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Florida Needs the Right to Clean and Healthy Waters

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  • Why does Florida need a Right to Clean and Healthy Waters?
    There are at least a dozen reasons why our system of laws has failed. Listen also to the experienced, insightful Voices of Florida, united in the position that what we've been doing isn't working. Florida needs this constitutional amendment. It has become clear that the current system of water protection has failed; the state executive branch is not enforcing clean water legislation according to environmental laws, legislative intent and constitutional policy. The proof of dysfunction frequently makes national news, with routine harmful algal blooms, fish and wildlife mortality events and public notices of pathogenic or toxic contamination of our waters. It’s not okay. People suffer, wildlife suffers, property values suffer, businesses suffer, communities suffer. Waiting for political solutions in a system that favors pollution industries financing those politics – is a fool’s game. We need a clear, simple, legal solution to restore the necessary checks and balances for such a critical necessity to all lives – water.
  • What does the amendment do?
    It creates a fundamental right to clean and healthy waters, clarifies prohibited actions and inactions that harm (or threaten to harm) waters, and defines important terms. It also allows Floridians to enforce this right through the ability to sue state executive agencies that violate this right, empowering courts to look at the science and truth (and not politics) of what’s going on before awarding equitable relief to the situation.
  • How does this affect me?
    This constitutional amendment protects your fundamental right to clean and healthy waters, so however that may affect you – from safe / available drinking water to being able to walk along your favorite shoreline without toxins in the air -- this amendment empowers Floridians to protect themselves, their families, their communities and future generations from unnecessary, government-permitted harm.
  • Will this raise my taxes?
    No. The top functional reason is Florida's current surplus of revenue, which can easily be allocated appropriately to fix the state water protection / management system without raising taxes. Here's last year's announcement of a nearly $22 Billion surplus. Water and wastewater infrastructure is a basic "must" and should have received priority maintenance / improvements for decades instead of being neglected. Such a correction is based on the state's preexisting duty, is fully within the wheelhouse, and would go a long way to mitigating current (continuing) sources of pollution...esp. for the expected uptick in population growth. The main *legal* reasons include: 1) The Florida Constitution prevents a state income tax and otherwise protects taxpayers from having the state impose NEW taxes or RAISE them. 2) As you may know, there was a 2018 constitutional amendment that now requires a 2/3 supermajority vote in order to increase any state tax or fee. That would be difficult to do, and highly unlikely. An important consideration in the big picture is that Florida's tax base depends on a healthy tourism industry (sales tax), which helps make up for the lack of an income tax. As you may also know, Florida's tourism depends heavily on clean water, so we're right back where we started. We can't afford to not have clean water. We're currently wasting hundreds-of-millions of taxpayer dollars nearly every year, cleaning up and restoring impaired waters where the pollution was preventable.
  • Who can sue?
    Any “person” can sue, which includes “any individual, partnership, joint venture, corporation; any group of the foregoing to include nonprofit organizations; any tribal entity; or any government entity.”
  • Who can be sued?
    A “state executive agency” includes “the Governor; the Cabinet and members of the Cabinet; each State executive officer and State executive department, and each State executive departmental unit described in Section 20.04, Florida Statutes; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; each water management district; and each officer and governmental entity of the executive branch having statewide jurisdiction or jurisdiction in more than one county.”
  • What type of harm is prohibited?
    Generally speaking, harm includes water pollution and anything that disrupts the water’s natural flow or ecological systems. “Harm” as it’s defined in the amendment means “the introduction of pathogens, contaminants, or toxins into waters or the disruption of natural hydrological or ecological processes or functions of waters. This term includes but is not limited to such chemical, biological, or physical stressors to waters that contribute to unnatural water levels or nutrient loads; that remove, fragment, or degrade habitat of native fish or wildlife; that disturb vegetation or soil near the edge of waters; that introduce exotic or invasive species; that obstruct or divert natural flow; that overexploit native species; and that negatively affect the health of humans or of native fish or wildlife.”
  • Which waters will be protected?
