A New Governor. A New Focus on Florida’s Water.

A New Governor. A New Focus on Florida’s Water.
florida, water, munns, desantis, busine, governor, floridas, tide, matter, management

It is a ‘big deal’ politically when a new government official takes on a topic early in his or her tenure. That has occurred regarding Florida’s water. Again, please note above Governor DeSantis took office on January 8. On January 10 he signed Executive Order 19-12 entitled “Achieving More Now For Florida’s Environment”.5 As stated in the Executive Office of Governor’s press release announcing the EO 19-126, the Governor has called for:

– $2.5 Billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources (a $1 Billion increase in spending over the previous four years and the highest level of funding for restoration in Florida’s history).

– The Establishment of a Blue-Green Algae Task Force, charged with focusing on expediting progress toward reducing the adverse impacts of blue-green algae blooms now and over the next five years.

– Instruction to the South Florida Water Management District to immediately start the next phase of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project design and ensure the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves the project according to schedule.

– The Creation of the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency charged with organizing and directing integrated scientific research and analysis to ensure that all agency actions are aligned with key environmental priorities.

– The Appointment of a Chief Science Officer to coordinate and prioritize scientific data, research, monitoring and analysis needs to ensure alignment with current and emerging environmental concerns most pressing to Floridians.

The same day Governor DeSantis also “called for the immediate resignations of all governing board members of the South Florida Water Management District”7 in a letter to the SFWMD board.8

It is a ‘big deal’ politically when a new government official takes on a topic early in his or her tenure. That has occurred regarding Florida’s water.

As suggested previously, actions such as those taken by Governor DeSantis have political implications. That has happened in this case, with members of the Florida legislature opening a debate about the causes and potential solutions for the red tide and algae bloom situation.9 At this point sources under discussion are agriculture and septic tanks.10 Time will tell how the matter ‘shakes out’ in Florida’s body politic, which will, in turn, result in initiatives intended to resolve the situation over the short and long-terms.

An interesting data note on this same matter. It appears in mid-December 2018 the current red tide outbreak appeared to have abated in Southwest Florida at that time.11 Observations of red tide concentrations remains in flux statewide per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.12

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1 https://www.flgov.com/

2 https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2019/01/05/desantis-already-governor-when-ceremony-begins/

5 https://www.flgov.com/2019/01/10/governor-ron-desantis-announces-major-water-policy-reforms/; scroll to the bottom of the page to see the Executive Order.

6 See footnote 5.

7 https://www.flgov.com/2019/01/10/governor-ron-desantis-calls-for-resignations-of-governing-board-members-of-south-florida-water-management-district/

8 https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/SFWMD-Letter-.pdf

9 https://www.gainesville.com/news/20190112/state-republicans-desantis-split-on-water-issues

10 See footnote 9.

11 https://www.fox4now.com/news/toxic-water/red-tide-nearly-entirely-gone-from-florida-waters;

12 https://myfwc.com/research/red-tide/statewide/

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– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Warrington College of Business Administration. And is now the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.

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