December 22, 2009
Happy Holidays to our members, volunteers and their families!
PURRE Chairman Valiquette Addresses Lee County Legislative Delegation
Dec. 22, 2009 - PURRE Chairman Michael Valiquette stood at yet another podium last week to address the Lee County Legislative Delegation at Edison State College.
His message was one of both gratitude to local legislators for progress that’s been made and a request for help or at least awareness for a list of problems that remain. The list was accompanied by firm notice to all that PURRE intends to pursue its mission and raise public awareness of the problems.
Mike’s presentation was one of about 50 during the six-hour session. Due to the number of speakers, time allotted to each was short, so Mike very briefly summarized some of PURRE’s major accomplish-ments, including:
The Army Corps of Engineers is addressing PURRE’s
entire 10-point plan
presented as the ‘Solutions to the Pollution’;
Harmful Algal Bloom legislation, which PURRE helped write,
is in the
final stages of becoming law; and
- Sanibel, Lee County, and many other counties have now enacted fertilizer legislation. In addition, there is a statewide ordinance on the table that PURRE helped draft. While PURRE is against pre-emption, which would allow the state rules to override any stricter measures cities or counties may wish to impose in local legislation, PURRE is working with Senators Nelson and Aronberg to have any such language removed.
- “We believe a statewide ordinance should be a baseline ordinance that the average citizen can follow, and if cities and counties want to increase the regulations, they should be allowed to do that, to go above and beyond” Mike told the legislators. Here Mike articulated a basic PURRE’s philosophy by expressing frustration that other groups had stalled previous attempts to pass a statewide fertilizer ordinance because of pre-emption language.
- “We at PURRE do not take a hard-line attitude when it comes to working with legislators,” Mike explained. “We try to get in back rooms to talk and work things out. We discuss what will work and what will not work. At PURRE, we believe a bill that needs some changes is better than no bill at all. By stalling the fertilizer ordinance, what did we accomplish but giving the polluters one more year to pollute without control?” Mike continued by asking the legislators to work on the spillways and the two western canals leading through the Everglades Agricultural Area to provide emergency automatic flow south of Lake Okeechobee. He added that it is important to fight offshore drilling even as PURRE’s main mission is to take on “inshore” problems.
“What is PURRE going to do as we move forward?” Mike listed for the legislators a number of things PURRE plans to track down and “do what our mission calls on us to do: raise public awareness.”
Here are some of the things he brought to legislators’ attention:
- Over 20 sewer outlets in the Lee County basin are dumping not just overflow but direct treated effluent “fecal matter” into the Caloosahatchee River.
- - The City of Ft. Myers’ box culverts have no filters on them so that all runoff, every single raindrop that falls and picks up any kind of pollution on lawns and streets, washes right into the Caloosahatchee River unfiltered. The city just re-did all the downtown roads and had a perfect opportunity to open up those culverts and add retrofit filters but chose not to spend the money.
- - PURRE is going to try to get the City of Cape Coral to the table to discuss the many problems affecting water quality in that city.
- - “At the state level, TMDLs (total maximum daily loads) of pollutants allowed to flow into bodies of water, are being set by the Department of Environmental Protection and the maximum levels are moving in the wrong direction,” Mike said. That needs to change.
- - The same is true with designated uses; the state is trying to lower them
- - Turning what used to be, to simplify an example, termed “swimmable” water now just “boatable” water and deeming that to be an acceptable condition. It’s not.
The Chairman of the Lee County
Legislative Delegation is:
State Representative Gary Aubuchon
3501 Del Prado Boulevard, Suite 305
Cape Coral, FL 33904
The members of the delegation include:
From the Florida Senate:
Hon. Michael S. Bennett, Dist. 21
Wildewood Professional Park
3653 Cortez Road West, Suite 90, Bradenton, FL 34210
Hon. Dave Aronberg, Dist. 27
6415 Lake Worth Rd., Suite 210, Greenacres, FL 33463
Hon. Burt L. Saunders, Dist. 37
Administration Bldg., Suite 304
3301 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL 34112
From the Florida House of Representatives:
Hon. Michael Grant, Dist. 71
Co. Administration Bldg.
18500 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
Hon. Paige Kreegle, Dist. 72
410 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950
Hon. Nick Thompson, Dist. 73
2120 Main street, Suite 208, Ft. Myers, FL 33901
Hon. Gary Aubuchon, Dist. 74
3501 Del Prado Blvd., Suite 305
Cape Coral, FL 33904
Hon. Trudi Williams, Dist. 75
12811 Kenwood Lane, Suite 212, Ft. Myers, FL 33907
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PURRE Water Coalition Foundation
People United to Restore Our Rivers & Estuaries
2340 Periwinkle Way, Suite J-2, Sanibel, FL 33957
239.472.2703 . Fax: 239.472.2365 . email: email@example.com .