Bill aimed at battling algae blooms heads to governor
Supporters call it the Clean Waterways Act, but many environmentalists doubt it will provide the clean-up needed.
TALLAHASSEE — Legislation aimed at easing the state’s wide-ranging water problems by tightening oversight of runoff from farms, urban development and Florida’s 2.7 million septic tanks was approved Wednesday by the House.
The House’s 118-0 vote follows similar 39-0 approval last week in the Senate. The measure now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who pushed for the changes and is expected to sign it into law.
“This is the most important thing we’ve done for water in this state in 10 years,” said Sen. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, a sponsor of the legislation (SB 712), which supporters call the Clean Waterways Act.
The legislation changes how the state regulates everything from septic tanks to city wastewater systems and city and county storm-water management. But many environmental organizations say the regulatory changes lack muscle.
The Sierra Club, Florida Springs Council and Florida Waterkeepers are among those pointing to problems with the legislation, saying it will not achieve water quality goals for the many state waterways already damaged.
The organizations called it the, “policy equivalent of slapping a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. It may not hurt, but it won’t really help.”
State officials, though, have defended the measure with superlatives.