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Dear [Decision Maker],
I strongly urge you to VETO SB 2508. Despite the amendments that have been made to the original bill, I am very concerned that this legislation will still have a chilling effect on water managers. As a result, it will perpetuate the harmful "hold and dump" practices of the existing Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS 08)--reducing beneficial flows to the Caloosahatchee and Everglades during the dry season and increasing damaging high-volume discharges to our coastal communities during the wet season.
The harmful elements of the bill that remain include:- Language that unnecessarily requires legislative ratification of new water rules designed to address water allocation during the dry season, both complicating and delaying rulemaking and moving decision making away from those who live and work in the areas (and ecosystems) most harmed by the water shortages.- Allows public entities, including utilities, to pay to expedite their wetland permits, expanding and accelerating the destruction of wetlands and exacerbating impacts to water quality.- Changes the current Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Rural and Family Lands program to allow for fee-simple acquisition of lands, duplicating and potentially competing with the underfunded Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Forever Land Acquisition Program. Your administration has prided itself on increasing transparency when it comes to making decisions that impact Floridians. This bill was put forward outside of the normal and appropriate legislative committee process, which severely limited public input on this bill. This bill will have widespread impacts on Floridians, the state's tourism-based economy, and undermines the transparency that your administration has advocated for in the past.
Please VETO SB 2508 to protect Florida's water quality and tourism-based economy.
Thank you,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]