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Bob Graham visits Tally, urges rejection of efforts to weaken environmental rules

Former senator and governor Bob Graham is back in Tallahassee today, this time urging legislators to reject a handful of environmental bills that he believes will have a damaging impact on the environment. 

He spoke Senate Democrats urging them to reject HB 999, a bill relating to environmental permitting that prohibits local governments from regulating fertilizer sales and application between now and 2016 as well as local government efforts to regulate wetlands. 

"There seems to be a number of bills that have the effect of removing local control,'' he said. "The irony is this is a time when there has been a substantial reduction in the financial and human capabilities of the water management districts or the state to provide the oversight that currently."

He also urged them to reject SB 1684 which ratifies a no-bid Everglades lease agreement between the state and sugar and vegetable farmers. It as approved by the governor and Cabinet in January and is now being challenged in court by the Florida Wildlife Federation. The bill will "have the practical effect to terminate that litigation,'' he said. "We would encourage a no-vote on the bill on final passage because we don't feel the bill will be in the public interest." 

Graham, a member of the Florida Conservation Coalition, noted that the special interest push to weaken environmental laws is occurring because the window is open. "For some interests, they see this as the best train to get on for the foreseeable future."