A New Year and New Opportunities to Protect Our Waters

Dear Friends of Florida waters:

I hope everyone took the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and that we are all rested up and ready to take a fresh stand for Florida’s waters in 2016.  I know that I did and as I sit here at my desk, looking out at Ochlockonee Bay, thinking of all the amazing people in Florida who are committed to protecting our waters, I am encouraged and inspired.

Yet, the 2016 legislative session is upon us and once again we face daunting challenges.  Our state leaders are completely controlled by corporate money and special interests.  They seem to care nothing about Florida’s fragile resources or the future we leave for our children and grandchildren. Yet, time and time again we collectively are able to stave off their attacks or find a way to force positive actions from them.  When we are successful, it is because we all stand together and focus.  That’s what we have to do again this year.

On a more positive note, it looks like we will have a more level playing field in the upcoming 2016 elections – thanks to recent decisions made by state courts.  As sure as the tide turns out on the bay, the political tides will turn in Florida and we will once again have elected officials in charge who care about the important things and not just their own personal gain.

Here’s a glimpse of what lies ahead in the rest of this message:


2.  Fracking rally – Tallahassee, January 20th!

3.  Water bill – Make sure your legislators hear from you before they take their final vote on this most important legislation.

4.  Toxics criteria – EPA is still stalling.  Litigation is quickly becoming our only option.

1.  Movie night in Navarre – WE HAVE MOVED OUR MOVIE NIGHT TO THE 2ND WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH!!! That means it will be next Wednesday, January 13th at St Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Henderson Hall, Navarre, FL.  This month we are thrilled to present a one-hour documentary by Jill Heinreth called, “We are Water”.  You can go to these links to learn more about the film and the organization that Jill started to help all of us better realize our connection to the water that surrounds us.  Here’s the links:

We Are Water Project

Our pot-luck dinner begins at 5:30 and the movie starts at 6:30.  You can bring a covered dish or just bring yourself.  There is no charge and we guarantee good food, good people and good information.  Hope to see you on Wednesday night!!!

2.  Fracking rally – Tallahassee, January 20th! If you are anywhere near Tallahassee, please join us at the Capitol at 1:00 for an anti-fracking rally. There will be great speakers and lots of inspiration to help us all keep fighting for Florida’s waters.

There is also a lobby-training on the 19th for the organized lobby effort that will be underway on the 20th before the rally.  You can find the registration form here:

http://rethinkenergyflorida.org/index.php/future-events/151-advocacy-day-2016 (also available off the http://rethinkenergyflorida.org home page)


It is HIGHLY LIKELY that SB 318 (the fracking regulatory bill) and SB 166 (The fracking ban bill) will have their first chance to be heard or ignored during the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee meeting on Jan 13.

We know that killing the fracking regulatory bills and pressuring our elected officials to hear the fracking ban bill IN COMMITTEE are the next steps to stopping fracking in Florida. Senator Charlie Dean, who chairs the committee, has the power to give these bills a hearing or not, ensuring that they will have a chance to be voted on and sent to the next committee OR stopped in their tracks.

Senator Dean has told us several times that he does not like fracking.Please reach out to Senator Dean using the call-in service set up by Food and Water Watch and encourage him to act consistently with previous statement by HEARING SB 166 and IGNORING SB 318. Call in number is 1-866-583-2908.

Douglas Miller
Statewide Anti-Fracking Coordinator, ReThink Energy Florida
P.S. PLEASE SHARE CALL-IN EVENT ON FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/events/1538886646423341/

3.  Water policy bills – Make sure your legislators hear from you before they take their final vote on this most important legislation.  We are following the lead from the Florida Springs Council on this legislation.  As we have reported in recent updates, this legislation is terrible and will take Florida water policy backward 20 or 30 years – maybe even beyond anything we’ve ever had.  That’s how bad it is.  Here’s a link to a good summary of the problems with the bill:  http://www.tbo.com/news/florida/environmentalists-water-protection-bill-has-loopholes-ap_florida7c95db6f79194ae29bbbed94064af782
The bills have already passed in all House and Senate Committees to which they were assigned.  They will be considered on the House and Senate Floors late next week.  Passage is a certainty.  The FSC is working to get some significant amendments heard before final passage.

Please make sure your legislators know that you support the amendments being offered by the FSC.

4.  Toxics criteria – EPA is still stalling.  Litigation is quickly becoming our only option.

Since our last update, EPA has postponed another phone meeting about Florida’s recalcitrant position on adopting human-health based toxics criteria.  I recognize EPA’s stall tactics because we have been staring them in the face for years now.

Thanks to your recent contributions, we will be able to move forward with our legal options within the next few weeks.  We have tried every way possible to avoid this, but for some reason, EPA refuses to take ANY steps to make Florida abide by the Clean Water Act.

These regulations are important to public health in Florida.  We cannot continue to allow cancer-causing chemicals to be dumped in Florida’s waters where they bio-accumulate in our fish, contaminate our drinking water, soak into our skin where we swim, etc.  without any limits on how much can be dumped.  Now, Florida is facing the very real threat of fracking for oil and gas in many parts of the state and we don’t even have regulations for many of the chemicals that could turn up in our waters from these activities.

The 2016 election is an important one.  Get involved in your community.  Every state senate seat will be on the ballot.  We have many new districts and opportunities for change.  Every one of us can help to make a difference in the future of Florida’s environmental policies by helping good candidates get elected.