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Green industry threatens to sue Naples over fertilizer ordinance

Environmental Research and Education Foundation puts city “on notice.”

The city of Naples was “put on notice” by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation regarding a controversial fertilizer ordinance.

Foundation officials say if the city doesn’t pull back its ordinance, a lawsuit will be filed against the municipality.

“After making every effort to resolve matters amicably, EREF believes it is in the green industry and the state’s best interest to look to the courts for judicial relief from the unconstitutional and non-scientific fertilizer ordinance put in place by the City of Naples,” said Mac Carraway, executive director of EREF.

“Misguided and discriminatory ordinances, like this one, are creating jurisdictional chaos in our state, jeopardizing Florida’s water quality and waterways.”

The Foundation represents law care professionals, golf course superintendents, sports turf managers and other green industry professionals. The organization labeled the ordinance unconstitutional and discriminatory, in large part because it targets lawn irrigation ahead of septic use in regulating water issues.

“Healthy lawns and landscapes support the well-being of our environment and are an integral piece to solving the statewide problem of nutrient loading,” Carraway said,

“In fact, independent, third-party sources have acknowledged that septic tanks and failed sanitary and stormwater systems are largely responsible for nutrient loading and algae blooms. State agencies charged with environmental protection and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have spoken against these misguided bans because they do not address root causes and, while sounding good, actually have the potential to do more harm to our waterways.”

Southwest Florida politics has centered largely around water issues since outbreaks of blue-green algae bloomed the Caloosahatchee River in 2018 at the same time red tide impacted communities along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

A letter to the city noted Florida law prohibits local government from regulating fertilizer “because the green industry is integral to Florida’s identity and misguided ordinances can do more harm than good.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lou

    November 6, 2019 at 6:48 am

    The polluters sure don’t like to be restrained

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