The Florida Senate didn't kill SB 2508 — Now what?
Senate Bill 2508, pushed by Sen. Ben Albritton and backed by Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, has ignited the ire of clean-water advocates across the state.
Despite a fast and furious response from the environmental community, it sailed through the Senate Appropriations Committee Feb. 9 and an amended version passed the full Senate on Feb. 17, in a 37-2 vote — a display of disregard for the will of the people.
Though a late-filed amendment by Albritton removed the most egregious provisions related to the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual and clarified Everglades infrastructure funding, we remain seriously concerned about language in the bill that would: allow public entities such as utilities to expedite environmental resource permits safeguard water shortage rules that protect Big Sugar over the environment; and trigger significant changes to the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.
During this Clean Water Conversation, we'll dig into the details of what this legislation means for the Greater Everglades, why the response from state lawmakers was so infuriating, and what the next steps will be to stop it. South Florida Water Management District governing board member Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, wetlands law and policy expert Roy Gardener of Stetson University College of Law and Friends of the Everglades Policy Director Gil Smart will join us during a conversation moderated by our Executive Director Eve Samples.
Royal C. Gardener is a Professor of Law at Stetson Law and Director at Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy. He is an internationally recognized expert in wetland law and policy. His research focuses on U.S. and international wetland legal and policy issues, with an emphasis on biodiversity offsets.
Jacqui-Thurlow Lippisch is a current at-large governing board member of the South Florida Water Management District. She is the author of the blog Indian River Lagoon, a former member of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, and a former mayor and commissioner of the Town of Sewall's Point, Florida.
Gil Smart was a high-profile newspaper columnist and investigative reporter, often covering Florida’s many environmental follies, for more than three decades before joining Friends of the Everglades as Policy Director. He took on the additional role of Executive Director for VoteWater in December 2021.
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