Feb 28 2011-Tallahassee, FL After a brutally harsh winter for many Americans, Florida Governor Rick Scott and VISIT FLORIDA®, the states official tourism marketing corporation, have organized the Share a Little Sunshine Tour to invite those hit hardest by this years unseasonably cold weather to defrost in sunny Florida. Governor Scott and the rest of the Sunshine Ambassadors will start their two-day tour March 1 in Orlando and make stops in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago. Read more.
What they are not telling their audience is that along the southeast Florida coast five ocean outfall pipes spew over 300,000,000 gallons-a-day (MGD) of partially treated sewage into the coastal waters.
In a July 2008 ceremony held at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, then Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed into law legislation ending the practice of dumping inadequately treated sewage from ocean outfall pipes into Florida coastal waters.
The signing was hailed by hundreds of coral reef scientists gathered from across the globe who attended the international conference.
Now the Florida Legislature is moving to derail the ocean outfall legislation
Three years later newly elected Florida State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami introduced bill SB 796 designed to delay the implementation of the 2008 legislation and allow the continued dumping of sewage into Florida waters until 2030. An identical House bill HB 613 was filed by Representative Carlos Trujillo, also of Miami.
SB 796 does not deny the sewage is killing the costal environment, in fact the bill states:The Legislature also finds that discharge of domestic wastewater through ocean outfalls compromises the coastal environment, quality of life, and local economies that depend on those resources. The Legislature declares that more stringent treatment and management requirements for such domestic wastewater and the subsequent, timely elimination of ocean outfalls as a primary means of domestic wastewater discharge are in the public interest.
What the pro-sewage lobby, led by Miami-Dade County, is saying is that it just costs too much to protect Floridas coral reefs and coastal tourism economy. This is the same county that can afford to build a new half billion dollar sports stadium for the Florida Marlins baseball team (as long as the team agrees to change their name to the Miami Marlins).
Thinking about South Florida as a Spring Break destination?
In 2004 NOAA performed a tracer study on the Hollywood Florida ocean outfall that pumps 42 MGD into the coastal waters. They found the sewage effluent flowed northward parallel to the coast with a broadening of the width of the plume to about 3 km at the farthest point sampled, 66 km from the outfall. That 40 miles (66km) delivers the Hollywood poo to the doorstep of ritzy Palm Beach. And the Hollywood 42 MGD is less than 15% of the 300 million gallons dumped everyday into south Florida coastal waters
Killing coral costs jobs
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection: 239,000 acres of coral reefs and associated reef resources lie within the four-county area that stretches more than100 miles from the northern boundary of Biscayne National Park in Miami-Dade County to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. These reefs are part of the third longest reef system in the world which annually sustains more than 71,000 jobs and generates $6.3 billion dollars in sales and income for Florida.