Whether it’s the severe impact red tide has had on tourism in Florida, or a sudden realization that environmental issues are crucial for the state, a fresh breeze seems to be blowing through Tallahassee.
Environmental bills that would increase water-quality regulations are gaining momentum in the Legislature.
One bill would impose fines on municipalities for sewage spills. Another would improve regulations on the spreading of biosolids, the human waste left over from municipal sewage treatment. Nutrients in sewage can fuel toxic red tide and other algal blooms.
What’s interesting is that the bills are sponsored by Republicans and backed by Democrats and environmental groups.
What a difference a year makes.
Prior to last November’s election, then-Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-dominated Legislature had long been focused on cutting funding for environmental programs while minimizing regulations and government oversight of potential polluters.