House Speaker Weatherford: No big water policy this year
By Aaron Deslatte
TALLAHASSEE – House Speaker Will Weatherford said Thursday [Feb. 6] there won't be any big water policies adopted this year, punting the potentially tough political confrontation with polluters until two Central Florida lawmakers are running the Legislature next year.
That means legislators will contemplate this spring spending dollars now on Indian River Lagoon, Everglades and Lake Okeechobee clean-up, but not the larger problems of pollution from farms, front-lawns, waste-water treatment plants and septic tanks fouling the state's rivers, springs and lakes.
"It's not that we're not going to deal with water this year. We absolutely will. A lot of the issues we'll deal with have to do with funding," Weatherford told reporters.
"I think we'll tee up some policy, but I think the really big, meaty, holistic policy intiatives when it comes to water ... and the long-term, 20-year plans will likely come in the next session."
A cadre of state senators is drafting sweeping legislation for this year. It is meant to tackle thorny, water-quality problems in Florida's rapidly declining lakes, natural springs and aquifer.