SCCF Announces 2024 Legislative Priorities
As a nonprofit, science-based organization, SCCF is dedicated to the conservation and preservation of Sanibel and Captiva Islands and its surrounding watersheds. Each year during Florida’s legislative session, SCCF’s environmental policy department works to ensure the environment comes first by educating communities on important bills and empowering them to contact lawmakers. The policy team also advocates its priorities to key decision-makers at the local, state, and federal levels.
SCCF’s legislative priorities for the 2024 legislative session (Jan. 9-March 8) are listed below.
“These priorities reflect our commitment to protecting our coastal environments,” said SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis. “By cleaning our water, fostering thoughtful development, protecting our natural areas and standing up for home rule we can preserve the resources and communities that make Florida unique.”
- SCCF supports statutorily increased dedicated funding for the Florida Forever conservation and recreation lands program. Land conservation is critical for supporting Florida’s tourism and nature-based economy.
- SCCF supports prioritizing funding and expediting the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area. The EAA Reservoir Project is critical for reducing the damaging high-volume discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries and rehydrating the Everglades.
- SCCF supports continued funding to complete construction of the C-43 West Reservoir and water quality treatment component. This project is essential for restoring clean freshwater flows to the Caloosahatchee estuary.
- SCCF supports funding for the Lake Hicpochee Phase II Project. The project includes construction of a Flow Equalization Basin (FEB) that will provide an estimated 9,000 acre-feet of shallow storage for local stormwater and Lake Okeechobee regulatory releases that would otherwise go into the Caloosahatchee Estuary.
- SCCF supports full funding for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan to keep projects on track with the Integrated Delivery Schedule. Everglades restoration is essential to improve the health of the Caloosahatchee.
- SCCF will strongly oppose any effort to limit, weaken or rollback wetland protection efforts defined in the Federal/State assumed 404 Program.
- SCCF will strongly oppose introduction or expansion of mitigation programs that allow for the destruction of wetlands, mangroves, seagrass, or other fragile ecosystems.
- SCCF supports updating statewide stormwater standards for development to meaningfully reduce runoff of pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended solids to protect water quality.
- SCCF opposes weakening permitting requirements for development in wetlands, coastal high-hazard areas, and other sensitive locations.
Harmful Algal Blooms
- SCCF supports implementation and funding of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force recommendations to address nutrient sources and innovative technologies to mitigate harmful algal blooms.
- SCCF supports the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force and funding for research and monitoring of red tide and other harmful algal blooms in Florida’s coastal waters.
- SCCF supports the reduction of manmade nutrients in our waterways through voluntary programs such as Best Management Practices and septic-to-sewer conversions, as well as enhanced regulatory protections for our waters.
- SCCF supports protections to net metering and other incentives to the implementation of rooftop solar for individuals.
- SCCF supports the monitoring of the implementation of the Resilient Florida Program to ensure that grant funding is being spent thoughtfully on solutions to climate change.
- SCCF continues to support a ban on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and a transition to energy sources that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Protection of Home Rule
- SCCF supports Home Rule and opposes any statewide preemption policies that would restrict the ability of local governments to regulate land-use local ordinances, such as fertilizer restrictions, to protect our natural resources.