Don't preempt local water protections (via the Gainesville Sun)

Via the Gainesville Sun Editorial Board

If Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature won’t do their job in protecting Florida’s natural environment, they shouldn’t stand in the way of local citizens seeking to do it for them.

With state lawmakers failing to protect rivers, springs and other parts of Florida’s environment, communities across the state are considering laws to recognize the rights of nature.

In Alachua County, signatures are being collected to put an initiative called the Santa Fe River Bill of Rights (SAFEBOR) on the November ballot. The charter amendment would recognize the legal rights of the Santa Fe River, its springs and tributaries, and the Floridan Aquifer within the county.

The effort is part of a growing “rights of nature” movement to allow people to sue polluters on behalf of the environment. Last February, more than 60% of voters in Toledo, Ohio, passed a Lake Erie Bill of Rights initiative in response to algae blooms fueled by agricultural runoff and other problems with the water body.

But an amendment was later passed in Ohio’s state budget that invalidated the initiative. Now it appears Florida lawmakers are seeking to pass something similar here, which in this case would stop rights-of-nature laws before they are even approved. . . .

Please read the rest of this astute editorial at the Gainesville Sun website.