2020 Voter Guide Ranking

  • Candidate
  • Q1
  • Q2
  • Q3
  • Q4
  • Q5
  • DM
  • Rating

Andy Mele

Florida House District 71 - DEM

As a Waterkeeper, I have been promoting an end to the failed TMDL-BMAP system Florida employs to manage its water quality. There has not been a single TMDL achieved under this system. I will be fighting for statute in plain language, no weasel words, that requires water bodies to meet statewide standards, and if they don’t, the polluter pays.

Andy Mele

I will work with the state’s federal elected officials to roll back the sugar subsidy. There is no reason for it to burden the state any longer.

Andy Mele

I think the state’s BMAP/TMDL system is a failure from the start. I will look into whether it has any potential, but I think we need unified, statewide standards, or as close to it as possible (allowing for natural variation in water quality).
Andy Mele


2020 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses

To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.

  • Question 1 : Yes
    1) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is revising the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). The purpose is to reevaluate and define operations for the entire Lake Okeechobee system, not just the Lake. Do you agree LOSOM should be rewritten to incorporate human health, ecology and the environment as an operational priority with existing operational priorities of flood control, navigation, water supply, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and recreation?
    Yes
    Candidate Comment:

    Absolutely! The Corps' single-minded adherence to the letter of their mission was directly responsible for delivering catastrophic quantities of harmful blue-green algae to both coasts. The algae is nitrogen-rich, and when it met the phosphorus-rich waters of the Gulf coast, it created something akin to Miracle-Gro for red tide.

  • Question 2 : Yes
    2) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Taskforce all report agriculture as the dominant source of phosphorus and nitrogen within most impaired watersheds of Florida. Do you agree industries and property owners should be held to clearly enforceable pollution standards and penalties; including mandatory adoption and verification of best management practices, and to implement inspection programs targeting septic, agriculture and industrial wastewater?
    Yes
    Candidate Comment:

    The omnibus water bill of 2016, within months, released agricultural producers in the Kissimmee River watershed from any obligation to manage their nutrient discharges. The bill replaced enforceable numeric standards with BMPs--and the BMPs still have not been completed. As a Waterkeeper, I have been promoting an end to the failed TMDL-BMAP system Florida employs to manage its water quality. There has not been a single TMDL achieved under this system. I will be fighting for statute in plain language, no weasel words, that requires water bodies to meet statewide standards, and if they don't, the polluter pays.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) Water is Florida’s greatest natural resource and we should not let it go to waste. Geological water storage methods like Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) and Deep Injection Wells (DIW) are risky in Florida’s fragile and porous bedrock. Independent experts, including the National Academy of Sciences, have called for increasing above ground water storage. Will you prioritize projects for Everglades restoration with above ground storage, filtration marshes and sending water south through the Everglades and down to Florida Bay, the headwaters of the Florida Keys, as nature intended?
    Yes
    Candidate Comment:

    I have a real bone to pick with deep well potable water storage and/or disposal of wastewater. I hold up the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority as a model system that works, delivers an essential product, seems impervious to political meddling, maintains the single remaining data set on the Peace River, and by taking water at peak flows, has very little impact on the state's water reserves. Treated surface waters cost consumers half what reverse osmosis will cost on an ongoing basis, let alone the cost of construction. Polk County is standing as a stark reminder of what the whole state faces if development proceeds without limit, and phosphate mining gets to enjoy the potable water for industrial purposes, while the residents are facing building two big RO plands, to treat Lower Floridan water, that is saline. Let Mosaic take the saline, and save the potable for the residents.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    4) The Florida sugar industry steered over $60 million - not including dark money - to candidates in state and local elections between 1994 and 2016, according to the Miami Herald, which reported “on issue after issue, regulators, legislators, and governors have erred on the side of softening the impact of adverse rules and regulations on cane growers...” which increased pollution, shifted cleanup costs to taxpayers, and influenced Lake Okeechobee water management, for the benefit of private irrigation and flood control, to the detriment of the Everglades, Florida Bay and coastal estuaries and communities. Do you agree that your campaign will be sugar-free, accepting no contributions from any source with ties to the sugarcane industry?
    Yes
    Candidate Comment:

    My opponent has taken thousands from US Sugar. I will not. And I will work with the state's federal elected officials to roll back the sugar subsidy. There is no reason for it to burden the state any longer.

  • Question 5 : Yes
    5) The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has identified two strategies for improving water quality: Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) and the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of excess pollutants and nutrients. The state has failed to sufficiently fund testing, standardization, staffing and consequential goals, resulting in negligible progress on water quality. Do you agree with the need to fully fund BMAP and TMDL monitoring and enforcement, establish unified standards and to pursue reporting accountability?
    Yes
    Candidate Comment:

    As I said above, I think the BMAP/TMDL system is a failure from the start. I will look into whether it has any potential, but I think we need unified, statewide standards, or as close to it as possible (allowing for natural variation in water quality). Plus, the system is too easily politicized. Look at FDEP's BMAP map. There is a large grey area that I call the phosphate watershed, from the Bone Valley to the Gulf Coast, where there are no BMAPS at all, 100% impaired waterbodies, like the abandoned landscape it is. The FDEP and the legislature aren't even trying to do anything about the Peace, Alafia, Little Manatee and even the Wild & Scenic Myakka.