- As governor, Ron DeSantis has signed legislation against contamination protections while vetoing Everglades water quality funding.
- In 2022, DeSantis signed into law legislation that would allow citrus growers to utilize more fertilizer in growing crops, above the state fertilizing limits. The law provoked concerns from groups such as The Manatee Club for impacting water quality from nitrogen and phosphorous runoff.
- In 2022, DeSantis used his line item veto authority to eliminate legislature-approved $350 million funding for restoration of the Everglades and water quality improvements.
- In Congress, Ron DeSantis voted against contaminate protections, and against protecting water quality considerations in federal construction permitting.
- In 2016, DeSantis effectively voted against increased disclosure rules for chemical manufacturers who ran a risk of drinking water contamination.
- In 2017, DeSantis voted to suspend the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to require a permit for pesticide usages, despite water quality concerns.
- DeSantis voted for the RAPID Act in 2015, legislation which was designed to hasten the environmental review process. DeSantis voted against an amendment which would have kept the tighter review process for projects which could impact safe drinking water.
- In 2016, DeSantis also specifically voted against funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to provide support for the water quality emergency in Flint, MI.
¶ DeSantis Signed Legislation Expanding Limits On The Use Of Fertilizer For Citrus Growers, Despite Water Quality Concerns
2022: DeSantis Signed Into Law Legislation That Allowed Citrus Growers To Make Their Own Site-Specific Nutrition Management Plans, Allowing For More Usage Of Fertilizer. In June 2022, according to the Florida Senate, DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 1000, which “[d]efin[ed] the terms ‘certified professional’ and ‘site-specific nutrient management’; authoriz[ed] the use of site-specific nutrient management in specified circumstances; authoriz[ed] citrus producers to use written recommendations from certified professionals to tailor their recommended nutrient application rates under certain circumstances; direct[ed] the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to analyze the use of site-specific nutrient management for certain crops, develop a research plan and certain recommendations, and submit an annual report to the Governor and Legislature by a specified date, etc.” [Florida Senate, Accessed on 10/25/22; Florida Senate, S.B. 1000]
- The Bill Allowed Citrus Farmers To Use More Nutrients To Grow Crops Above State Fertilizing Limits. According to Spectrum News 13, “A state law to allow Florida citrus farmers to use more nutrients to grow crops beyond their previous fertilizing limits only needs the governor’s signature to become law. The law, which Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign, currently only applies to citrus growers, leaving other farmers asking when they will get the same type of treatment. […] Once law, it will allow special nutrient plans for citrus farmers in Florida — which would include creating things like individualized fertilizing plans, that, in turn, could lead to fertilizer use beyond the state’s previously set limits.” [Spectrum News 13, 3/23/22]
- Environmentalists Expressed Concern The Additional Nutrients Would Impact Clean Water. According to Spectrum News 13, “And in general, the bill has environmentalists concerned about the impact additional nutrients will have on clean water and wildlife like manatees.” [Spectrum News 13, 3/23/22]
- Save The Manatee Club Argued The Bill Would Impact Water Quality And Harm Marine Life. According to Spectrum News 13, “Not everyone wants to see an expansion of the rule, however. Environmentalists, like Save the Manatee Club’s Kim Dinkins, are concerned the measure will impact water quality and bring harm to marine life. ‘More nutrients than are necessary will get into our waterways,’ Dinkins said of the expanded limits for citrus growers. Manatees, for example, could be impacted by potential fertilizer runoff — something Dinkins said they do not need after 2021, the deadliest year on record for the animals. ‘So, as far as what I’m concerned about for Florida’s waterways, is that there will be additional pollutants getting into them, and we already know that nitrogen and phosphorus both are contributing to degradation of our water quality,’ she said.” [Spectrum News 13, 3/23/22]
¶ 2022: DeSantis Vetoed $350 Million In Funding For Everglades Restoration And Water Quality Improvements
2022: DeSantis Signed Into Law The FY 2022-2023 Budget. In June 2022, according to the Florida Senate, Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 5001, which “[p]rovide[d] moneys for annual period beginning July 1, 2022, & ending June 30, 2023, & supplemental appropriations for period ending June 30, 2022, to pay salaries & other expenses, capital outlay—buildings & other improvements, & for other specified purposes of various agencies of state government. APPROPRIATION: $112,071,034,002.” [Florida Senate, Accessed on 10/28/22; Florida Senate, H.B. 5001]
- For The FY 2022-2023 Budget, DeSantis Line-Item Vetoed $350 Million For Water Quality Improvements And Everglades Restoration. According to Florida Phoenix, “Another $350 million for water quality improvements and Everglades Restoration was slashed.” [Florida Phoenix, 6/2/22]
¶ In Congress, DeSantis Voted Against Water Contamination Protections And Considerations Of Water Quality In Construction Permitting
¶ DeSantis Effectively Voted Against Providing Protections And Support For Contaminations In Water, Including In flint, MI
