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Environmentalists Worry Expanded Property Rights Bill Will Undermine Coastal Resiliency/Conservation Efforts

fish kills april 2021.jpg
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

During the 2021 Annual Florida Legislative Session, state lawmakers passed a pair of bills (HB421 & HB1101) aimed at expanding protections for landowners through the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act.

The measures, currently awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature, authorize property owners to file lawsuits against government entities over local land-use regulations, even if the property owners have no formal development plans that would be impacted.

The bills garnered little attention during the legislative session, but now smart-growth advocacy organizations like 1,000 Friends of Florida say the bills could serve as a weaponization of the Bert Harris Act that could prevent local governments from imposing smart-growth regulations such as conservation of dunes that would undermine the state’s coastal resiliency efforts.

We’ll take a closer look with 1,000 Friends of Florida Policy and Planning Director Jane West.

We’ll also explore current conditions concerning ongoing toxic blue-green and red tide algae blooms with Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani.