St. Johns Riverkeeper and Sierra Club decry Green Slime legislature

St. Johns Riverkeeper and Sierra Club decry Green Slime legislature
Jacksonville media turn out for the Green Slime protest on Apr. 15. St. Johns Riverkeepr Lisa Rinaman,  right, and Janet Stanko, chair of the Sierra Club of Northeast Florida, speak about the toxic effects of algae outbreaks in the rivers

Jacksonville media turn out for the Green Slime protest on Apr. 15. St. Johns Riverkeepr Lisa Rinaman, right, and Janet Stanko, chair of the Sierra Club of Northeast Florida, speak about the toxic effects of algae outbreaks in the rivers

The St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club Northeast Florida Group, and concerned citizens and businesses came together in one of 10 state-wide events on Apr. 15 to demand clean water and urge legislators to oppose HB 7115 and SB 1808 – bills that would leave the St. Johns River and Florida’s waters and our communities without protection against toxic algae outbreaks.
Janet Stanko, Sierra Club, said the difference between prevention and restoration is two-fold. First, it costs more to restore; second, who pays? “Polluters pay for prevention,” she said. “But the taxpayer pays for restoration.” She also noted that this will be a financial issue for future generations.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman echoed Stanko’s statement. “The bills have many loopholes to let the polluters not pay their fair share,” she said. “Defeating these bills is so important now; it’s more cost-effective to do it now because this is a problem we can’t buy our way out of.” She noted that not limiting nutrient pollution is both a health and an economic problem, especially for those who earn a living off the water.

Ray Hetchka of Kayak Amelia stated that what goes into the St. Johns upriver ends up in Amelia and he can’t put customers on the water when the quality is compromised. “The issue is not new though,” he explained. “We’re finally getting the gumption to stop pushing it off.”
Ten communities across the state are at risk from toxic algae fueled by nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) pollution: Jacksonville,  St. Petersburg, Gainesville, Sarasota, Merritt Island, West Palm Beach, Palm City, Ocala,
Ft. Myers, and Orlando.

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