2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking

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  • Q3
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Charlie Crist

Governor - DEM

2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses

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

  • Question 1 : Yes
    1) In response to blue-green algae blooms and red tide events, the State created the Blue-Green Algae and Harmful Algal Bloom/Red Tide Task Forces to study the problem and propose solutions. But only a few of the task forces' recommendations have been adopted. Do you support full implementation of all task force recommendations, including requiring the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to adopt EPA guidelines for blue-green algae toxins as new water quality standards in Florida?
    Candidate Comment:

    Clean water is essential for the health of every Floridian -- and for the health of our precious environment. But it is also essential for a healthy economy. Red Tide causes $20 million in tourism-related losses each year in Florida. My Clean Water for All plans calls for implementing the recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae and Harmful Algal Bloom/Red Tide task forces. As a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee in Congress, I’ve helped secure $36.5 million in research to prevent and fight harmful algal blooms.

  • Question 2 : Yes
    2) As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to finalize the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), Florida's sugar industry and other "water supply" interests have advocated for greater state control over water management decisions. This could result in more water kept in the lake, increasing the chance of toxic discharges to the coasts and damage to the ecology of the lake itself. Do you support giving the Army Corps of Engineers authority to operate Lake Okeechobee in a manner that prioritizes reduction of discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries, and maximizes the flow of clean water south to the Everglades?
    Candidate Comment:

    Florida's ''liquid heart'' has been polluted for decades, and tons of legacy pollution along with flood control efforts and the lake's natural geography have vexed efforts to fully restore the lake. Communities around the lake and coastal communities on the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers have been the ones paying the price for Lake Okeechobee polluters for too long. Given the competing interests involved in lake height and discharges, the decisions about lake height and discharges should be science-based and serve the best interest of Florida’s ecosystem. The ultimate goal is full Everglades restoration in which water is cleaned as it gradually flows south, but until then, coastal communities and the wildlife in our estuaries deserve a clean water governor – not a governor who ignores water quality or who appoints sugar lobbyists to represent them on critical Lake O decision making boards. I’ve toured the Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River. I know how important clean water is to our health, our environment, and our economy.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) The degradation of water quality throughout Florida has in turn led to a significant decline in seagrass. Among other things this has led to an alarming rise in manatee deaths as their food and habitat is destroyed. Despite this, in 2022 the Florida Legislature passed measures which could increase nutrient pollution in our waters, and debated a seagrass "mitigation banking" bill that some experts believe could actually cause a further decline in seagrass. If elected, will you oppose and potentially veto seagrass mitigation banking and other legislation that could add to the nutrient load in our waters or which in any way could inflict further harm on our seagrasses?
    Candidate Comment:

    I oppose seagrass mitigation banking and stand with environmental groups that worked to kill legislation in 2022 that would have allowed the state to grant easements for mitigation banking. We should not allow the destruction of seagrass beds in exchange for replanting efforts that have been largely unsuccessful, and we need to work harder to preserve existing seagrasses and help them recover from runoff and other pollution. The manatee starvation crisis is a devastating reminder that we must be stewards over our entire ecosystem. As governor, I would make real investments in seagrass restoration, not playing games.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    4) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Task Force all report that agriculture is the dominant source of phosphorus and nitrogen within impaired watersheds in Florida. Yet the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ best management practices (BMP) program remains voluntary, BMPs have never been field verified to reduce pollution, the state does little to verify compliance and agricultural producers enrolled in BMPs are afforded the "presumption of compliance." Do you agree industries and property owners should be held to enforceable pollution standards; that BMPs should be mandatory; that the "presumption of compliance" should end and regulators should implement systemic inspection/testing programs?
    Candidate Comment:

    Pollutants from farms and ranches such as fertilizers, manure and pesticides harm drinking water, kll fish and trigger algae blooms. My Clean Water for All plan calls for strengthening regulations regarding run-off from agricultural lands and strengthening best management practices to reduce runoff and water use. Everyone in this race knows that rules are only as good as your willingness to enforce them. The past four years have seen the governor and the agriculture commissioner asleep at the wheel, failing to hold polluters accountable for their runoff. This is why my Clean Water for All plan calls for fully staffing the Department of Environmental Protection and appointing a director with a history of environmental advocacy.

  • Question 5 : Yes
    *5) Special interests spend lavishly to influence elections in Florida, with the sugar industry, 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?
    Candidate Comment:

    I am not accepting contributions from sugar, phosphate and utility industries in my campaign for governor. However, I need to raise enough money to compete against Gov. DeSantis and more than 40 billionaires nationwide who are funding his campaign. There may be contributions from other industries that generate pollution, but as governor I will work to enforce tough regulatory standards to reduce pollution, I will appoint an environmentalist to run the Department of Environmental Regulation and I will ensure that DEP has enough staff and financial resources to carry out its mission and hold polluters accountable. I am the only candidate in this race with a comprehensive Clean Water plan and a record of taking on Big Sugar. I am the only candidate who actually bought sugar land to send water south, and I’ll do it again. I am not afraid to fight the powerful special interests for clean water because I know the people of Florida are on our side.