    “Waters” as defined in the amendment refers to “the aquatic ecosystems of aquifers, bays, creeks, estuaries, estuarine systems, lagoons, lakes, rivers, riverine systems, springs, streams, wetlands, intracoastal and coastal waters within the boundaries of the State of Florida and shall include the natural tributaries and artificial waterways which impact these water bodies. This term shall include fresh, brackish, saline, tidal, surface, ground and underground water associated with these water bodies.”
  • How do we know the state legislature or governor won’t undermine the will of the voters for this initiative like they did others?
    This amendment is specifically drafted to be self-executing, which means it does not need further legislation to implement it or enable its intended effects. Likewise, drafters paid intricate attention and researched bodies of law relevant to how every word could be interpreted by courts. Will this prevent attempts to block or undermine it? No. We expect well-resourced opposition will do what it possibly can to impede this from taking effect, but we have to trust in the courts to abide by notions of truth, the public interest and the very purpose and principles of good government and constitutional law. We don’t expect it to be easy.
  • How can I learn more about the amendment?
    We are happy to answer questions by email (admin@floridarighttocleanwater.org) or schedule an informational session with you or your organization, at your convenience.
  • Don't we have enough laws to protect our waters?
    Yes and no. Florida has some of the most robust language to protect and conserve its natural resources, but it has unfortunately missed the mark in interpreting key terms of art (such as "the public interest," "harm," or standards of water health), and in providing adequate prioritization of critical functions in environmental protection, and in enforcing the laws already on the books. Constitutional clarity is necessary to guide state actions and decisions on inaction to ensure no harm, or threat of harm, comes to Florida waters. This can only happen through a constitutional provision meeting certain ("green amendment") criteria. Excerpted from Maya van Rossum's comments: "Florida’s existing water protection laws are clearly inadequate given the conditions on the ground. They fail to address the problem of cumulative impacts. They fail to prevent environmental sacrifice zones impacting BIPOC and low-income communities. They fail to address every scenario including emerging contaminants. The focus of current environmental laws is pollution management rather than prevention, which allows many of these problems to be created and grow, and of course there are concerns regarding implementation and enforcement due to political and financial constraints. The FL Green Amendment will provide the overarching substantive, constitutional and legal guidance and mandates essential for addressing those serious scenarios when the laws can’t, won’t or don’t address the problem."
  • Don't we have a constitutional amendment already to abate water pollution?
    The Florida Constitution does not include an enforceable right to abatement of water pollution. Article II, section 7(a) states in pertinent part: "Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution...." This section is a policy statement and does not create any enforceable Constitutional rights. Furthermore, Article II, section 7(b) states in part: "Those in the Everglades Agricultural Area who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection Area or the Everglades Agricultural Areas shall be primarily responsible for paying the costs of abatement of that pollution." The Florida Supreme Court determined that this amendment to the Florida Constitution is not self-executing, effectively nullifying its effect. -- Excerpted from JKoons Comments.
  • Isn't the State's requirement to show "compelling evidence of public benefit" too large of a legal loophole?
    From JKoons Comments: "This argument misapprehends the terms, nature, and effect of the compelling state interest test that flows from fundamental Constitutional rights. For governmental action to withstand strict scrutiny under this test, “it must be necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest and must be narrowly tailored to advance that interest” by the least intrusive means. It would not be correct to say that, in the face of a fundamental right, a state agency can simply assert a public benefit or public interest to uphold a permit that harms Florida's waters. In fact, the ability of agencies to find shelter in the purported public interest in a permit to pollute is a large part of the reason Florida’s waters are in such a state of decline. The proposed amendment creates a completely different and higher level of inquiry – one that places the burden on the defendant to demonstrate a compelling and narrowly tailored interest to justify continuing to harm Florida waters."
  • What about the assertion that "existing conditions will not be remedied, only future impacts to waters"?
