No action to help Florida's springs this year
Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman continues his stellar reporting on the threat to Florida's springs. Now this news that the Legislature won't act this session:
Although thousands of Florida voters signed a petition demanding action, the Legislature will not pass any bills aimed at restoring and protecting the state's iconic springs this year, according to the chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.
The reason, according to Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, is that state regulators are already setting what are called "minimum flows and levels" for the major springs, an effort he said should take another year and a half and help legislators figure out what further assistance might be needed.
"I thought it was best to let them move forward with that," Caldwell said, explaining Department of Environmental Protection officials "came and told me … they'd like to be able to finish that."
But setting minimum flows and levels, or MFLs for short, does little to help springs, according to Jim Stevenson, who headed the Florida Springs Task Force under former Gov. Jeb Bush.