Linda Thompson Gonzalez
Florida House District 100 - DEM
2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking
Linda Thompson Gonzalez
Florida House District 100 - 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?
Yes. Because Florida is basically a giant water system, what happens in one part of Florida affects what happens in another. That is to say any pollution in one part eventually flows and affects the other part of our fragile Florida eco-system. Our dear manatees are effectively our canaries in our mines telling us that something is terribly out of balance. We must correct the imbalance and remove the pollutants that are causing this problem. Our own health, and economic future depend upon this.
- 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?
Yes we need to develop a whole-of-state approach to pollution reduction throughout Florida. Just as the US EPA worked with car manufacturers to solve a problem and get the lead out of our gasoline, we need to work with farmers, and all others throughout our state where there are major pollution impacts on the land, to develop standards and a transparent mandatory compliance process. Best practices and crop rotation -- such as using rice with field flooding instead of pesticides -- and other methods to reduce chemicals could make Florida -- as major agricultural state -- a leader and model for the future of chemical free farming. There are also exciting initiatives in the planting of hemp as a replacement for many of the plastic products that are now polluting our waterways and putting forever chemicals into our water, air and soil. We also need to review other areas of major land use north of the Lake to see if what other factors may be contributing to pollution, A transparent system of compliance and testing is in everyone's best interests and can serve as an incentive for those who are working hard to comply. Their initiatives and successes should be highlighted and held up as models for others.
- 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?
Yes. Reasonable user fees should be established, especially for for-profit entities and bottled water companies that are using our public resource
- 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?
Yes. Our state legislators are elected to serve our public interests, and they need to establish public policies free of the conflict of interest that these donations present. As a former Assistant Inspector General at a major US Department, I have fought for good governance against the corruption and abuse that these conflicts of interest create. We must work for the public interests not the privileges of a few. Our health and well-being, as well as our economic future, depend upon our dedication to protecting the magnificent natural resources of our state for all of our people now, and for our future generations.
Clean water is the basis for all that happens in Florida, from our tourism and maritime industries to our healthy ecosystem that makes Florida the place we all want to live. But our state legislature has failed to protect our most precious resource -- our clean water. The state has issued 23,000 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permits, 10% of the nation’s total, allowing industry to pollute Florida’s waters. Our state regulatory system fails to adequately protect us and waterways from pollution. Half of our waters are impaired, at least 80% of our springs are polluted by excessive nitrogen. Our wetlands are being filled and developed. LITERALLY tons and tons of fish and marine life have died. Blue-green algae blooms are becoming the “new normal” and are being linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Our state legislature needs to mandate a permit process that protect our clean water and properly fund the state EPA so that they have the necessary staff and expertise with the requisite independence to protect our water and our environment. Our health, our nature and our economy need clean water, and our future depends upon it.