    The amendment would not be able to address an action or inaction causing harm to Florida waters that occurred previous to the amendment’s effective date due to the ex post facto doctrine. That said, if a plaintiff can prove that an action (or policy of inaction) after the effective date causes continuing harm or threat of harm, it could be. In other words, an ongoing source of pollution (even if it began previous to the effective date) could be declared a violation and stopped / abated, which would help to remedy existing conditions over time – depending on the problem set at issue. From JKoons Comments: "This assertion does not raise any deficiency of the proposed amendment. It could be made regarding any environmental law that is enacted, as due process generally forbids retroactive application. However, the amendment clearly applies to conditions that exist at the time of a violation and allows for equitable relief to restore waters to the condition that existed prior to the violation. Consequently, the amendment is clearly worded so that existing conditions can be remedied."
  • Isn't it too wordy / long? "Excess language is ripe for misapplication and potential challenges."
    While a short and simple green amendment (whether it’s focused on water only or including air and the environment) would be ideal, due to the exhaustive research of relevant Florida (Supreme Court) case law, there was no option but to provide specifics where it was appropriate to do so. The length, format and design (“construction”) of the amendment was done to ensure – to the greatest legal degree of certainty – to survive Florida Supreme Court review (notice and single subject requirements) and post-enactment challenges, while achieving the desired scope of effects for water protection. From JKoons Comments: "There is no excess language in the amendment. Every word is necessary, given the idiosyncrasies of Florida law and the complexity of the problem of water quality in the state. Simply put, the language in each of the subsections is essential to a valid, effective, and enforceable Constitutional provision."
  • What about the assertion that "multiple phrases lack useful standards such as 'harm.' Numerous legal efforts to correct 'imbalances in flora and fauna' have failed (the Everglades; various springs) under this same notion of 'harm.'"
    It’s important to remember that all previous legal efforts were aimed at and within the current (dysfunctional) system. Amending the state constitution with clear definitions – to include “harm” – shifts the analysis and treatment to a different level. Officials are unable to locally / regionally interpret away harm or other critical standards if it contravenes the amendment’s plain text and meaning. Excerpted from JKoons Comments: "The initiative provides legally cognizable standards to guide courts in fashioning remedies. As a Florida Constitutional Law professor, I am mindful that enforceable provisions require clear standards. It is an irony that the length of the amendment has been criticized (above), when so much of the language is dedicated to ensuring that legally significant provisions are accompanied by appropriate standards. The historical failure of the legal system to correct imbalances in flora and fauna is an example that supports this proposed amendment. That failure has been perpetuated in a legal framework that is not based on a fundamental Constitutional right with remedial enforcement. By changing the legal framework, this proposed amendment also seeks to change the analysis and results."
  • What about the "potential for concern about the approach to the separation of powers. There appears to be a need to 'enjoin' the legislative branch and thereby extend enforceability beyond the executive branch, which is applying rules promulgated by the legislative branch."
    To note, the real separation of powers problem is the status quo: Too much legislative and judicial power has been inappropriately delegated to the executive branch. The amendment aims only at the state executive branch, clearly avoiding the substantial altering / performance of all other government functions, etc., which was a foundational and continuing consideration when drafting the amendment. Excerpted from JKoons Comments: "The proposed amendment is carefully circumscribed to honor the principle of separation of powers. Let’s be clear on separation of powers and the requirements of the Supreme Court for ballot review. The gravamen of the doctrine of separation of powers is that one branch of government may not encroach on the core functions of a coordinate branch. See Fla. Const. art. II, section 3. This initiative focuses on the actions and inactions of state executive agencies due to the enormous effect they have, both positively and negatively, on water quality in the state. That choice is also mandated by the single subject test that is applied by the Supreme Court to determine if a citizens’ initiative is eligible to be placed on the ballot after it receives the threshold number of verified signatures. If the initiative were to identify remedies against other branches or parties, it would certainly run afoul of the single subject requirement as well as the principle of separation of powers. Instead, the proposal has been drafted with an eye toward establishing an effective Constitutional right and remedy while avoiding legal errors that would doom the amendment."
  • What about the assertion that "citizens may already legally challenge pollution, whether caused by state action or inaction; the amendment does not fundamentally change or expand this existing right. The amendment focuses solely on litigation with the State and presumes that the only or best way to achieve our clean water goals is through litigation."
