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'Turning the Toxic Tide' in Florida

A series of editorial sets an environmental agenda for new political leadership in the state of Florida. Reform of the state's planning and development processes are included.
January 25, 2019, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Rick Lewis

"Turning the Toxic Tide" is a series of editorials published collectively by the six editorial boards of USA TODAY Network-Florida.

The editorial that caught our eye at Planetizen initially tackles the subject of growth management, starting with the example of Santa Rosa County, where "mismanaged development and unfinished clay roads have regularly resulted in deadly runoffs that choke and kill seagrass and marine life in streams and bayous, including a dwindling number of natural oyster beds along the Santa Rosa coastline."

The larger point, exemplified by Santa Rosa County development, is that the state's water crosses jurisdictional boundaries, but land use and development regulations do not. According to the editorial, "the authority to manage growth largely rests with individual counties and municipalities. The result has been haphazard growth; and as development pressures intensify, so do the impacts on our lands and water."

As for the larger point of the series, an earlier editorial makes the case:

It is not hyperbole to say that Florida stands at an historic environmental crossroads — one which could have profound economic consequences as “business-friendly” policies adapted in the wake of the Great Recession have become a liability, impacting key industries such as tourism and real estate.

Ultimately, Florida’s desirability as a place to live, work or play will be diminished, possibly destroyed.

We cannot allow these crises to persist.

We must turn the toxic tide.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, January 24, 2019 in TCPalm
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