Tag Archives: RTCW

Petition: Right to Clean Water, Florida, for 2026 ballot 2024-03-08

Hot off the Florida state authentication process!

Florida registered voters, please sign and circulate the petition for a state constitutional amendment for a right to clean and healthy waters (RTCW).

You can get it here, or from

Or from WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper at any festival or outing, such as Valdosta Azalea Festival today. Yes, that festival is in Georgia, but many people from Florida attend.

[Four Florida rivers (Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, Santa Fe, Suwannee), RTCW Petition and Full Text 2024-03-08]
Four Florida rivers (Withlacoochee, Ichetucknee, Santa Fe, Suwannee), RTCW Petition and Full Text 2024-03-08

With around a million signatures, RTCW will get on the ballot for 2026. The legislature and the governor do not have to approve it. The people do, and when it gets on the ballot and an overwhelming majority vote for it, it will immediately become law. Law that can be used to tilt the playing field that is currently way over towards developers and polluters. Law like has been used successfully in Pennsylvania and Montana to deal with water pollution, fracking, and climate change.

This RTCW petition is fundamentally different from the 2014 Amendment 1, Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative. That ended up in Article X, along with many other well-meaning and good-sounding provisions in that and other Articles.

RTCW goes in Article I along with other basic rights such as religious freedom and freedom of speech. Not law like all the other well-meaning and good-sounding provisions in other articles of the constition.

Sure, the legislature can still try to pass laws to circumvent RTCW and state agencies can try not to implement it. But that will be harder with a fundamental right in Article I.

The RTCW amendment is long because it has been written by attorneys to avoid complications such as Continue reading

Transitioning to 2026 for Right to Clean Water in Florida

Yesterday, December 5, 2023, the Florida campaign for Right to Clean Water announced a temporary setback won’t stop RTCW:

Apparently, the many obstacles put into place against grassroots citizen initiatives have proven successful for the Florida Legislature this time. Despite over 100 active volunteers working toward this common need, we fell short of the number of signed petitions we needed to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

What we WERE able to achieve, by all accounts and professional assessments, is pretty amazing:

Over 100,000 petitions signed, statewide awareness, cross-partisan support, tourism and business support, support from fishing and faith communities, etc.

All thanks to you and your help in spreading the word and sharing the call to action. We are grateful. Especially for all our ambassadors and supporting organizations who have spent so many hours out there, in the Florida heat, not just collecting signatures, but SPREADING THE WORD that there’s finally a solution to our state’s systemic problems in water protection.

[RTCW FL 2026]
RTCW FL 2026

Press Release Campaign update:

We have temporarily halted actively collecting petitions and are in the process of ensuring every single signed form is properly processed to the correct county Supervisor of Elections for final validation, by December 31st.

During this time, Continue reading

North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan in SRWMD presentation to NCFRPC –Columbia County Observer 2023-10-09

Thanks to Stew Lilker for recording and analysis of a presentation about water planning in the Suwannee and St. Johns River Basins.

To answer his question: No, there won’t be enough water, unless water withdrawals are limited, which neither of the Suwannee nor St. Johns River Water Management Districts seem inclined to do.

Please sign the petition to get Right to Clean and Healthy Waters on the ballot:


Stew Lilker, Columbia County Observer, October 9, 2023, North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan: Just a Suggestion – Will There Be Enough Water in the Future?

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (the east side of the Suwannee River Water Management District and the top half of the St. Johns River Water Management District) is being updated. The Plan focuses on the sustainability of resources. It is just a plan, and water users “are not required to implement” any options identified in the Plan.

Well, slide 24 seems to indicate some requirements. Maybe local governments don’t have to implement exactly what NFRWSP says, but I’d bet they will be strongly recommended to do so. Continue reading

The Mermaid says sign the petition, Rights to Clean Water for Florida 2023-03-26

The mermaid likes it.

Florida registered voters, please sign the petition to get a state constitutional amendment for Rights to Clean and Healthy Waters on the ballot:

[The Mermaid says sign the RTCW petition]
The Mermaid says sign the RTCW petition

This picture of Mermaid Danielle Shmalberg with the RTCW petition and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman was taken at the 2023 OSFR Songwriting Contest, part of RiverFest by Our Santa Fe River.

WWALS has shamelessly copied that idea for years. Join us Friday evening, September 22, 2023, for the sixth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest as part of the first-ever WWALS gala fundraising dinner, WWALS River Revue:
https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsriverrevue2023/ Continue reading

Children’s climate change lawsuit against the state of Montana starts today 2023-05-25

The children’s lawsuit against the State of Montana on climate policy starts today, June 12, 2023.

The plaintiffs have already won part of it without a trial: the state legislature repealed a law that promoted fossil fuels.

[Judge (Daily Montanan) and the child plaintiffs (New York Times)]
Judge (Daily Montanan) and the child plaintiffs (New York Times)

This case is all over the news today as the trial starts.

But the judge’s decision to allow the trial was made more than two weeks ago, according to the Daily Montanan:

Multiple times in her order, [Judge Kathy] Seeley cites a 1999 Montana Supreme Court decision in the “MEIC I” case in which the court decided Montana’s 1972 Constitutional framers “did not intend to merely prohibit that degree of environmental degradation which can be conclusively linked to ill health or physical endangerment.”

She cited multiple framers who said they believed defending a healthful environment both meant there should be no future degradation of it beyond 1972 and that citizens should not need to show their health was hurt to find relief from potential damages.

“In fact, the Court has repeatedly found that the Framers intended the state constitution contain ‘the strongest environmental protection provision found in any state constitution,” she wrote.

