Florida Groups Thankful for Clean Water Protections
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Clean water plays a vital role in Florida's environment and economy from the Everglades to the Panhandle. Dozens of environmental groups are thankful that one lawmaker took action to protect the state's water and wildlife.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., voted against requiring the Obama administration to revisit its update of the Clean Water Act, which now includes a rule to protect streams and wetlands. The rule supports efforts to restore the Everglades and other cherished waterways, said Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation.
"It's necessary to protect headwaters and watersheds that are critical to our nation's water quality, " Fuller said, "and are often comprised of wetlands, which are great fish and wildlife habitat."
Protections for streams and wetlands were left unclear after some Supreme Court decisions, but the recent rule to clarify them is being called a "federal overreach" by opponents. The Florida Wildlife Federation is one of 57 organizations that sent a letter of thanks to Nelson for his critical vote on the issue.
For Floridians, Fuller said, the Clean Water Act isn't only about a healthy environment. Protecting streams and wetlands makes good financial sense, given the roles that tourism and commercial and recreational fishing play in the state.
"They also provide the basis of our natural resource-based economy," he said, "which in Florida is extremely important, as is oftentimes the case around the United States."
The recreational fishing industry supports 80,000 jobs, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Florida has lost more than half its historic wetlands, recent estimates suggest, and harmful algal blooms from polluted waters exist in many river and stream systems across the state.
get more stories like this via email
The work of some nonprofit organizations has only increased with the pandemic and the needs that have come from it. An author and expert in the field …
By Lourdes Medrano for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Arizona News Connection, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …
Hispanic Heritage Month began in mid-September and runs through Oct. 15, and a financial institution in Washington state is finding unique ways to …
Conservation groups say more needs to be done to protect the natural and cultural resources of Utah's Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicles…
Despite being aimed at children in kindergarten through third grade, Florida teachers say what's often referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law has …
Consumer groups are pressing for legislation to reform the way credit agencies handle errors on credit reports. The calls to amend the Fair Credit …
A relatively small number of so-called "super emitters" are responsible for 40% of the methane emissions in oil and gas hotspots such as California's …
As "Banned Books Week" comes to a close, Connecticut libraries have been celebrating with great fervor - despite numerous book bans and challenges…