Rep. Brad Drake and Sen. Manny Diaz have filed appropriations requests that would set aside millions for a private company to clean up Florida waterways.
Drake’s request (HB 9253) would direct $8 million in funds to Freytech to remove algae and non-native bacteria from water bodies across the state.
According to the appropriations request form, “the technology being sought must not include the application of any chemicals or power based system. In addition, the technology solution being sought must not include the application of any native or non native bacteria or micro-organisms to the soils or water bodies being affected by contamination. Lastly, the technical solution must not use any filters requiring off site dumping or material.”
The bulk of the funding, $5.2 million, would pay for the expenses, equipment and supplies used in the cleanup effort. Consulting services and studies would account for $1.5 million of the total, while $1 million would be used for construction and $300,000 would be set spent on salaries.
Freytech would primarily focus on removing contaminated water from retention ponds near highways. All funding in the request would be non-recurring.
Diaz’s appropriations request also weighs in at $8 million and likewise specifies that $7 million would be spent on operations and $1 million would be spent on fixed capital outlay.
Freytech is represented by former Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who began working as a lobbyist in April 2019, two years after he resigned his seat in the Senate rather than face possible expulsion over offensive remarks he directed toward Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat.
Artiles began representing Freytech in July 2019.
The Miami-based company develops oil water separators and environmental balance devices. According to its website, its products are in use in 40 countries.
The environmental balance devices most closely match what is described in the appropriations request.
According to Freytech, “EBD systems harness and balance energy fields present in air, water and soil invigorating native microorganisms to remediate organic and inorganic pollutants and restoring entire ecosystems to their original natural state.”