Florida Right to Clean Water amendment will have to wait until 2026; plus environmentalists oppose the Bellmar development in Florida panther habitat

Florida springs
Ichetucknee Springs headwaters. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (Apr. 2023).

On Tuesday Cafe (Dec 12), we focused on two important environmental issues in Florida: overdevelopment and water.

Florida Right to Clean & Healthy Water

An effort to get a water referendum on Florida’s ballot next year has fallen short. But, we spoke with organizers about their plan to get the Right to Clean Water amendment on the 2026 ballot instead.

Captain Karl Deigert is the chair of the Florida Political Action Committee, Florida Right to Clean & Healthy Waters, and Joseph Bonasia is the chair of the Florida Rights of Nature Network.

“Unfortunately, the state does not permit electronic signatures. So every petition must be a hardcopy with what they call a wet signature, blue or black ink. We launched, as I said, back on Earth Day in 2022. We are just now really at the end of November, suspending our petition gathering efforts.

“We’re not close enough, really to merit continuing our efforts anymore. But we are, you know, redesigning retooling a campaign and we intend to relaunch again in February. So those people who signed petitions over the last 18 months or so they will have to sign the new petition when it launches again, later on in the winter.”

– Joseph Bonasia on WMNF

Opposition to the Bellmar development

We heard about efforts to stop a proposed development called Bellmar in prime Florida panther habitat along the Florida Wildlife Corridor in Collier County.

Michael McGrath is the Sierra Club Florida Lead Organizer and Marcela Zurita is a resident of Eastern Collier County who is active in issues concerning developments that might impact nearby wildlife and her neighbors.

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