2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking

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J. R. Gaillot

Commissioner of Agriculture - 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:

    Algal Bloom/Red Tide is deadly and can no longer be handled with a retroactive approach. I support EPA guidelines for blue-green algae toxins and a seizure of fertilizers that do not meet environmental standards, which will stop the problem before it happens.

  • 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:

    It is essential that we protect the Everglades and do everything in our power to maximize the flow of clean water to it. I will support this mission, and ensure further protection of Florida’s water.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) Each year Florida's sugar industry burns nearly half a million acres in preparation for harvest, blanketing communities in the Glades region with smoke and ash while wealthier communities to the east are protected by laws that prohibit burning when winds blow their way. Research has shown affected communities are more vulnerable to respiratory disease and other illnesses. If elected, will you push for a 27-30 mile burn buffer to protect residents in communities south of Lake Okeechobee, and advocate the sugar industry transition away from burning and toward more sustainable "green harvesting?"
    Candidate Comment:

    This is a problem which attacks marginalized communities, and contributes to pollution and climate change. I plan on declaring sugar burning as negligence and ensuring that this practice is stopped with enforcement of the Florida Forest Service. I plan on instilling more green harvesting practices in order to protect our communities and provide for a more efficient economy.

  • 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:

    For too long we have let these people break pollution laws and prey on Florida’s environment. I won’t let them push me around when I’m in office. I agree that everyone must be held to pollution standards and we need further investigation. I have plans to end agricultural runoff, sugarcane burning, phosphate mining, oil fracking, and more by enforcing pollution standards.

  • 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?