Tallahassee, FL (January 14, 2016) - Earlier today, the Florida House joined the Senate in passing Senate Bill 552. Over the past year, Audubon Florida worked with bill sponsors improve this legislation.
SB 552 reinforces plans for dealing with pollution entering and leaving Lake Okeechobee by adding teeth to the laws that require cleanup of polluted waters. The bill replaces a deadline and rules for meeting water standards with state-mandated cleanup plans for Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Urban and agricultural dischargers of polluted water will be required to use enforceable practices to limit pollution. If the law works as written, and if implementation and enforcement are staffed and funded, SB 552 will lead toward cleaner water.
Statement from Eric Draper, Audubon Florida Executive Director:
“For the last year, we worked with bill sponsors to improve the legislative proposal that became SB 552. If the law is implemented and enforced as written, this bill will lead toward cleaner water. Audubon now urges approval of HB 989 and SB 1168 to implement part of Amendment 1 to reserve 25% or $200 million for Everglades restoration, including reducing discharges from Lake Okeechobee into coastal estuaries.”