Florida Senate Bill 724, Domestic Wastewater
Discharged Through Ocean Outfalls
Dear coral reef colleagues,
Please support efforts to stop dumping sewage on Florida coral reefs, put together by Florida’s top coral reef and coastal protection organizations (see joint statement below).
After years of efforts, we got former Governor Charlie Crist to order that the sewage outfalls be closed, but they decided they would take 15 years to do so!
Now the new Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, and Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties are trying to prevent the shutoff and keep dumping crap on top of the reefs! Please make your voice against these dirty polluters and reef killers heard at the link below!
Action Alert: http://reefrescuealert.wordpress.com/
We, the undersigned ocean advocacy, industry and conservation organizations, on behalf of our ten’s of thousands of members and supporters strongly urge you not to support Senate Bill 724 (Domestic Wastewater Discharged Through Ocean Outfalls). SB 724 is intended to delay implementation of the 2008 Florida Ocean Outfall legislation which was enacted to phase out the archaic practice of discharging inadequately treated sewage into southeast Florida’s coastal coral reef ecosystem.
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 239,000 acres of coral reefs and associated reef resources lie within the four-county area affected by SB 724. This northern portion of the Florida Reef Tract stretches more than100 miles from the northern boundary of Biscayne National Park in Miami-Dade County to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. These reefs are part of the third longest reef system in the world which annually sustains more than 71,000 jobs and generates $6.3 billion dollars in sales and income for Florida.
Florida’s corals are dying at an alarming rate; between 1996 and 2001 the Keys experienced a 40 percent decrease in coral cover. Since the 1980’s, 97% of Florida’s Staghorn and Elkhorn reef building corals have died prompting the federal government to elevate these species to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. Recent studies have linked Elkhorn coral white pox disease with Serratia marcescens, a human pathogen found in sewage, (Sutherland KP, Shaban S, Joyner JL, Porter JW, Lipp EK (2011) Human Pathogen Shown to Cause Disease in the Threatened Eklhorn Coral Acropora palmata. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23468. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023468).
Along with the mix of nutrient pollution and pathogens spewing from south Florida’s ocean outfalls, EPA reports Personal Care Products and Pharmaceuticals (PCPP’s) now represent and ever increasing threat to the environment. Recent studies have found Prozac in fish organs and disrupted sexual development in fish cause by estrogen.
The 2008 Florida Ocean Outfall legislation was not all about saving coral reefs. A key driver of the legislation was the need to conserve water in south Florida. Water needed for agriculture, population growth and Everglades restoration. The southeast counties have one of the lowest water reclamation and reuse records in Florida. Everyday 396,000,000 gallons of wastewater is discharged into the coastal waters of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The 2008 legislation mandates that 60% of this wastewater be allocated for reuse.
We strongly urge you not to turn back the clock; time is running out for Florida’s coral reefs. Please vote no on SB 724.
Clean Water Network of Florida, Linda Young, Director
Cry-of-the-Water, Dan Clark, President
Eastern Surfing Association National Head Quarters
Eastern Surfing Association South Florida District
Eastern Surfing Association Palm Beach County District, Tom Warnke, Chairman of the Board
Global Coral Reef Alliance, Thomas J. Goreau, PhD, President
Greater Fort Lauderdale Diving Association, Jeff Torode, President
Nature Travelers Club, Delray Beach, Hope Fox, President
Ocean Rehab Initiative Inc., William Djubin, President
Palm Beach County Dive Industry Association, Van Blakeman, Director
Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, Ed Tichenor, Director
PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Jerry Phillips, Director Florida Chapter
Treasure Coast Chapter
Sebastian Inlet Chapter
Cocoa Beach Chapter
Volusia Flagler Chapter
First Coast Chapter
Central Florida Chapter
Emerald Coast Chapter
Ericka Canales, Florida Regional Manager
Surfrider Foundation Palm Beach County Chapter
Todd Remmel, Chapter Chair
Reef Relief, Peter Anderson, Chairman & President
Reef Relief Founders, Craig & DeeVon Quirolo
Reef Rescue Action Alert: http://reefrescuealert.wordpress.com/