2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking

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  • Q1
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  • Q3
  • Q4
  • Q5
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Nicole “Nikki” Fried

Governor - 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:

    Protection and improvement of water quality in Florida is was one my my highest priorities when I ran for Agriculture Commissioner in 2018, and remains one of my highest priorities today. The Task Forces have finalized common sense scientific solutions that must be implemented appropriately, considering both the resource’s needs and ability of the state to monitor and maintain the economic value of these precious resources. Clean water and a healthy environment allows our population and business community to survive and thrive in an ever changing environment. We must also build a more resilient Florida, including our environment and waterways, in the face of a changing climate.

  • 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:

    The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan must be implemented in a manner that respects existing state and federal law. While seeking to minimize harm for all the stakeholders within the greater Everglades ecosystem. The regulatory and operational programs must meet the existing legal requirements. I support maximizing the flow of clean water south under this framework, as well as the implementation of vital projects to increase storage in the system and reduce discharges into estuaries.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) The degradation of water quality throughout Florida has in turn led to a significant decline in seagrass. Among other things this has led to an alarming rise in manatee deaths as their food and habitat is destroyed. Despite this, in 2022 the Florida Legislature passed measures which could increase nutrient pollution in our waters, and debated a seagrass "mitigation banking" bill that some experts believe could actually cause a further decline in seagrass. If elected, will you oppose and potentially veto seagrass mitigation banking and other legislation that could add to the nutrient load in our waters or which in any way could inflict further harm on our seagrasses?
    Candidate Comment:

    The minimization of nutrient loading into state waters, and the protection/restoration of seagrass habitat is of critical importance. The seagrass mitigation concepts of today are not structured in a way that adequately protects and restores this precious resource. I will work to develop projects and programs to truly ensure protection and restoration of seagrass habitats in our coastal waters.

  • 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:

    Florida law dictates that we must achieve a balance between agricultural production and water quality improvement. Under my leadership, the FDACS Office of Agricultural Water Policy has successfully undertaken site visits for producers enrolled in the Best Management Practices program, ensuring that the applicable BMPs for the site are being properly implemented. Additionally OAWP has referred to FDEP lists of producers that are not enrolled or refuse to undertake site visits within impaired water bodies. OAWP additionally continues to work to update BMPs to incorporate the latest science and technical research. BMPs are mandatory and must be properly implemented. The "presumption of compliance" is only tied to those applicable practices that, when properly implemented and regularly confirmed, will balance the impacts of agricultural production with the water quality improvements needed to protect the precious natural resources of Florida.

  • 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?