United States House District 21 - REP
2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking
United States House District 21 - REP
2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses
To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.
- Question 1 : Yes1) In late 2020 the state of Florida became one of three states to assume the wetland dredge and fill permitting authority previously held by federal authorities. The move, enabled by a rule change late in the Trump administration, was challenged in court by conservationists who said it put 6 million acres of Florida wetlands at risk. Subsequently a federal judge ruled the rule change could cause “serious environmental harm” and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has objected to numerous permits granted by the FDEP. Do you believe wetland permitting authority should be returned to the federal government, and wetlands protections should be expanded and prioritized?
- Question 2 : Yes2) Manatee deaths in Florida have captured headlines around the world, with more than 1,100 sea cows dying last year. Many died of starvation driven primarily by the loss of seagrass, a key source of food and habitat that's been decimated by decades of pollution. Any solution must be multifaceted and include significant new spending - but also tougher rules and enforcement. Do you support compelling the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the state of Florida to upgrade water quality standards to meet the Clean Water Act criteria and thereby make Florida’s waters safe and clean for manatees, as well as people?
The fact is that the State of Florida, not the federal government, controls the vast majority of water quality decisions. Where the federal government does affect water quality, however, those federal agencies must be held responsible for cleaning up after their mistakes. What is abundantly clear is that the Florida State Legislature has not done nearly enough to enact enforceable water quality standards, and that needs to be corrected ASAP before it's too late.
- Question 3 : Yes3) When it comes to Everglades restoration, water storage is key. Storage methods like Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) deep-injection wells pose risks in Florida’s porous bedrock, where contaminants like arsenic can leach into the water, and move water too slowly to be an effective means of flood control. Independent experts, including the National Academy of Sciences, have called for increasing above ground water storage. Will you prioritize funding for Everglades restoration projects with above ground storage and filtration marshes that send water south through the Everglades and down to Florida Bay, the headwaters of the Florida Keys, as nature intended?
Through the Water Resources Development Act, I have led the charge in Congress to prioritize the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir ahead of other projects, such as the LOWRP, that will be less effective.
- Question 4 : No*4) Special interests like Florida's powerful sugar industry spend lavishly to influence elections, with "Big Sugar," the phosphate mining industry and big utilities, among others, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to aid candidates who then back their preferred legislation - too often, at the expense of clean water. Do you agree your campaign will accept no contributions from any source with ties to polluting industries including, but not limited to, the sugar, phosphate and utility industries?
I wholeheartedly reject contributions from the sugar industry and phosphate industry. I have accepted contributions from utility companies.
- Question 5 : Yes5) Big Sugar’s clout in Washington D.C. is subsidized by taxpayers. Price supports and import controls in the federal farm bill pad the industry’s profits, inflating U.S. sugar prices an estimated 69 percent above the global price, and providing $1.2 billion worth of support to sugar growers and processors. That means consumers pay more at the grocery store - and allows the industry to spend freely on political campaigns to protect their privilege. The federal Sugar Program is up for renewal in the 2023 Farm Bill. If elected, will you support the growing bipartisan effort to reform and ultimately end sugar price supports?
I was one of only 3 Members of Congress from Florida who voted in favor of reforming the sugar program when the Farm Bill was last voted on, and I continue to support ending price supports for the industry.
I have full confidence that under Governor DeSantis's leadership, the State of Florida will do everything in it's power to protect wetlands; however, the same cannot be guaranteed from future yet-to-be-determined governors. Ultimately, whether done by the state or the federal government, wetlands protections should be prioritized.