its overlapping water rules in favor of Florida’s scientifically-backed numeric nutrient criteria (NNC).
SB 1576, better known as the springs bill, wishes to prescribe programming for springs protection that don’t take into account current restoration efforts and programs being conducted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Unfortunately, the legislation was also stripped of nearly all funding for policy implementation. Despite the lack of funding to adequately protect Florida’s springs, the Florida Senate today passed SB 1576.
The Florida Chamber believes science-based policy and solutions for springs protection are necessary to maintain our world class environmental assets. It is also important that water policy regarding springs and other water bodies is balanced with water quality standards that will protect Florida’s natural resources and promote sustainable economic growth – while working in concert with the DEP’s efforts to comply with newly created NNC criteria for all water bodies. The Florida Chamber believes a springs bill needs to address all of the critical elements needed in a comprehensive springs policy and unfortunately, SB 1576 does not.