Written in committee as a special bill, SB 2508 bypassed the typical committee and analysis processes, only allowing for one public hearing. This bill proposes many changes to the implementation and funding process of projects by the Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and Department of Agriculture (FDACS). 

Join us in asking Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to VETO Senate Bill 2508, which despite various amendments still contains concerning elements harmful to Lake Okeechobee management and several state-wide water quality issues.

Email Gov. DeSantis Now

Background of the Bill:

While the Legislature did amend the bill to remove some of the most concerning language, the bill that is headed for the Governor’s desk for consideration still undermines important components of Everglades Restoration and the development of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM).

For example, this bill will still have a chilling effect on state water managers by perpetuating the harmful “hold and dump” practices of the existing Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS 08) – reducing beneficial flows to the Caloosahatchee and Everglades during the dry season and increasing damaging high-volume discharges to our coastal communities during the wet season. 

The harmful elements of the bill that remain include:

  • Language that unnecessarily requires legislative ratification of new water rules designed to address water allocation during the dry season, both complicating and delaying rulemaking and moving decision making away from those who live and work in the areas (and ecosystems) most harmed by the water shortages.
  • Allows public entities, including utilities, to pay to expedite their wetland permits, expanding and accelerating the destruction of wetlands and exacerbating impacts to water quality.
  • Changes the current Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Rural and Family Lands program from approving conservation easements which keep special agricultural lands in production and on the tax rolls – to also allow FDACS to out-right purchase these lands duplicating and potentially competing with the underfunded FDEP Florida Forever land acquisition program.
These damaging elements of SB 2508 alone deserve to be vetoed. In addition, the fact that these substantive policy changes were passed in a budget conforming bill with only one public hearing sets a dangerous precedent that would, if allowed to become law, essentially reward the Legislature for undermining the intent of government in the sunshine.

This bill was put forward outside of the normal and appropriate legislative committee process, thus severely limiting public input into the important issues contained in this bill. This bill will have widespread negative impacts on Floridians, the state’s tourism-based economy, and undermines the transparency that the Governor’s current administration has advocated for in the past.

We strongly urge you to ask Governor DeSantis to VETO SB 2508 in order to continue working together in restoring America’s Everglades and our state’s critical natural resources.

Demand a Veto for SB 2508

Thank you to our Partner Organizations

Friends of the Everglades logo
Conservancy of SWFL-logo
Calusa Waterkeeper is grateful to partner closely with several other organizations in an effort to see SB 2508 vetoed by our Governor. A special thanks to James Evans, Chief Executive Officer of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), Eve Samples, Executive Director for Friends of the Everglades, and Nicole Johnson, Director of Environmental Policy with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida who have been conferencing regularly with Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani on this and other issues.