On Wednesday, the Senate passed a major water bill, a major priority of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and the object of much interest on the part of environmentalist community as well.
Reactions from significant groups and individuals will continue to flow in as the debate goes forward, but for now here’s a look at what some of the most influential Floridians are saying about the move.
The Senate itself put out a detailed statement breaking down the legislation piece by piece. It heralded the move as a major step forward, one year after disagreement on health care policy ended the Session and sent a similar environmental bill to its demise.
“Passing this legislation today is a win for Floridians,” said President Andy Gardiner. “This legislation increases public access to conservation lands for recreational purposes, protects Florida’s unique environment, and ensures Floridians have quality water for future use through restoration and conservation efforts of our water bodies.”
Gardiner also thanked Sen. Charlie Dean, who chairs the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation committee.
“Today, the Senate approved legislation to transform the way Florida conserves our most valuable natural resources, making certain that we take a statewide, comprehensive approach on restoring and preserving our water and natural resources,” Dean said. “This bill establishes a systematic and transparent process to ensure taxpayer dollars are allocated to meaningful water quality and restoration projects and implements best management practices to increase our clean water supply.”
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also relayed his pleasure at the bill moving forward.
“I thank the Senate for the passage of this key legislation,” Putnam said. “This session, we have an opportunity to pass meaningful water policy reform that will help meet the needs of our growing population and thriving economy, while protecting our most precious natural resources.
“This proposed legislation is a much-needed step forward that accounts for a long-term, science-based and strategic approach to protecting our water,” Putnam said.
The Associated Industries of Florida’s affiliated H2O Coalition also had fond words for the legislation Wednesday. The group was formed in part to promote the bill in 2015.
“The Florida Senate’s adoption of SB 552 has been many years in the making. Over the past year, this legislation has been improved to strengthen the protection of Florida’s springs and create stronger water quality standards. Today, a unanimous, bipartisan majority has agreed this comprehensive approach to water policy represents the best path forward for our people and our state,” said AIF VP of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis.
“We appreciate the leadership of President Gardiner and Senators Dean, Simmons, Hays, Simpson, and Montford. Their tireless work on this bill has put us one step closer to passing this historic reform.”