This years attempt by the Florida legislature to never let a good deed go unpunished is a renewed attack on the 2008 ocean outfall bill that outlaws the archaic practice of dumping 396,000,000 gallons a day of inadequately treated sewage into the coastal waters of southeast Florida.
Last year Tallahassee heard your voices and the attempt to delay the implementation of the outfall law was never brought to a vote in the Senate.
This year more of the same. This 2012 version is seeking to derail the outfall law by extending the compliance deadline by two years.
Delaying reporting and other parts of the bill simply rewards counties who have done nothing since the bills passage, said DeeVon Quirolo founder and retired executive director of Key West based Reef Relief. Adding nothing has changed to justify weakening the original bill whereas the over-riding need for improving water quality for coral reefs has increased with every year.
This bill has just passed the FL House and is headed to the FL Senate.
BUT, THERE IS STILL TIME TO STOP IT!
We are asking for your help:
Email the Florida Senate Committee on Rules and tell Chairman Senator John Thrasher you are opposed to the Miguel Diaz de la Portilla Senate Bill 724 (Domestic Wastewater Discharged Through Ocean Outfalls) and request the Committee on Rules not schedule SB 724 for a vote before the Senate.
If you live in Florida email your FL Senator and tell them you oppose Senate Bill 724 and if the bill comes before the Senate ask them to vote against it. (Click here to find your Senator).
If you do not live in Florida you can still help, Tell VISIT FLORIDA®, the states official tourism marketing corporation you do not want to visit Florida to swim in the sewage polluted ocean: http://www.visitflorida.com/feedback/
Looking for a Spring Break destination tell VISIT FLORIDA® how you feel about swimming in sewage.
Below is a letter sent to the Florida Senate from environmental and industry organizations.
February 23, 2012
Re: Senate Bill 724, Domestic Wastewater Discharged Through Ocean Outfalls
We, the undersigned ocean advocacy, industry and conservation organizations, on behalf of our tens of thousands of members and supporters strongly urge you not to support Senate Bill 724 (Domestic Wastewater Discharged Through Ocean Outfalls). SB 724 is intended to delay implementation of the 2008 Florida Ocean Outfall legislation which was enacted to phase out the archaic practice of discharging inadequately treated sewage into southeast Florida’s coastal coral reef ecosystem.
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 239,000 acres of coral reefs and associated reef resources lie within the four-county area affected by SB 724. This northern portion of the Florida Reef Tract stretches more than100 miles from the northern boundary of Biscayne National Park in Miami-Dade County to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. These reefs are part of the third longest reef system in the world which annually sustains more than 71,000 jobs and generates $6.3 billion dollars in sales and income for Florida. (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2009/02/files/0212_02.pdf)
Floridas corals are dying at an alarming rate; between 1996 and 2001 the Keys experienced a 40 percent decrease in coral cover. Since the 1980s, 97% of Floridas Staghorn and Elkhorn reef building corals have died prompting the federal government to elevate these species to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. Recent studies have linked Elkhorn coral white pox disease with Serratia marcescens, a human pathogen found in sewage, (Sutherland KP, Shaban S, Joyner JL, Porter JW, Lipp EK (2011) Human Pathogen Shown to Cause Disease in the Threatened Eklhorn Coral Acropora palmata. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23468. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023468).
Along with the mix of nutrient pollution and pathogens spewing from south Florida’s ocean outfalls, EPA reports Personal Care Products and Pharmaceuticals (PCPPs) now represent and ever increasing threat to the environment. Recent studies have found Prozac in fish organs and disrupted sexual development in fish cause by estrogen.
The 2008 Florida Ocean Outfall legislation was not all about saving coral reefs. A key driver of the legislation was the need to conserve water in south Florida. Water needed for agriculture, population growth and Everglades restoration. The southeast counties have one of the lowest water reclamation and reuse records in Florida. Everyday 396,000,000 gallons of wastewater is discharged into the coastal waters of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The 2008 legislation mandates that 60% of this wastewater be allocated for reuse.
We strongly urge you not to turn back the clock; time is running out for Florida’s coral reefs. Please vote no on SB 724.
Clean Water Network of Florida
Linda Young, Director
Dan Clark, President
Eastern Surfing Association National Head Quarters
Eastern Surfing Association South Florida District
Eastern Surfing Association Palm Beach County District
Tom Warnke, Chairman of the Board
Global Coral Reef Alliance
Thomas J. Goreau, PhD, President
Greater Fort Lauderdale Diving Association
Jeff Torode, President
Nature Travelers Club, Delray Beach
Hope Fox, President
Ocean Rehab Initiative Inc.
William Djubin, President
Palm Beach County Dive Industry Association
Van Blakeman, Director
Palm Beach County Reef Rescue
Ed Tichenor, Director
PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Jerry Phillips, Director Florida Chapter
Treasure Coast Chapter
Sebastian Inlet Chapter
Cocoa Beach Chapter
Volusia Flagler Chapter
First Coast Chapter
Central Florida Chapter
Emerald Coast Chapter
Ericka Canales, Florida Regional Manager
Surfrider Foundation Palm Beach County Chapter
Todd Remmel, Chapter Chair
Peter Anderson, Chairman & President
Reef Relief Founders
Craig & DeeVon Quirolo