    Citizens may already legally challenge pollution by voting only, in theory. Current causes of action available meet a procedural brick wall with PERMITTED sources of pollution, and in many respects, nonpoint source pollution, and it is exceedingly difficult to question the vast discretionary power of executive agencies on their determinations. Sometimes, some courts get it right, but those appear to be anomalies in the big picture. The amendment creates a fundamental and enforceable right to clean and healthy waters, which means every government official who swears to uphold the FL Constitution must do so with this amendment in mind. Only when government officials of the executive branch choose to violate their duty to the state constitution will there be ripe grounds to use the amendment. From JKoons Comments: "As stated above, the Florida Constitution does not provide a legally cognizable right to challenge pollution. There is a qualified statutory right in Florida to bring a claim for damages due to pollution. In a framework that elevates the inquiry to a Constitutional level, the initiative provides a cause of action for declaratory and injunctive relief. Such equitable relief can include stopping a state executive agency from violating the amendment as well as requiring that party to restore waters to the condition that existed prior to the violation. Consequently, the proposed Constitutional amendment changes the entire remedial landscape for challenges to pollution and other types of harm and threatened harm to Florida’s waters. It is also important to note that the campaign for the initiative does not rest on any presumption that “the only or best way to achieve our clean water goals is through litigation.” We recognize that an arsenal of strategies is necessary to achieving a world in which water, as the lifeblood of all living things, is valued and protected. However, we also recognize that a strong enforcement tool, which has been lacking, is a necessary part of that arsenal. It is our hope and belief that this proposed Constitutional amendment will help bolster other approaches that seek to protect and preserve our natural world."
  • What about the "floodgates of litigation" and the assertion that, "by 'equipping' the citizenry with this legal tool, the condition of nearly every waterbody could be litigated. Given that, a plethora of suits would be anticipated and expected to rarely reach satisfactory outcomes, as has been shown in past experience."
    The “floodgates of litigation” argument has been disproven in similarly situated states with environmental rights (“green”) amendments such as Pennsylvania, Montana and recently, New York. This is not a tort, it is a fundamental constitutional right against bad actions or inaction of the state. Courts will likely consider the time it will take for underfunded and understaffed state agencies to “correct course” to comply with constitutional standards when it awards equitable relief – not monetary damages (an important aspect of floodgates) – to address noncompliance. The beauty of equitable relief is that it empowers the court to find the best solution to the case at issue. From JKoons Comments: "The amendment is likely to generate test cases for equitable relief on a strong legal foundation guided by a vision of achieving clean and healthy waters in Florida. Finally, some people believe the proposed amendment will lead to a plethora of lawsuits that will accomplish little and overburden already underfunded and understaffed state agencies. Regarding the lawsuits generated by this amendment, it is anticipated that the amendment would prompt targeted test cases, as is the case with any new amendment. Because the initiative creates a fundamental Constitutional right to clean and healthy water in an enforceable context, this amendment is designed to achieve positive outcomes that have not been possible under existing law. The amendment should also serve the salutary purpose of focusing the efforts of state agencies on prevention of harm rather than permitting of pollution. Regarding the preferred vehicle for remedying poor and threatened water quality, I suggest it is preferable to avoid narrowing our options. Clearly, a strong and enforceable Constitutional right to clean and healthy water is a desirable companion to all of the other approaches available to advocates in Florida." From Maya van Rossum Comments: "Concerns that a constitutional right will open the floodgates of litigation is simply false. We see zero to three actions a year making it to the courts in the three states that have Green Amendments with zero of them being dismissed as frivolous. And every one of these cases has been about serious issues of environmental and public importance. The truth is, even if there was an onslaught of litigation, that would seem to be proof that Green Amendment protections were essential as opposed to being an argument against support and passage."
  • Who helped provide these answers?
