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Environmentalists say water protection bill has loopholes

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A massive bill to protect Florida’s springs, waterways and groundwater appears headed for passage at the start of the coming Legislative Session, despite objections from environmentalists who say it’s been weakened by loopholes and the influence of industry and agriculture interests.

Critics say they still hope floor amendments will close loopholes in Senate and House companion bills (SB 552 and HB 7005) and are trying to pressure legislators.

Their legislative backers, including Orlando Democratic Sen. Darren Soto and House Minority Leader Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach say they’ll bring up floor amendments reflecting some of the criticisms.

But sponsors, including Republican Rep. Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers say that after all the time and work spent on the bill, they oppose last-minute changes.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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