Good evening; I'm Dr. Dupont, a physician, environmentalist and a Sarasota County Water Steward. I am addressing you about protecting our clean water.
Clean water supply for the city of Sarasota is jeopardized by algae blooms and industrial pollutants. For over 100 years, from 1878-1994, there were 64 months of red tide. Since 1994 there have been 184 months of red tide. The state has issued 23,000 pollution discharge permits impairing our watersheds. The clock is ticking. I am asking you to amend the Charter so that residents have a right to clean water.
I submitted a legally written amendment, called The Right To Clean Water, such as now in Orange County, FL. This amendment defines water, clean water and pollution and circumvents the statewide preemption against giving legal rights to nature. It allows residents to bring legal actions including relief to restore the waters to their condition prior to the violation.
Our health, and our tourist economy, depend upon clean water. Red tide causes respiratory problems; Blue-green algae is linked with neurodegnerative diseases; fecal contamination causes GI, eye, skin and ea
r problems. Tourism contributes close to $100 billion/year to state economy. Polluted waters result in hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenues. In 2018 algae blooms in SWFL had an economic impact of over $317 million and nearly 3000 lost jobs-years.
Our system isn't working because our state legislature is significantly influenced by polluting corporations and business organization special interests that benefit from rapid growth. Mixed use commercial and residential development destroys our wetlands. Our state legislature is plaguing Florida with ineffectual polices on water.
The time has come for residents to be able to defend our precious water resources by establishing The Right To Clean Water in the Charter. Orange County's Right To Clean Water amendment had an 89% voter approval. One citizen filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for issuing permits and The Orlando Business Journal said the case will have a major impact on development on FL. Untie the hands of residents and allow them to take legal action to preserve our clean water. Move to amend the Charter to establish The Right To Clean Water. The amendment submitted was written by the attorneys who wrote the amendment passed in Orange County can be used judiciously as is.