Putting people over polluters

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Putting people over polluters

Remember earlier this year when we asked you to attend Constitutional Revision Commission meetings and speak out on behalf of Florida’s environment.Well, at least one of those commissioners was listening.

Our Executive Director Aliki Moncrief attended the Constitutional Revision Commission meeting earlier this week when Commissioner Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch introduced her Right to a Clean Environment proposal to the state constitution. Ms. Thurlow-Lippisch brought forth this proposal in response to the many citizens who testified on behalf of our environment during CRC meetings earlier this year. Working with environmental partners, some very simple language was drafted stating our rights as Floridians:

The natural resources of the state are the legacy of present and future generations. Every person has a right to a clean and healthful environment, including clean air and water; control of pollution; and the conservation and restoration of the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the environment as provided by law. Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, subject to reasonable limitations, as provided by law.

Aliki had planned to offer comments in support, and after listening to the heavy-handed comments by Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce lawyers and high-paid lobbyists, she felt compelled to dust off her environmental attorney hat in order to defend Floridians’ right to a clean environment. Here are some of the highlights of her comments:

“When I read this provision, I don’t see the parade of horribles that have been articulated here today…I would urge all of you to bring some legal experts who can give you the contrary view as to why this amendment is really not the tectonic shift that I think it’s being made out to be. It’s a slight course correction, because one of the things that has happened in Florida since the last Constitutional Revision Commission, is there has been a steady chipping away at the ability of citizens to address their concerns over environmental wrongs that are done, to the courts.”

Aliki went on to list the defunding of Florida Forever and dismantling of our growth management laws as examples of how the Florida Legislature has chipped away at our environmental protections in the past decade, and how this proposal aims to address those wrongs.

We won’t let polluters use scare tactics to squelch our right to a clean environment. We will continue to monitor the progress of Commissioner Thurlow-Lippisch’s clean environment proposal, along with several others that she has offered (ranging from a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling to funding Florida Forever).

If you’d like to show support for Floridians’ Right to a Clean Environment, you can send the CRC commissioners your comments here.

Florida Channel screenshot

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