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Diane Roberts column: What I would have said about water

FSU professor Diane Roberts was the center of some backlash for Gov. Rick Scott's administration this week after it canceled her planned talk at Mission San Luis and then backtracked. Now, she's written a column for the Tampa Bay Times on what she would have said. Here's an excerpt:

A couple of thousand miles worth of rivers and 375,000 acres of lake water in Florida are considered "impaired," that is, dirty. The Indian River ecosystem has collapsed, fish kills are increasing, and between floods and profligate pumping, we risk contaminating our aquifer. We keep destroying wetlands and marshes, which act as water recharge areas. This isn't abstract; it's not some "green" trifle you can simply ignore. Nature isn't a place outside your air-conditioned house, beyond your nice subdivision. It's in your drinking water. When you look at a Florida spring, you're looking at our aquifer.

We know where the pollution comes from, and we know what to do about it. The trouble is, our government refuses to get it. Yes, Rick Scott's been touting money for Everglades restoration and springs cleanup. And the state seems to have abandoned the spectacularly stupid idea of selling conservation lands to make money to buy other conservation lands.

But Scott has gutted the water management districts. His development-uber-alles DEP has fired scientists, elevated industry hacks and recently tried to change the rules so that more wetlands got trashed (DEP lost in court, thank God). The state agency charged with overseeing growth management has been dismantled and, instead of cooperating with environmentalists and the EPA on numeric nutrient standards for our toxic water, Scott, the commissioner of agriculture and the rest of the regime have fought it every step of the way.