    1 - Melissa ("Mel") Martin, Florida attorney, retired USMC Judge Advocate and former adjunct law professor on Water Pollution Law and Environmental Ethics. Led in the collaboration behind the drafting of the Right to Clean and Healthy Waters amendment. 2 - Judith Koons, comments attached. Summary biography: Professor Koons is a retired law professor with a lifelong commitment to social and ecological justice. After practicing law for a number of years, Professor Koons attended Harvard Divinity School and brought sacred commitments into teaching at Barry University School of Law, where she became a leading contributor to the field of Earth Jurisprudence, chaired the Environmental and Earth Law programs, and wrote 12 law review articles, including What is Earth Jurisprudence and The Moral Value of Nature. Professor Koons contributed a substantial amount of time, research, analysis and legal insight in the drafting and perfecting of the amendment's language. 3 - Maya van Rossum, comments attached. An environmental law attorney, advocate and activist for nearly 30 years, her biography can be found at https://forthegenerations.org/our-founder/.
  • Can I see an unaffiliated law professor's take on the constitutional amendment approach?
    Sure thing! https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/greening-state-constitutions "Martha F. Davis is a university distinguished professor at Northeastern University School of Law" and has no affiliation with the Florida Right to Clean Water initiative (nor any leader / coordinator of it). For more information about green amendments, however, we do recommend going to Green Amendments for the Generations (founded and led by Maya van Rossum), who HAS partnered with this initiative, but who is also the leading expert on the issue: https://forthegenerations.org/
  • How did the US Supreme Court Sackett decision and the recent Senate Bill 540 affect us?
    Bottom line up front, it's clear there needs to be NEW legal tools available to account for the major and continuing degradation of environmental protections, to include for Florida waters. Spoiler alert, the Florida Right to Clean and Healthy Waters constitutional amendment is a big one. Listen to the insights and explanations provided by Maya van Rossum, of Green Amendments for the Generations, speaking on the national perspective and Jane West, of 1000 Friends of Florida, speaking about Florida and in her personal capacity:
  • What needs to happen to qualify the initiative for the ballot in 2024?
    We need to collect and verify about 900,000 petition signatures by the end of THIS YEAR, so they can be counted before February 2024, to qualify for the ballot later that year. Every petition needs to be processed through the campaign (either through our headquarters in Fort Myers or by regional ambassadors throughout the state) and delivered by a campaign agent to respective county supervisors of elections. Lots of legwork to be done, which is why we’ll need a strong showing of volunteerism throughout the campaign. Yes, we’ll be engaged in robust fundraising as well to eventually (as soon as possible) launch a paid petitioning effort, but the state legislature has rendered such a necessary measure incredibly expensive with less effectiveness in recent years. In all reality, we’re depending on the will and volunteer time of water-loving Floridians to help make this happen.
  • Who is sponsoring this initiative and coordinating this campaign?
    Currently, the political committee (FloridaRightToCleanWater.org) and Right to Clean Water campaign are led by members of FRONN’s Board of Directors in various and oftentimes multiple capacities. Please visit www.FloridaRightToCleanWater.org/regionalcoordinators to view the campaign's regional coordinators and the counties in which they support campaign operations.
  • What organizations and businesses have publicly supported this?
    There are two points to this answer. On www.FloridaRightToCleanWater.org/supportingorgs, you'll find a list of organizations and businesses who have publicly supported the citizens' initiative, in various ways -- to include posting about it on social media, in their communications with their members / followers, in hosting informational events, in serving as petition locations, in encouraging members to collect petitions, etc. Supporting organizations may change the type and level of support they provide the initiative as time goes on. On www.FloridaRightToCleanWater.org/currentregionalsupport, you'll find a list of groups and businesses actively involved in collecting petition signatures, listed by region and by county.
  • How can I help?
