Gulf of Mexico
Lehigh Acres Citizen

FL - Guest Commentary: Florida needs a Right to Clean Water Constitutional Amendment

Red tide has been around for months, and now a massive blue-green algae bloom blankets 500 square miles of Lake Okeechobee and is making its way down the Caloosahatchee River. Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani says we are facing “an impending disaster.”

Red tide has been around for months, and now a massive blue-green algae bloom blankets 500 square miles of Lake Okeechobee and is making its way down the Caloosahatchee River. Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani says we are facing “an impending disaster.”

This comes after 2018, and 2016 before that, and 2013 before that, and after water summits and a governor’s water quality task force and a much-ballyhooed Clean Waterways Act in 2020.

Knowing the critical importance of our water issues, Fort Myers Beach has been resorting to war metaphors. It recently ran ads in local newspapers declaring: “Enlist in the Fight for Clean Water Now!” It called for a “Snowbird Advocacy Army” and a “Floridian Advocacy Reserve” to fight in defense of “our environment, our economy, and our health.”

But we’ve been fighting this fight for decades by writing representatives, speaking out at public hearings, and supposedly voting the “right people” into office.

Why are we all constantly fighting an uphill battle for something as fundamental as clean water?

Against what are we fighting?

On one level, we combat a regulatory system in which the interests of corporations, which have enjoyed rights of personhood since the early 1800s, supersede the well-being of citizens and nature.

Read also: Gov. DeSantis OKs bill moving forward with reservoir construction north of Lake Okeechobee  Florida Politics

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