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DeSantis’ veto of warnings bill confirms need for Florida Right to Clean Water

By Staff | Jul 5, 2024

To the editor:

The Fourth of July was just celebrated and many Floridians headed to the beaches for fun and to swim and get cool. Wouldn’t you like to know if those beach waters were safe for swimming and strolling? On Wednesday, June 26, Gov. DeSantis vetoed a bill that would have alerted Florida citizens if a beach or waterway isn’t safe. What was supposed to be a health and safety concern that would involve alerting the public and posting signs if waters were unsafe was tossed out by our governor.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis is quoted as saying the bill was “ill-advised” and had a “fatal infirmity,” because it would have given the Florida Department of Health the authority to make these closures and put out notifications of them. Supporting the governor’s veto was Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo.

Local communities have made decisions about beach and water closures up till now, but data regarding fecal (e-coli) contamination that is regularly published by Calusa Waterkeepers and SCCF is generally not taken into account. The Department of Health would not be able to ignore this information however, if this bill had been passed.

Once again it must be up to us to stop this lack of regard for our health and the health of our waters. Please go to LeeRighttoCleanWater@gmail.com or FloridaRighttoCleanWater.org to download our petition, sign and mail it in so we can make clean and healthy waters a fundamental right for all of us.

Mary Tracy Sigman

Fort Myers