The Florida legislature currently has before it bills to transfer authority to approve Clean Water Act dredge and fill (404) wetland permits from the Army Corps of Engineers (federal) to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (state).
Section 404 permits are for the largest development projects occurring in Florida. There is no provision in the bills to restore DEP funding to pre-Scott levels, leaving DEP woefully underfunded to provide the expertise to review every wetland proposed for destruction by developers. Florida has lost more wetlands than any other state. Our wetlands protect us from flooding, provide essential habitat for wildlife, help replenish the aquifer that provides our drinking water and feeds our springs and help clean our water. These bills are a scam supported by developers to make wetland permitting easier and to assure they get their permits faster. Please help expose this scam and encourage your legislators and Gov. Scott to vote against these bills.
Marsha Wikle, Conservation Chair
Manatee Sierra Club