The election is over; the fight for clean water is not

The 2022 general election has come and gone; how, ultimately, will it impact Florida’s troubled waters?

We’ll find out soon enough.

Two VoteWater endorsed candidates prevailed last night; Congressman Brian Mast won re-lection to his 21st District seat; in the Florida House District 60 race, Lindsay Cross came out on top.

These were the first two endorsements we announced this cycle, and the results are great news for fans of cleaner water. Mast has bee n a vocal champion for stopping harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee, has rejected Big Sugar campaign cash and worked with local clean-water groups for better water management policies.

Cross, who is currently Director of Water and Land Policy for Florida Conservation Voters, is an invaluable addition to the state Legislature. Florida now has a bona fide conservationist in the state House, and Cross is extremely well-versed in the challenges – and opportunities – as we continue to push for cleaner water.

For most voters across Florida and the country last night, clean water and the environment in general was low on the list of concerns. There are few acute crises; without guacamole-thick blue green algae clogging our rivers and pervasive red tide or extensive fish kills, it’s out of sight, out of mind.

And we truly hope Florida’s water woes remain out of sight.

But as VoteWater Executive Director Gil Smart notes in this article on Gov. Ron DeSantis’s environmental record, Florida’s next water crisis is perpetually just around the corner.

With red tide brewing off the west coast in the wake of Hurricane Ian, another storm, Nicole, set to slam the Atlantic coast today and perhaps trigger discharges from Lake Okeechoee;

With our springs continuing to degrade, manatees continuing to die off, no solution for lost seagrass in the northern Indian River Lagoon and elsewhere around Florida, and development continuing to put pressure on clean water resources everywhere around the state – we’ve solved exactly NONE of our problems.

They are merely lying dormant. They’ll be back.

When it happens, VoteWater will push harder than ever before for solutions. We’ll advocate for better policy, for cracking down on polluters, we’ll urge decision-makers to make the politically tough choices that ultimately have to be made. We’ll pressure public officials to do the right thing – and call them out when they don’t.

We’ll continue to dig into “dirty money,” the special interest campaign cash that prevents progress on clean water. We’ll take deep dives on other key topics affecting our waterways.

Our weekly newsletters, blog and social media posts will strive to keep you informed. And at election time, we’ll continue to insist clean water must be part of the conversation.

For while the 2022 election has come and gone, the fight for cleaner water goes on.