Update 2021-12-19: WWALS will hold a webinar about Rights to Clean Water, Air, Land, and a healthy environment at 7PM, March 10, 2022. Stay tuned for details.
Update 2021-12-18: A new Florida Right to Clean Water statewide petition will be available February 2, 2022, with the aim of getting the amendment on the November 2024 ballot.
Water as a human right will be on the Florida statewide ballot this fall, if enough Floridians sign the petition.
Plus wetlands protection, iconic species protection including the manatee, a ban on new or expanded toll roads, and a ban on captive wildlife hunting. As the website FL5.ORG says: Keep Florida Alive, Sign all 5.
For each petition, that’s 222,898 signatures to get judicial and financial review, and 891,589 to get it on the ballot.
It’s doable: there are more than 21 million Floridians.
FLORIDA RIGHT TO CLEAN WATER
This one is the key for the work of Suwannee Riverkeeper. It would make it a lot easier to stop pipelines, mines, and Nestlé and other water withdrawal boondoogles.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT FULL TEXT
Ballot Title: FLORIDA RIGHT TO CLEAN WATER
Ballot Summary: Prohibits pollution of Florida’s waters by recognizing a right to clean water for all Floridians and Florida waters, including the Everglades, Florida Springs, the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Johns River, the Caloosahatchee River, Biscayne Bay, Tampa Bay, Pensacola Bay and all other waters within the state; provides for local lawmaking to protect clean water, and provides for enforcement and severability.
Article and Section Being Created or Amended: ARTICLE I, SECTION 28
Full Text of the Proposed Amendment:
(a) Every Floridian has a right to clean water.
(b) The Everglades, Florida Springs, the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Johns River, the Caloosahatchee River, the Suwanee River, the Santa Fe River, Apalachicola Bay, Biscayne Bay, Tampa Bay, Pensacola Bay and all other Florida waters have a right to clean water, and that right shall include the rights of those waters to exist, flow, be free from pollution, and maintain a healthy ecosystem.
(c) Any resident, nongovernmental organization, or government entity of this state shall have standing to enforce and defend the rights secured by this section in any court possessing proper jurisdiction.
(d) Waters may enforce and defend the rights secured by this Section through an action brought by any resident, nongovernmental organization, or government entity of this state pursuant to (c), in any court possessing proper jurisdiction, in the name of the waters as the real party in interest. Damages awarded under this section shall be measured by the cost of fully restoring the waters to their pre-damaged state, and shall be paid to an appropriate governmental or nongovernmental entity, as designated by the court, to be used exclusively for the full restoration of the waters.
(e) The rights secured in this section shall not be interpreted to confer liabilities, duties, obligations, or responsibilities on waters.
(f) Any Florida county, city, and town may enact local laws providing additional protections for clean water provided that those local laws do not establish standards and requirements that are lower or less stringent than those imposed by this Section or by state law.
(g) Local laws adopted pursuant to subsection (f) of this section shall not be subject to preemption by state law.
(h) The provisions of this section shall not apply to constructed wetlands, which means a non-natural pool and any artificial wetland that uses natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils, and their associated microbial assemblages to treat domestic wastewater, industrial water, greywater or stormwater runoff, to improve water quality.
(i) To the extent that any provision of this amendment is deemed by a court to impermissibly conflict with federal law, such provision shall be severable and all other provisions shall remain fully enforceable.
(1) “Clean Water” shall mean waters free of the non-natural presence of any one or more substances, contaminants, or pollutants in quantities which are or may be potentially harmful or injurious to human health or welfare, animals, fish, plant life, and water quality or which may unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property, including outdoors recreation.
(2) “Flow” shall mean the steady and continuous movement of waters, the diminishment of which would be significantly harmful to the water resources or ecology of a particular area.
(3) “Waters” shall mean all rivers, lakes, streams, springs, impoundments, wetlands, and all other waters or bodies of water, including fresh, brackish, saline, tidal, surface, or underground waters, as well as all coastal waters within the jurisdiction of the state.
(k) This section is self-executing and shall take effect immediately upon the passage of this amendment by the voters.
Article I of the Florida Constitution has rights of freedom of speech, to assemble, to due process, etc. That’s where the right to clean water belongs.
Floridians can sign the petition online:
FLORIDA WETLANDS PROTECTION
“Enhances protection for Florida wetlands, both naturally occurring and man-made, by prohibiting the draining, dredging, filling or other degradation of Florida wetlands, thereby preventing harmful effects such actions have on the ecosystems of wetlands, native wildlife, and the environmental health of Florida.”
Sign right here:
FLORIDA TOLL ROAD EXPANSION BAN
“Prohibits the construction or expansion of toll roads on conservation and rural lands because they destroy natural systems, divide wildlife corridors, and place an increased burden on working families with excessive expenses, decreasing the quality of life for all Floridians.”
Sign right here:
More on FL5.ORG
There are two more!
Go to https://fl5.org for the rest.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!