    Individually, you can not only print / sign / mail your petition, you can also get your network of friends and family (registered to vote in Florida) to do the same. Go to www.FloridaRightToCleanWater.org/petition to make this happen. If you would like to volunteer, or if you represent a group or business interested in getting more involved, please register for the Unite for Clean Water effort by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/cqovwAQmFwbUXfGo7 and contact your regional coordinator (whose email can be found on www.FloridaRightToCleanWater.org/regionalcoordinators) to connect in and join the campaign. And of course, in addition to / in lieu of all the above, you are welcome to donate (check out www.FloridaRightToCleanWater.org/donate) and support however, whenever and wherever it's convenient for you to do so. You can help us on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) by following, liking, commenting and sharing. You can write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. You can ask your favorite businesses if they're interested in becoming a Petition Location. There's so much we can all do, and it's all very necessary to accomplish this mission together. Thank you in advance for considering how you can support this critical endeavor!
  • New development that threatens harm to protected waters?
    If a plaintiff can demonstrate how the proposed plan (found in the permit application, for example) threatens harm to protected waters (as defined in the amendment), the court will have the ability to strictly scrutinize the government action (such as the terms of the permit), determine if it violates the plaintiff's constitutional right, and award any equitable remedy, such as declaratory or injunctive relief, the court deems appropriate to the circumstances at hand.
  • Biosolid / fertilizer or insecticide / pesticide application that threatens harm to protected Florida waters?
    If a plaintiff can demonstrate how a state executive agency's policy, rule or regulation threatens harm to protected waters (to include policies of inaction / inadequate action), the court will have the ability to strictly scrutinize this to determine if it violates the plaintiff's constitutional right, and award any equitable remedy, such as declaratory or injunctive relief, the court deems appropriate to the circumstances at hand.
  • What about "legacy loads" that preexist the effective date of the amendment?
    While state executive agency actions / inaction previous to the effective date cannot be scrutinized under this amendment, if a plaintiff can demonstrate how a state executive agency's policy, rule or regulation CONTINUES TO HARM or threaten harm to protected waters after the effective date, the court will have the ability to strictly scrutinize such a decision to determine if it violates the plaintiff's constitutional right, and award any equitable remedy, such as declaratory or injunctive relief, the court deems appropriate to the circumstances at hand. Again, the court has the power to award *equitable* remedies, meaning it will arrive at the most just, fair and practical solution while maintaining an eye to fundamental, constitutional protections. Any "doomsday" scenario alleged against this amendment is immediately quashed under the vigilance and inherent wisdom of the courts.
  • What about the manatees and fish kills?
    Keeping in mind that (unusual) mortality events and other mass wildlife loss are tragic but not always actionable under the law*, the amendment has the ability to scrutinize state executive agency decisions -- actions and inaction -- that created the multi-faceted problem in the first place. Again (see comments under "legacy loads" above), past poor decisions cannot be brought to bear under this amendment; for decades -- centuries, Florida leaders have decimated natural places and systems throughout the state. However, if a plaintiff can demonstrate how a state executive agency's permit, policy, rule or regulation CONTINUES to harm / threaten harm to protected waters, the court will have the ability to strictly scrutinize this to determine if it violates the plaintiff's constitutional right, and award any equitable remedy, such as declaratory or injunctive relief, the court deems appropriate to the circumstances at hand. *There are narrow opportunities to make a legal case against the EPA and Florida DEP for failing their duties, but most case law defers to state agency determinations and leaves it at that. This is why constitutional clarity and an overriding mandate is necessary.
  • What about Piney Point?
    The Piney Point disaster caused 212 million gallons of polluted water to be pumped into Tampa Bay, which in turn exacerbated a red tide. Our amendment could have prevented that disaster because we could have argued that such a disaster would result from continued use of the facility as permitted by the DEP. A court could have ordered the FDEP to rescind the permit. We can’t undo Piney Point, but we can prevent future Piney Points and thus protect our waters from harm.
  • What about Lake Okeechobee?
    There are 32 water basin surrounding Lake Okeechobee that aren’t meeting water quality standards identified in Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs). When the Army Corp of Engineers schedules a release of Lake O water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers, we can file suit claiming the state is threatening the health of these waterways. The court in turn can order the FDEP to ensure BMAPs meet water quality standards through the variety of means available to it: more enforcement, more monitoring, and more scientifically sound means of measuring water BMAP success, among other actions. As pollution is curtailed, Lake O water will become cleaner.
