St. Johns Riverkeeper blasts Rick Scott, Legislature over water policy bill


Despite statewide pleas to veto it, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Thursday a water policy bill decried by the state’s environmentalists but loved by agriculture interests.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman joined the chorus of critics blasting the move as one of short-term expediency at the expense of the long-term goal of protecting Florida’s waterways.

“Our river and our springs still suffer from failing septic tanks, manure and fertilizer runoff, and frequent toxic algae outbreaks infamously known as the ‘green monster,'” Rinaman said. “This measure makes the situation even worse.”

In addition to complaints from environmental groups, former Gov. Bob Graham also called on Scott to veto the sweeping water reform measure, saying it “blatantly” favors special interests and ties the hands of local water management districts.

Meanwhile, beginning March 22, the Riverkeeper starts the Save the St. Johns Tour — along the river’s entire length from the headwaters at Blue Cypress Lake west of Vero Beach to the river’s mouth at the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville.

“We are getting out on the river to save the river,” Rinaman said.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]


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