2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking

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Christopher “Doc” Collins

City Commissioner District 3

2022 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 finalizing the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), and while the plan should reduce harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, discharges will still occur when the level of the lake gets too high. Do you agree the Army Corps and the South Florida Water Management District must send more water south during the dry season in order to minimize the possibility of discharges and their impact on human health and the environment?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes, the human health effects of mycrocystin exposure during these discharge events on either coast, needs to be studied in more detail and weighted more heavily in the decision making by ACOE. Right now it feels like a distant runner up compared to Big Sugars desired performance level depth and navigability. Water needs to be cleaned in the EAA reservoir and sent South as well for a variety of reasons including habitat and recharging the aquifer.

  • Question 2 : Yes
    2) Florida is booming, with an estimated 1,000 people moving here every day. As a result, development is pushing growth further into Florida’s rural and natural areas, imperiling wildlife and natural resources like clean water. Will you oppose changes to your county’s Comprehensive Plan/Urban Development Boundary that would allow non-agricultural development in rural areas outside the urban, most densely developed area(s) in your county?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes, this is the main platform of my campaign. My opponent has approved over 2400 units of new development the last 4 years. Merritt voted for comprehensive plan changes in July 2020 that make allowances for increasing density, including counting apartments under 900 sq ft as 1/2 units, thereby effectively doubling the allowable number of apartments, cars and run off that could otherwise be approved. This is unacceptable, especially projects like “Bridgeview” at the base of Veterans Memorial Bridge that sits 212 apartments on the bank of the river.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Task Force 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?
    Candidate Comment:

    The City of Stuart has been working to systematically get City residents hooked up to sewer which is a great first step. Hopefully, the Martin County will see a similar need to clean up the North Fork including the golf course run off.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    4) Key water bodies along the Florida coast, including the Indian River Lagoon and Biscayne Bay, are plagued by excess nutrient pollution which kills seagrass. This in turn has led to increased turbidity and reduced habitat essential for fish, birds, marine mammals, and other marine species. If elected, would you support aggressive measures to address water quality problems, including (but not limited to) a mandatory septic inspection program, increased investment in septic-to-sewer conversions and upgrades to municipal sewage treatment facilities, increased stormwater pollution controls and tougher fertilizer restrictions coupled with strict enforcement?
    Candidate Comment:

    I like the City of Stuarts approach of not permitting septic work while simultaneously incentivizing with discounts for signing up early to the conversion program. This was an effective strategy.

  • Question 5 : Yes
    5) Special interests in Florida spend lavishly to influence elections at the local, state and federal level. The sugar industry, phosphate mining industry and big utilities, among others, spend millions 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:

    Yes, it should be illegal, subsidized industries should be banned from lobbying.