United States House District 19 - REP
2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking
United States House District 19 - REP
2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses
To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.
- Question 1 : No1) 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?
- Question 2 : Yes2) 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?
Enforcement is a problem and should be addressed; however, to say Florida is not meeting these standards without proof of pollution sources seems unfounded. We have many opportunities to educate the population on more responsible means and methods to prevent pollution runoff and can implement in-place treatments in situations where remediation is required. I support reclamation but with my history at USACE, cannot say we are able to track the source of pollution. In fact I believe it to be more of a "superfine site" given the concentrations of nitrates, phosphates, and arsenic within Lake Okeechobee despite lower levels of nutrients flowing into the lake.
- Question 3 : Yes3) 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?
Both reservoirs and ASR's are part of the package solution. The struggle is land acquisition for reservoirs. Additionally these are not flood control devices, these are nutrient loading and salinity control options. I have intimate knowledge of C44, EAA, and C43 reservoirs and cannot stress enough the necessity for stormwater treatment areas (STA's) adjacent or other treatment options.
- 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?
Valid for this campaign for this term (my pledge expires July 2024) I like the pledge idea but cannot support any pledge for any cause without a limit due to changing circumstances. I will gladly reconsider this pledge each term.
- Question 5 : Yes5) 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?
FDEP is an appropriate agency with first-hand knowledge of the specific challenges with Florida. By giving the authority back to the Federal Government we will likely be causing conflict between the two agencies, dealing with the political influences of the EPA which have been shown as of late through Supreme Court decisions, and more importantly burdening federal agencies (EPA and USACE) with issues that should be controlled locally. The states/tribes were given the opportunity to take over this permit process as long as the rules were as stringent as federal law. This allows USACE to better focus its resources to permits that are still applicable in certain waterways and in tidal areas. I have many years working with USACE.