2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking

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Jeffrey “Bongi” Buongiorno

United States House District 21 - REP

2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses

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

  • Question 1 : No
    1) 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?
    Candidate Comment:

    States are particularly well-situated to address regional water management issues and are better positioned to effectively interact with private landowners. Especially regional water management authorities like our South Florida Water Management District and it’s experienced Governing Board. While the federal government agencies do play a critical role in keeping the regulatory playing field level between states as it relates to the CWA, we need to allow Florida leaders sufficient time to ramp up resources and staff to better accommodate today’s growing pains especially as it relates to increased permit demand (caused high growth from new families and businesses migrating south from the northeast to live and work in Florida. Once this is complete, greater state and local influence will likely expand wetland protections here in Florida as I believe that a government closest to the people has the best potential to govern best or at minimum, is much easier to directly access and hold accountable. Having greater access to local and state leadership on issues of water quality means greater ability to drive decision making on matters important to our community.

  • Question 2 : No
    2) 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?
    Candidate Comment:

    While I absolutely support common sense local and state initiatives/laws that work to make Florida’s waters safer and cleaner for everyone, including manatees, if the EPA (Federal Government) were to take action and compel Florida to upgrade water standards not already legislatively authorized (which would apply equally to all other states), the EPA’s effort would likely be ruled unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court has previously held that state legislatures are not subject to federal direction and any effort to compel a state to upgrade water quality standards could be interpreted to 'commandeer' a state government into the service of federal regulatory purposes, and would for this reason likely be inconsistent with the Constitution's division of authority between federal and state government in violation of the Tenth Amendment. However, using the carrot approach rather than the stick, may be more effective. Prioritize your efforts to seek additional Federal funding in the form of direct funding to the states or specialized grants which can then be used to incentivize and fund specific water quality projects in Florida.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) 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?
    Candidate Comment:

    Provided that the local communities support the effort and the science behind the concept has been validated and has been determined to be sound. Furthermore, the budget to accomplish such a project should be proportionate to the actual impact in increased water quality. Spending a billion in tax dollars to treat and store 100,000 gallons would obviously be a misuse of taxpayer money.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    *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?
  • Question 5 : Yes
    5) 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?