Finger Pointing Goes Pro

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Incoming Senate President Joe Negron blames the Army Corps
for the putrid green pollution choking our waterways.

Army corps said we need to keep pumping because DC didn’t give them money to fix the dike.

D.C. Senators like Bill Nelson place blame squarely on Republicans in Tallahassee like Rick Scott.

Rick Scott consistently has blamed “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as ultimately responsible for blooms of algae smothering the St. Lucie River at Stuart and spreading to the Indian River and to beaches along the Atlantic coast.”

And round and round it goes like a giant game of pass the putrid potato…

Miami Herald blames Tallahassee.

We’re not to blame, insinuated Matt Caldwell, Lee County Legislator and “Legacy Florida” lead sponsor.

It’s that “Miami flood water,” said Caldwell right before patting himself on the back for a job well done. Caldwell sponsored the water policy bill known as “Legacy Florida” that the legislature passed last session.

Caldwell is essentially saying: Those other rich guys in DC haven’t paid their fair share yet (oh the irony)!

So is DC to blame for not funding improvements? Hardly.

This is the legislative equivalent of letting your children starve because your spouse didn’t pay child support.  You’re still responsible to take care of your kids no matter how much of a deadbeat your partner is!

But Floridians don’t have one deadbeat parent, we have two!

The Florida Legislature, who is supposed to be supervising the water quality and flows, has essentially outsourced the job to the executive branch and washed it’s hands of oversight through an obscure provision in Caldwell’s Legacy Florida legislation.

Normally, agencies that write important rules, like those dealing with water quality, must get legislative ratification.  While the legislature only has an up or down vote on the rule, the process itself requires the agency to work closely with legislative leaders to ensure they’re complying with legislative intent.

This makes sense.  Some obscure bureaucrat in a backwater agency isn’t going to get heat if a rule causes blowback.  It’s the legislature.

However, possibly the most critical piece of water quality legislation in the last decade exempted the DEP from such ratification oversight.

Caldwell explained the provision via email:

“I debated many hours with legislative and executive staff about this very concern in the water bill. Ultimately I sided with the thought that MFL’s aren’t like a typical rule, such as hours of training or license fees. They are site specific and regularly evolving. A typical rule might stand unchanged for decades. MFL’s are likely to be revisited constantly to ensure we’ve got it right.”

Kudos to Caldwell for having a thoughtful position on the issue and standing behind his decision…but he’s wrong.

Ultimately, the provision is just finger pointing gone pro.

Legislators like Caldwell can sit on their hands while simultaneously claiming they did something.  They can claim it’s those other guys haven’t done their job yet. They claim we can always pass a new law if it’s not working, but we need to give those other guys time to do something.

“You do something.”

“No, it’s your turn”

Back to the bickering and finger-pointing.

But everyday Floridians don’t care whose fault it is…they just want it fixed.

Stop pointing fingers and get to work!

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