Talking Points on the Simmons Bill
Recommended Talking Points
These are the minimum talking points you should try to convey during each meeting with a State legislator concerning springs protection legislation:
- A springs protection bill is currently being prepared by Senators David Simmons, Charlie Dean, Alan Hays, Wilton Simpson, and Bill Montford.
- You are on a key Committee that will consider the Simmons legislation and we would appreciate your support for the bill.
- Springs are in terrible shape, due to declining flows and pollution, and they’re not getting better.
- The draft Simmons bill offers important new protections for springs: (1) it provides that currently compromised springs shouldn’t be “harmed” by further water withdrawals and (2) it restricts pollution sources in designated springs protection zones.
- Opponents of the Simmons spring bill will argue that current regulatory tools will protect springs. These include Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs) and BMAPs (Basin Management Action Plans). The fact is that these well-intentioned tools have not provided sufficient protection and show no prospect of leading to springs recovery any time soon.
- With respect to water quality, for example, many of the BMAPs depend heavily on use of Best Management Practices by agricultural operations. Best Management Practices can be helpful, but we know that existing best management practices in porous, high-recharge areas do little to protect springs.
- With respect to water quantity, we appreciate the fact that Water Management Districts are accelerating their work on MFLs and are working together more effectively across district boundaries. However, there is no indication that these changes will be enough to replenish the aquifer and its springs.
- To date no degraded spring has graduated from these programs and been declared healthy.