  • What about Biscayne Bay?
    Subject to algae blooms and fish die-offs, Biscayne Bay, fed by polluted waterways in Miami-Dade County, has been on life support in recent years. BMAPS don’t even exist for some of these waterways. With a RTCHW amendment, and through our courts, we could compel the FDEP to create and ensure the implementation of effective BMAPs, thereby improving water quality in the Bay.
  • What about the Indian River Lagoon?
    As answered above, the poor condition of the Indian River Lagoon is due mainly to poor leadership decisions over decades (despite environmental scientists warning otherwise). The amendment cannot undo all the damage that has been done, but it CAN address ongoing sources of pollution and prevent future decisions that would invite further harm.
  • Why would the Republican Party platform support the Right to Clean Water?
    (Reference) A right to clean water will… Support “our constitutional system – limited government, separation of powers, federalism, and the rights of the people [that they] must be preserved uncompromised for future generations.” Support the principle that “the people, not the government, are the best stewards of our country’s God-given natural resources.” Comport with “‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God’; and that the American government is to operate with the consent of the governed.” Aligns with “the Constitution’s fundamental principles: limited government, separation of powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law.” Support “the principle that…government derives its power from the governed and that all powers not delegated to the government are retained by the people.” Exemplify that “conservation is inherent in conservatism…, [that there is a] moral obligation to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country…, [and] that human health and safety are the proper measurements of a policy’s success.” Helps fulfill the “pledge to make government work for the people, rather than the other way around.” Fight “crony capitalism and corporate welfare…[which] distorts the free market and erodes public trust in our political system [as it] multiplies opportunities for corruption and favoritism.”
  • Why would the Democratic Party platform support the Right to Clean Water?
    (Reference) A right to clean water will... Help “curb the corrupting influence of money in politics…” Help “upgrade and make resilient our energy, water, wastewater, and transportation infrastructure.” “Substantially improve water security and ecological health through conservation, protection, and maintenance of our water infrastructure….” “Support healthy coastal communities and marine ecosystems to sustain and enhance our economic well-being, including in the fishing, tourism and clean energy industries.” Bring every [Floridian] “the right to…drink clean water and live without fear of exposure to toxic waste.” “...Make sure that every community…has access to clean, reliable drinking water and safe wastewater systems in their homes…” Help “increase investment in innovative water technologies, including water use efficiency, water conservation, and water reuse and recycling, that reduce water waste and consumer bills.” Help “expand popular, voluntary programs for sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices that help protect clean air and water and support wildlife habitats, including for threatened pollinators.” Reduce “environmental inequities – the social determinants of health like…water pollution…that contribute to worse health outcomes for low-income Americans and people of color.”
  • Why would the Green Party platform support the Right to Clean Water?
    (Reference) A right to clean water will... Proclaim that “Water is a basic human right!” “Implement strong laws to promote conservation, reclaim polluted water systems, develop water-supply restrictions, ban toxics and pesticide dumping, control corporate farming, and bring the rule of law to trans-state and trans-national operations that pollute water systems.” Promote “strong laws with effective enforcement mechanisms to assure a safe and adequate supply of water for its citizens and all life within its borders. “Use an ecosystems/watershed approach to ensure responsible water use.” Help ensure that “Conservation must be an essential part of any water policy.” “Set health and sustainability water quality guidelines for drinking water supported by the peer-reviewed scientific literature.” “Achieve a truly sustainable water policy in the light of climate change considering, for example…aquifer recharge, rising sea levels, and available water supplies.” “Oppose the disproportional political influences of the petroleum, corporate agriculture, mining, timber, real estate and development industries, while working to support family farms, open space, the protection of water quality in our rivers, conservation of watersheds…”
  • Why would the Libertarian Party platform support the Right to Clean Water?
    (Reference) “2.1 Property and Contract…Libertarians would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the rights of others.” “2.2 Environment. Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required." “3.7 Self-Determination. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.”

If you have any questions you don't see here, please contact us at admin@floridarighttocleanwater.org.

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