About Me

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He started his career in the family real estate and hotel business in Florida from which his concern for the environment steered him in public life. He has served six Florida governors and two presidents in many positions, including terms as chairman of the Florida Department of Air and Water Pollution Control, and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Beyond his government service, he helped found 1000 Friends of Florida and has served as both president and chairman of the board of the organization. He currently or has served on the boards of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic Society, Yellowstone National Park, Everglades Foundation and Hope Rural School.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Amendment #1

It Just Aint’ So!

My reaction to Attorney General Bondi’s assertion when questioned during her campaign swing through Martin County that she had joined the litigants opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s involvement with the six states that control the Chesapeake Bay watershed as a “Federal Takeover” of states’ rights doesn’t hold water!

The facts are: for far too many years unregulated manure and fertilizer from industrial-scale agricultural operations flowed from the six watershed states and the District of Columbia into Chesapeake Bay.

The once prolific aquatic plants that provided ample food for tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl died.  Acres of the world famous Chesapeake oysters are sadly diminished.  The most important breeding areas for the prized striped bass is so polluted that the young bass survival is threatened.

For 30 years the governors of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, plus the District of Columbia were bombarded by their concerned citizens to form some kind of a pack to begin a joint effort to control the gross pollutants from entering the Bays’ watershed.  Their efforts were plagued by changes in governance and the failure of New York and Pennsylvania, both major contributors to the massive pollution loading of the Bay, to join in a joint effort.

The Clean Water Act passage in 1972 dramatically increased enforcement of industrial wastes disposal and offered the states’ millions of dollars of funding to upgrade and build modern sewage treatment plants.

The states formed a Chesapeake Bay Commission that finally successfully urged the states of New York and Pennsylvania to join the downstream states in a unified effort to restore the once prolific Bay.

Progress has been slow but increasingly effective.  The Bay is responding.

Factory hog farms generate 44 million tons of manure a year in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and cleaning up the run-off from those operations is a major problem.  That is similar to the manure pollution of Lake Okeechobee – the second biggest lake in the United States – and the fertilizer run-off problem that has plagued the Everglades, the St. Lucie Estuary, and hundreds of lakes and streams throughout Florida. 

The combined states and the District have agreed on a new timetable for action and enforcement. They requested assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency to set water quality standards that must be met.

Far from General Bondi’s assertion that EPA is attempting to ‘seize control’ over the combination of the states and District joint efforts, the vast majority of the citizens who live and make a living from the Bay welcomed EPA’s involvement and expertise.

Farming interests that will be required to reduce runoff of their manure into the tributaries filed suit claiming that EPA  was orchestrating a ‘take over’ of the pollution control measures required to produce clean water to restore the Bay’s productivity.

Frankly, General Bondi should have applauded the effort to cleanse Chesapeake Bay as a model of what Florida’s five Water Management District's and our states Department of Environmental Protection should be championing with her assistance instead of filing as a Friend of the Litigants who do not want to obey strict water quality standards that are being developed and enforced.

A close examination of the continuing water quality violations impacting thousands of miles of Florida’s river, estuaries and lakes should be her main concern rather than sticking her nose into Chesapeake Bay at the request of the ‘usual suspects’ whose campaign contributions prove that Florida’s agricultural polluters fear EPA’s ability to set rigorous water quality standards that are so desperately needed not only to save Chesapeake Bay but the vast majority of Florida’s precious waters.

Nathaniel Reed