Florida Senate District 38 - DEM
2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking
Florida Senate District 38 - DEM
2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses
To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.
- Question 1 : Yes1) In response to blue-green algae blooms on Florida's east coast and red tide on the west coast, 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 verification/testing of agricultural Best Management Practices and requiring the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to adopt EPA guidelines for blue-green algae toxins as new water quality standards in Florida?
- Question 2 : Yes2) The degradation of water quality throughout Florida has in turn led to a significant decline in seagrass, the primary food source for manatees. Starvation became the leading cause of manatee deaths in 2021 and continues today. Despite this, in 2022 the Florida Legislature passed measures which could actually increase nutrient pollution in our waters, and debated a seagrass "mitigation banking" bill that some experts believe could cause a further decline in seagrass. If elected, will you vote against all legislative proposals that could add to the nutrient load in our waters or which in any way could inflict further harm on our seagrasses?
Fertilizer runoff remains a key issue in the rural, agricultural areas of my district. Among other phenomena affecting water quality, I believe we must find solutions that protect our water table and secure water rights for existing residents.
- Question 3 : Yes3) 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 no testing 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?
Enforcing mandatory Best Management Practices would potentially post challenges to smaller and locally-owned agricultural businesses. To ensure that they can meet compliance, I would sponsor legislation to provide direct support in the form of grants to enable these farms to meet expectations.
- Question 4 : Yes4) Currently, Florida's largest water users are allowed to extract millions of gallons of water each day without paying anything to the state for the use of our most precious natural resource. Over-pumping has harmed Florida's springs, rivers, estuaries and aquifers and cost Florida taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Do you support a reasonable fee on permitted water withdrawals to offset the damage caused by over-pumping?
Part of the cost of doing business in Florida must at least recognize the environmental impacts of our actions. These actions would be especially important in South and Central Florida. Florida taxpayers should not have to pony up the financial burdens of addressing this issue.
- Question 5 : Yes5) 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?
Protecting our coastlines and waterways requires a comprehensive approach that includes all of the industries that stand to be harmed by algal blooms and those that contribute to it. We must develop an environmentally sensitive solution that benefits all parties is involved with a focus on families most affected by these events.