Business Lobby Sets Sights On Florida Water Policy

Feb 21, 2014

Credit Fammy / Flickr/Creative Commons

A pro-business lobbying group has set its sights on Florida water policy.

Following some tough years for water quality in the state, there’s bipartisan support in the Florida Senate now for plans to decrease water pollution. One plan would upgrade sewage treatment plants near polluted springs and upgrade septic tanks in places that can’t hook up to sewers.

But, the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) has concerns. The group said the state already has enough regulatory power to protect water quality.

So, AIF recently created the “Florida H2O Coalition.”

AIF’s Brewster Bevis said it’s an effort to make sure lawmakers pass sound water policy that doesn’t hurt business interests.

“There is a fine line to walk, but of course we can navigate that,” he said. “AIF is going to continue to take the lead in advocating for good sound, scientific comprehensive water quality here in the state.”

Environmentalists warn the state needs to get tough on polluters-- including businesses.

Estus Whitfield with the Florida Conservation Coalition said the interests of a business lobby will likely be at odds with his group’s call to either make new laws or strictly enforce the ones that exist.

“They also care about water but they need the water for production and regulations that restrict either the use or the amount of discharges cost money,” he said.

While the state Senate has drafted legislation, House Speaker Will Weatherford has said he has no plans to take up sweeping changes to the state’s water policy.