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For Environmentalists, House Adjournment Means Do-Over On Florida's Water Policy

The Everglades. Photo: National Parks Service
The Everglades. Photo: National Parks Service

While some interest groups have nothing but complaints about the Florida House adjourning early and leaving unfinished business on the table, environmentalists say it’s a good thing for the state’s ailing waterways.

They say lawmakers now have second chance on reforming the state's water policy.

The water bill that was emerging included protections for the Everglades and springs and encouraged alternative water supplies.

Eric Draper of Audubon of Florida says the water bill that was emerging was a bad one.

"So that gives the Legislature a chance to come back and do a do-over on water policy. We need something that's going to help conserve water and to make sure that water's actually cleaned up, and that bill pretty much endorsed the status quo."

Draper says environmentalists opposed the measure because it failed to advance Lake Okeechobee clean-up and favored polluters.

He says lawmakers are unlikely to bring up the issue during a special session.

State Sen. David Simmons says he'll continue to push for a comprehensive reform.

The Altamonte Springs Republican says the Legislature was close to agreement.

"We're like 95 percent there, and I don't think that we should let that 5 percent keep us from doing what needs to be done."

It's the second consecutive year lawmakers have prioritized Florida's ailing waterways only to agree to nothing.


Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.