MEIC I was MEIC v. Montana DEQ 1999, in which Justice Terry Trieweiler of the Montana Supreme Court also wrote, “[Montana’s] constitution does not require that dead fish float on the surface of our state’s rivers and streams before its farsighted environmental protections can be invoked.”

There’s a lot of pessimism by environmentalists about this case. But remember: few people thought it would ever get to trial. And the children already won a major concession from the state without even getting to trial.

Blair Miller, Daily Montanan, May 25, 2023, Judge allows Montana youth climate change lawsuit to proceed to trial: Continue reading

FL Gov signed sprawl bill: need Rights to Clean Water 2023-06-08

Thanks to everyone who asked the Florida Governor to veto the sprawl bill, HB 359 / SB 540. But he signed it anyway, so now anyone who sues to stop a comprehensive plan change and loses has to pay the other side’s legal bills.

And the Supreme Court drastically limited the scope of the Clean Water Act in its decision in Sackett II.

Now we really need Right to Clean Water in Florida as a constitutional amendment. Please sign the petition and ask all your Florida registered voter friends and relatives to do so.

With enough signatures, the RTCW petition can get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2024, and there is nothing the legislature or governor can do to stop it.

[Right to Clean Water, FL SB 540]
Right to Clean Water, FL SB 540

Georgians, please encourage Floridians to sign the petition.

Here’s an explanation of why other means won’t work,
“Floridians who’ve been following along know that we are not going to achieve anything remotely resembling such protections through legislative action, which is why supporting this amendment is a no-brainer.”

Cheryl Lasse, Palm Beach Post, June 8, 2023, New Florida law and court ruling leave state’s waterways in peril, Continue reading

Judge agrees with voters: Titusville Right to Clean Water Charter amendment is legal 2023-05-22

In a big win for Right to Clean Water (RTCW) in Florida, a judge sided with the voters who passed a Titusville charter amendment. Addressing every point of a Motion for Summary Judgement for Declaratory Judgment filed by the City of Titusville, the judge denied that motion and granted the request by Speak Up Titusville, Inc. to require the City to certify the Amendment.

[Right to Clean Water and Sand Point Park Sewer polluted water flowing to Indian River Lagoon 2021-04-24 --Florida Today]
Right to Clean Water and Sand Point Park Sewer polluted water flowing to Indian River Lagoon 2021-04-24 –Florida Today

Registered Florida voters, please sign the statewide petition to put a state constitutional amendment on the ballot:
https://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org/ Continue reading

Seattle settles salmon river dam case, hails relationship of mutual respect and consultation with Sauk-Suiattle Tribe 2023-05-02

The city of Seattle will include a program for fish passage around its dams on the Skagit River, as part of a settlement with the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe of a case on behalf of the tribe and of salmon that live in the river.

That program was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as part of the city’s license renewal request for those hydroelectric dams. These are strange times indeed, when FERC becomes the guarantor of river rights.

[Washington dam removal is controversial but may be the best chance for salmon, earth.com 2019-08-20 https://www.earth.com/news/washington-dam-removal-salmon/]
Washington dam removal is controversial but may be the best chance for salmon, earth.com 2019-08-20

There are at least two ways of approaching such cases on rights: rights of nature itself (fish, rivers, etc.), or rights of humans.

Human rights are the subject of the Florida citizen petition for a state constitutional amendment for Rights to Clean and Healthy Water. Florida registered voters, please sign that petition:

And then please get your friends and relatives to sign it.

This Seattle case used both approaches, according to the Continue reading

Florida Right to Hunt and Fish breezing through legislature towards 2024 ballot 2023-03-27

Georgia has it, among 23 states, including all states in the southeast, except for Florida.

Looks like it’s coming to Florida: a state constitutional amendment for a Right to Hunt and Fish. Identical bills are speeding through the state House and Senate towards getting this amendment on the 2024 ballot.

[Ballotpedia, 23 states have Right to Hunt and Fish as of November 2020]
Ballotpedia, 23 states have Right to Hunt and Fish as of November 2020

And what good is a Right to Hunt and Fish without clean water for the fish and wildlife? Floridians, please sign the petition for Right to Clean Water, also intended for the 2024 ballot.

Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida, Tampa Bay Times, March 27, 2023, updated March 29, Hunting, fishing could be enshrined in Florida Constitution under proposal: If approved, the proposal could be on the November 2024 ballot. Continue reading

New York landfill court case illustrates right to clean water 2022-12-30

A lawsuit using New York State’s recent Environmental Rights Amendment illustrates what a Right to Clean Water constitutional amendment could do for Florida or Georgia.

Here’s what’s going on in Perinton, NY. Then Joseph Bonasia of Florida Rights of Nature Network provides examples of how Florida’s pending Right to Clean and Healthy Waters (RTCW) could be used to solve similar cases.

In Georgia, an RTCW amendment could perhaps be used to get cities to stop trash from polluting waterways, for example maybe to get Valdosta to enforce its ordinances against landowners letting trash off their property and requiring so many trash cans per number of parking places. That would keep much trash out of creeks such as Hightower Creek, Sugar Creek, and the Withlacoochee River, protecting neighborhood children, wildlife, and the river all the way to Florida.

[High Acres Landfill, Rochester, NY. Photo: Max Schulte]
High Acres Landfill, looms over a neighborhood in Perinton, near Rochester, NY. Residents claim the dump violates their state constitutional right to “clean air, clean air, and a healthful environment.”, Photo: Max Schulte

Gino Fanelli, Rochester City Newspaper, March 28, 2022, Neighbors say Perinton landfill violates their constitutional right to ‘clean air’,

The sour scent of rot hung over Perinton Parkway one early spring day.

Continue reading