Manatee officials object to proposed fertilizer legislation

SARASOTA — Manatee County officials Monday joined others from around the state to oppose a legislative bill they said would hamper their ability to restrict pollutants in local waterways.

The group, comprised of officials and citizens representing Manatee, Sarasota, Lee, Martin and Pinellas counties, objected to House Bill 421 during coordinated press conferences at various sites.

Speakers said the bill would gut local ordinances governing the management of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers, which can cause “nutrient pollution” like algae blooms and red tide.

“We fear that HB 421 will prevent local government from implementing and enforcing our own ordinance, which we believe best suits our community,” wrote Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie in a statement read during a Sarasota press conference.

“HB 421, even in its amended form, would limit Manatee County’s ability to restrict the pollutants that reach our lakes, streams rivers and bays,” he wrote.