Dear Friends of Florida’s waters:

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have finished off all the left-overs by now.  Aren’t we all so fortunate to have such an abundance in our lives.  As stewards of our waters we have a lot to be thankful for as well, but we also have our challenges. The greatest resource we have at our disposal is each other.  We pull together and get things done.  We are spread out all across the state, each having our own special waters that we cherish, but all having a commitment to better statewide policies and implementation that is meaningful and lasting.

Twenty years ago this month, the Florida Clean Water Network was born.  Initially it was just a handful of state affiliates of national groups.  That was a great start.  But as a long-time environmental organizer in Florida, I quickly engaged the hundreds of grassroots groups across the state that I knew were doing a lion’s share of the work.  Today we are over 300 groups (environmental, civic, faith-based, recreational, business, etc.) and thousands of individuals.  We are still growing everyday. I can’t wait to see us 20 years from now!

You have probably received a number of emails from other great environmental groups in Florida asking for your financial support today which is “Giving Tuesday” – as I have.  I hope that your life is abundant enough to give to several of us.  If you appreciate and value the work that Florida Clean Water Network is doing, please consider sending a tax-deductible contribution today and your contribution will be matched 1:1 by the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation.  If you are wondering what your contribution will accomplish, here is a short list of our current projects:

1.  A policy paper on septic tanks which not only explains the current political situation in Tallahassee but tells how many local governments are struggling to deal with their share of Florida’s 2.7 million septic tanks, many of which are malfunctioning and contributing to pollution of our springs, lakes, rivers and/or estuaries.  This paper will be released before the holidays!

2.  A lawsuit now before the 1st District Court of Appeals regarding massive discharges from paper mills in Florida that are made possible by the illegal use of “mixing zones” (loopholes) by the Florida DEP.  The Koch brothers’ mills (Palatka and Perry) and several others are killing Florida rivers and estuaries with these toxic waste discharges.  We base our suit on the premise that the public trust doctrine in the Florida Constitution is being ignored.

3.  A written comment letter/request to the US Army Corp of Engineers to deny a permit to the Santa Rosa County Commission for dredging and destroying several acres of grass beds in Santa Rosa Sound. The permit would benefit a handful of boat and property owners who live along canals that empty into the Sound.

4.  A written comment letter/request to the Florida DEP to modify a proposed permit for the continued discharge of treated sewage effluent at Pensacola Beach into Santa Rosa Sound.  We are asking the DEP to require the direct discharge to be removed from surface waters.

5.  A public education effort and rule change (F.A.C.) that would regulate human-health based toxic/carcinogenic chemicals that are being dumped into Florida waters.

These are just the major projects that we work on everyday.  There are many others that we track and try to keep you updated on as needed.

We have had many successes over the years and expect to have many more with your help.  Your tax-deductible contribution will help us keep working for Florida’s waters and a bright future for the generations to follow us.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and for all that you do in your community to protect Florida’s waters!

For all of Florida’s waters,
Linda Young
Executive Director
Florida Clean Water Network
P.O. Box 5124
Navarre, FL  32566

About the Author

Linda Young has been the executive director of the Clean Water Network of Florida since 1994. From 1989 to 1997, she founded and published a monthly statewide environmental newspaper. Over the past twenty three years, she has co-founded some of the most long-lasting and effective environmental organizations in the Southeast, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Gulf Coast Environmental Defense and C.A.T.E. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Southern Oregon University and a M.A. in Political Science/Campaign Management from the University of West Florida.

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