Posted by: reefrescue | March 1, 2011

Florida Governor Rick Scott invites winter-weary northerners to come and swim in Florida’s sewage

Feb 28 2011; Tallahassee, FL – After a brutally harsh winter for many Americans, Florida Governor Rick Scott and VISIT FLORIDA®, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, have organized the “Share a Little Sunshine Tour” to invite those hit hardest by this year’s unseasonably cold weather to defrost in sunny Florida.  Governor Scott and the rest of the “Sunshine Ambassadors” will start their two-day tour March 1 in Orlando and make stops in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago.  Read more: http://www.flgov.com/2011/02/28/florida-governor-scott-to-help-%E2%80%98share-a-little-sunshine%E2%80%99/

Along the southeast Florida coast five ocean outfall pipes discharge over 300,000,000 gallons-a-day of partially treated sewage into the coastal waters. 

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection: “239,000 acres of coral reefs and associated reef resources lie within a four-county area that 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

In a ceremony held at the 2008 International Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, then Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed into law legislation ending the practice of dumping inadequately treated sewage from ocean outfall pipes into Florida’s coastal waters.

The signing was hailed by the hundreds of coral reef scientists gathered from across the globe who attended the international conference.

Now the Florida Legislature is moving to derail the ocean outfall legislation

Three years later Florida’s newly elected Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami introduced bill SB 796 designed to delay the implementation of the 2008 legislation and allow the continued dumping of sewage into Florida waters until 2030. An identical House bill HB 613 was filed by Representative Carlos Trujillo, also of Miami.

SB 796 doesn’t deny the sewage is killing the costal environment, in fact the bill states:

“The Legislature also finds that discharge of domestic wastewater through ocean outfalls compromises the coastal environment, quality of life, and local economies that depend on those resources. The Legislature declares that more stringent treatment and management requirements for such domestic wastewater and the subsequent, timely elimination of ocean outfalls as a primary means of domestic wastewater discharge are in the public interest.”

What the pro-sewage lobby, led by Miami-Dade County, is saying is that it just costs too much to protect Florida’s coral reefs and coastal tourism economy. This is the same county that can afford to build a new half billion dollar sports stadium for the Florida Marlins baseball team (as long as the team agrees to change their name to the “Miami Marlins”).

Tell Rick Scott what you think about Senate Bill SB 796: Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com

Tell VISIT FLORIDA®, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation: http://www.visitflorida.com/feedback/

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