2016: DeSantis Effectively Voted Against Requiring Chemical Manufacturers Whose Items Could Potentially Contaminate Public Drinking Water To Submit Information To State And Federal Agencies On The Product’s Potential Risk. In February 2016, DeSantis effectively voted against an amendment that would have, according to Congressional Quarterly, “require[d] any manufacturer of items that contain chemicals that could contaminate public drinking water to submit data to relevant state and federal agencies on the product's risks to human health and the environment, including studies on neurotoxicity and cancer-causing effects. Exposing the public to such items without these studies would be considered prohibited under a federal toxic substances law.” The underlying legislation was a bill that, according to AP would have “expand[ed] access to hunting and fishing areas on public lands, extend[ed] protections for the use of lead bullets in hunting and strip[ped] wolves of federal protections in four states.” The vote was on a motion to recommit. The House rejected the motion by a vote of 165 to 238. [House Vote 100, 2/26/16; Congressional Quarterly, 2/26/16; AP Via US News & World Report, 2/26/16; Congressional Actions, H.R. 2406]
2017: DeSantis Voted To Suspend The EPA’s Or State Government’s Authority To Require A Permit To Use Pesticides Near Navigable Water. In May 2017, DeSantis voted for legislation that would have, according to Congressional Quarterly, “prohibit[ed] the EPA and states from requiring permits for the point source use of a pesticide registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. It would [have] prohibit[ed] the EPA or states from requiring a Federal Water Pollution Control Act permit for the use of registered pesticides near navigable waters.” The vote was on passage. The House passed the bill by a vote of 256 to 165. The Senate took no substantive action on the legislation. [House Vote 282, 5/24/17; Congressional Quarterly, 5/24/17; Congressional Actions, H.R. 953]
- Bill Opponents Noted That The Current Rules Protected Water Quality. According to Congressional Quarterly, “Opponents of the bill, primarily Democrats, argue that the Obama administration's EPA rules have been in place for five years without any of the predicted dire effects. They point out that farmers and forestry operators have been able to grow crops successfully under the rule and that public health officials have been able to deal with threats of mosquito-borne illness, including continuing concerns regarding Zika, as effectively as they did before the rule. EPA and the states, they say, have received few if any complaints of the rule interrupting regular agriculture operations, and they argue that the current permitting requirements are critical to ensure that the nation's water quality is protected — which improves health outcomes for everyone.” [Congressional Quarterly, 5/19/17]
2015: DeSantis Voted Against An Amendment To The RAPID Act, Which Modified A Loosening Environmental Review Process For Federally Funded Projects, To Exempt Projects That Could Impact Safe Drinking Water. In September 2015, DeSantis voted against and amendment that would have, according to Congressional Quarterly, “exempt[ed] projects that affect safe drinking water and air quality of nearby communities, infringe on property rights, or affect tribal sovereignty, and would require environmental documents to assess whether projects use materials manufactured in the United States and whether they would result in hiring certain unemployed workers.” The underlying bill was H.R. 348, the RAPID Act which modified the environmental review process for federally funded projects. The measure limited the type of alternative projects that could be reviewed. The vote was on a motion to recommit. The House rejected the motion by a vote of 175 to 229. [House Vote 517, 9/25/15; Congressional Quarterly, 9/25/15; Congressional Quarterly, 9/18/15]
- 2015: DeSantis Voted For The RAPID Act, Which Modified The Environmental Review Process For Federally Funded Projects And Permits With The Intent To Expedite The Process. In September 2015, DeSantis voted for the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act, which would have expedited environmental review for federally funded projects. According to Congressional Quarterly, “This bill modifies the environmental review process for federally funded projects and for federal permits for private projects in order to expedite the process by setting deadlines on agency reviews, and by limiting the grounds for civil actions filed against an environmental review or permit approval.” The vote was on passage. The House passed the bill by a vote of 233 to 170. The Senate took no substantive action on the bill. [House Vote 518, 9/25/16; Congressional Quarterly, 9/18/15; Congressional Actions, H.R. 348]
2016: DeSantis Voted Against An Amendment That Would Have Authorized $170 Million For The Army Corps Of Engineers To Provide Support For Presidentially Declared Emergencies, Including Lead Contaminates In Water Such As In Flint, Michigan. In September 2016, DeSantis voted against an amendment that would have, according to Congressional Quarterly, “authorize[ed] the Army Corps of Engineers to provide additional assistance to any community in any state in which the president has declared an emergency as a result of the presence of chemical, physical or biological constituents, including lead or other contaminants in the water system, for the repair or replacement of public and private infrastructure. The amendment would [have] authorize[d] the appropriation of $170 million to remain available until expended.” The underlying legislation was a water infrastructure bill. The House agreed to the amendment by a vote of 284 to 141. The underlying legislation later passed the House. A different water authorization bill later became law that included authorized funding for Flint. [House Vote 570, 9/28/16; Congressional Quarterly, 9/28/16; Congressional Quarterly, 12/10/16; Congressional Actions, S. 612; Congressional Actions, H. Amdt. 1478; Congressional Actions, H.R. 5303]