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The Florida Senate

Senator Stewart, District 13 — Press Release


April 28, 2017

Senator Linda Stewart Passes Environmental Protection Bill


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In keeping with her record of defending the environment, State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Friday unanimously passed an environmental bill in a full vote on the Senate floor. SB 198 requires the Governor to make appointments to fill a vacancy on the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC) within 90 days and requires a 4-vote majority of its members when approving rules pertaining to air quality or water quality standards.

“We are making certain that any future vacancies on the Environmental Regulation Commission—a commission that oversees our standards for ground water quality, air pollution standards, and emissions standards—are timely filled so that the interests of the people are fully protected,” said Sen. Stewart. “Unless there is representation from the environmental and local government communities, we jeopardize public health for the narrow pursuit of private profit.”

SB 198 is in response to a 3-2 ruling made last summer by the ERC that increased the allowable concentrations of over two dozen known carcinogens in Florida’s waters. At the time, two vacancies for representatives from the environmental and local government communities likely enabled the commission to approve proposed changes that allowed higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents in our water. Some of the approved industrial chemicals—such as benzene, cyanide and beryllium—are released by paper mills, dry cleaning companies, oil and gas drilling companies, and during fracking operations.