2020 Voter Guide Ranking

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Ryan Collins

County Commissioner District 1 - REP

2020 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses

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

  • Question 1 : Yes
    1) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is revising the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). The purpose is to reevaluate and define operations for the entire Lake Okeechobee system, not just the Lake. Do you agree LOSOM should be rewritten to incorporate human health, ecology and the environment as an operational priority with existing operational priorities of flood control, navigation, water supply, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and recreation?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes. With the LOSOM currently only recognizing the five priorities, very crucial elements are not being addressed that greatly affect the current environmental issues as well as the development of the overall plan. Existing provisions such as the savings clause result in farms benefiting from the water supply but causes a huge detriment to the environment and public health. If health, ecology, and the environment are incorporated into the new standards we can ensure those changes are made.

  • Question 2 : No
    2) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Taskforce all report agriculture as the dominant source of phosphorus and nitrogen within most impaired watersheds of Florida. Do you agree industries and property owners should be held to clearly enforceable pollution standards and penalties; including mandatory adoption and verification of best management practices, and to implement inspection programs targeting septic, agriculture and industrial wastewater?
    Candidate Comment:

    I don’t believe there is a clear yes or no response to this question. There are many different elements to consider between environmental stability and property rights along with standing farm operations. I would not say that standards and penalties could never be established but would need to be set in a way that brings appropriate terms and implementation. Being mindful of property rights as well as recognizing the importance of thousands of farming jobs and other economic contributions is important for the crafting of any potential regulations.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) Water is Florida’s greatest natural resource and we should not let it go to waste. Geological water storage methods like Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) and Deep Injection Wells (DIW) are risky in Florida’s fragile and porous bedrock. Independent experts, including the National Academy of Sciences, have called for increasing above ground water storage. Will you prioritize projects for Everglades restoration with above ground storage, filtration marshes and sending water south through the Everglades and down to Florida Bay, the headwaters of the Florida Keys, as nature intended?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes. I believe above-ground storage is the safest, effective, and environmentally friendly way to store and filter water in Florida. It seems to me however that there are circumstances where clay-based ASRs can be used in conjunction with above-ground methods. Above ground water storage allows for additional wildlife habitats but requires additional land purchases as well. The most important objective should be to restore natural flow as much as possible.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    4) The Florida sugar industry steered over $60 million - not including dark money - to candidates in state and local elections between 1994 and 2016, according to the Miami Herald, which reported “on issue after issue, regulators, legislators, and governors have erred on the side of softening the impact of adverse rules and regulations on cane growers...” which increased pollution, shifted cleanup costs to taxpayers, and influenced Lake Okeechobee water management, for the benefit of private irrigation and flood control, to the detriment of the Everglades, Florida Bay and coastal estuaries and communities. Do you agree that your campaign will be sugar-free, accepting no contributions from any source with ties to the sugarcane industry?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes. I do not expect any correspondence or contributions from any companies or organizations related to the sugar industry due to the office I am seeking. However, if the situation were to arise, I would not knowingly accept contributions from any source that has ties to the sugarcane industry.

  • Question 5 : Yes
    5) The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) underestimates the amount of storage capacity for polluted water released from Lake Okeechobee. Will you support acquisition of additional private lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) south of the Lake to augment the EAA Reservoir project for storage, treatment and conveyance of water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay?
    Candidate Comment:

    Yes. The need for additional land in the EAA seems to be agreed upon by most, if not all, advocacy groups. It is an integral part of the process to restore the natural flow. The position I am seeking as a county commissioner limits the involvement in the purchases as compared to a state or federal position. However, I could be most effective in working along with state and federal elected officials in advocating for the purchase of correctly identified parcels. I also think there should be more attempts to establish more public-private relationships with current landowners.