Connect with us

Influence

Thumbs down: Environmental constitutional amendment defeated

One of the state’s leading business lobbies is cheering the defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have expanded the right to bring environmental-related lawsuits.

The Constitution Revision Commission‘s Judicial Committee on Friday unanimously voting against the measure (P23).

“This unnecessary proposal would have opened up not only Florida businesses, but private citizens as well, to endless litigation and harmful uncertainty,” said Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs Brewster Bevis in a statement.

The language as filed said, “The natural resources of the state are the legacy of present and future generations. Every person has a right to a clean and healthful environment, including clean air and water; control of pollution; and the conservation and restoration of the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the environment as provided by law.”

The last sentence caused the most consternation: “Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, subject to reasonable limitations, as provided by law.”

ad - gt

Its enforcement provision, however, was later amended to say that “a resident of this state, not including a corporation, may enforce this right.”

“With the Judicial Committee’s vote today, Florida’s comprehensive, thoughtfully crafted environmental policy will remain intact, continuing to protect the rights of Floridians and provide much-needed regulatory certainty and stability for businesses moving forward,” Bevis said. “(P)roposals such as this do not belong in the Florida Constitution.”

On Thursday, Sen. Denise Grimsley, a Lake Placid Republican, also opposed the proposal. She wrote a letter to the committee saying it would “undermine environmental gains and rolls out a red carpet to the court system for anyone with an ax to grind, regardless of legal standing or science.”

“Imagine the unintended consequences of freezing permitting processes and clogging the courts with challenges that could paralyze the ability of farms – and all small businesses for that matter – from operating with any shred of predictability,” said Grimsley, chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee and a candidate for state Agriculture Commissioner.

Commissioner Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, a CRC appointee of Senate President Joe Negron, filed the language. Both are from Martin County.

FMA_stpeter_blog_305ad728x90

In a November meeting, Commissioner Arthenia Joyner – a former Senate Democratic Leader – noted there’s already a right to sue in the state’s Environmental Protection Act.

Aliki Moncrief, the executive director of Florida Conservation Voters, replied that that right has been “chipped away,” calling Thurlow-Lippisch’s proposal “a slight course correction.”

Written By

Bill would mandate Bible study classes in public high schools

Influence

State’s mellow gets harshed: Medical marijuana law again found unconstitutional

Headlines

Univ. of Florida study: Charter schools less responsive to neediest students

Headlines

Downtown Ramen Bar opening in Tallahassee this week

Headlines

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.