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Florida's water woes are seen as urgent – except in the House

By Craig Pittman

A remarkable alignment of Florida political interests has occurred this year — perhaps because it's an election year, perhaps because the urgency of the problem has drawn a lot of attention.

Gov. Rick Scott, several powerful state senators, a coalition of environmental groups and a consortium of business and industry groups all say the Legislature needs to do something this year about fixing Florida's water.

The pollution is too pervasive, the flow too endangered, and the perils too great to the state's future to ignore it any longer, they all agreed.

"Water quality and quantity have the potential to limit residential and business growth, and we need to attack this problem head-on with forward-thinking solutions," Tom Feeney, president of the pro-business Associated Industries of Florida, said in February.

A rally for clean water drew 200 people to Tallahassee last month, all clamoring for quick action. One speaker, former Department of Community Affairs secretary Tom Pelham, told the crowd, "The time to act is now. Delay will only make the situation worse and the solutions more costly."