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Clean Water, Healthy Beaches: Surfrider's 2023 Florida Legislative Priorities

As we collectively wind down for 2022, Surfrider's Florida network is looking ahead to the new year with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and policy priorities in the Sunshine State. 2022 was a year of incredible momentum and victory for the Surfrider network, and we cannot wait to hit the ground running with our Florida chapters to build winning campaigns in 2023. Here is a preview of Surfrider's Florida 2023 Legislative Priorities:

Prevent Plastic Pollution

Each year 7000  tons of wasteful plastic pollution enters the ocean in Florida, posing a major threat to our marine environment and coastal economy. Yet current state pre-emption on the regulation of most plastics prevents meaningful regulatory action to curb marine plastic and its negative economic impacts in Florida. Surfrider supports laws aimed at reducing sources of plastic pollution, as well as prevention and response to marine debris.

Support: Coastal plastics regulation pilot bill, intentional balloon release repeal bill, repeal of state pre-emption on the regulation of most plastics.

Protect Clean Water + Public Health

Sewage spills and stormwater runoff threaten the health of beachgoers, coastal ecosystems, and economies. Consistent water quality monitoring and public notification  is needed to  protect public health and inform solutions, while significant investments are needed to repair, upgrade, and ensure climate resilience of Florida’s failing water infrastructure.

Support: FY23 Florida Department of Health appropriation of $500,000 for the  Florida Healthy Beaches Program, Safe Waterways Act, and implementation of Blue-Green Algae Task Force Recommendations.

Support Resilient Coasts

Florida’s coastal communities, infrastructure, and marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened by sea level rise, extreme weather events, and flooding. Bold state leadership is needed to implement sea level rise solutions that advance coastal resilience, protect coastal and marine habitats and communities, and harness the power of nature to protect and prepare Florida’s coasts from flooding and sea level rise. 

Support: Fully funding the Resilient Florida grant program,  thoughtful and thorough implementation of CS/HB7053 Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise, and streamlining the permitting process for nature-based solutions in adaptation projects.

As we close the door on 2022, we are more optimistic than ever that the Florida can effect positive change for our coasts and we cannot wait to do that with you in 2023. Cheers to clean water and healthy beaches in the new year!