Dishonest posturing by Everglades Foundation jeopardizes DeSantis proposal to combat algae blooms

by | Jan 29, 2020

For a group of environmental activists with a mission to save a swamp, the Everglades Foundation finds itself stranded on a political island. The group is standing alone in opposition to a high-priority proposal backed by Governor Ron DeSantis that would create additional oversight of leaky septic tanks, add more transparency and data collection to reporting on agricultural water management practices, as well as add a new wastewater grant program to minimize pollution.

None of these new programs currently exist. They are adopted in Senate Bill 712 from recommendations by the state’s Blue Green Algae Task Force. The bill, even in its amended form, already has the support of a handful of environmental and conservation groups, scientists and regulators, including Audubon Florida, The Nature Conservancy, the Marine Resources Council, the American Sportfishing Association, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and more than a dozen others.

Enter the never-satisfied Everglades Foundation.

In testimony before the Florida Senate’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government, the Everglades Foundation General Counsel Anna Upton attempted to throw a monkey wrench into the proceeding by telling state senators that a proposed compromise amendment would move the bill “backwards.”

State Senator Debbie Mayfield didn’t care much for the Everglades Foundation’s lone-wolf strategy, immediately ripping into their sole opposition to the proposal. Mayfield asked Upton if she’d rather have the new agriculture measurements removed from the bill completely, or accept a compromise that would shift data collection by state regulators from one year to two year intervals:

Mayfield: “Would you rather us take it out completely?”

Upton: “And have no data collection?”

Mayfield: “Yes.”

Upton: “No. Absolutely not.”

Mayfield then went on to excoriate Upton for several more minutes, pointing out that none of the programs in the amendment currently exist, and rubbing Upton’s nose in the fact that she’d previously discussed the matter in a private conversation “10 minutes earlier.”

“This bill does not take us backward anywhere in the process,” Mayfield said. “It takes us forward. We’re trying to set something up that’s going to be a success.”


  1. John Aggas

    I notice in the very first sentence that the author described the Everglades as a “swamp.” You either do not know what a swamp is, or more likely, don’t know what the Everglades is. Here is a clue: it’s not a swamp…..
    Accordingly, I put little faith in your reporting or what the Foundation is trying to accomplish after the past 140 years of neglect.

  2. Joe Podgor

    A whole, snide article over a short exchange of words by two people, neither of whom are the key players in the issue, seems to be a bit much. Some one here is trying to color this in a way as to make someone else look foolish, rather than to inform. There are lots of things of substance to discuss here in this story, like how taxpayer money is being given in grants to polluters to help stop pollution. Gee, and I thought pollution was against the law. Oh well…

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