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
Health and Wellness
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new survey shows most New Yorkers approve of medical aid-in-dying legislation, and advocates for end-of-life autonomy said it is …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohioans across religious traditions have come together as one voice this week to speak out against capital punishment. Dozens of …
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Community college students in California are being encouraged to take a closer look at their education plans, to see if …
SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- New efforts are underway to help small-scale farms in Arkansas expand their business. The Food Conservancy, a northwest Arkansas …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A high percentage of rejected voter registrations in three of Ohio's biggest counties is raising some red flags. According to the …
CORRECTION: The last day to request absentee ballots in Virginia is Fri., Oct. 22. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Oct…
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A special court panel is hosting public hearings this month, asking Minnesotans what new political maps should look like, and …
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas has some of the weakest gun laws in America, and gun-control advocates say the permissive attitude may be why a student …