EcoAction Alert

Save local fertilizer ordinances by prevention preemtion

Release Date: 2023-05-04
Action Deadline: 2023-05-30

Today (April 4, 2023) we sent in a letter requesting a veto of last minute additions to bill SB 2052 that would preempt local governments from adopting or amending local fertilizer ordinances. Please call or write Governor DeSantis to also request a veto.

Main phone line: 850-717-9337
Alternative phone line: 850-717-9238

Letter text:

May 4, 2023
Governor Ron DeSantis
The Florida Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

SUBJECT: Prevent Water Pollution – Veto Preemption of Local Gov Fertilizer Ordinances

Dear Governor DeSantis:

The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) supports local government ordinances that prevent water pollution resulting from the misuse of lawn fertilizer. Please veto the last-minute addition of a provision to SB 2502 (amendment barcode 500786, “Back of the Bill” provisions, Section 85, Lines 2455-2460) that would preempt local governments from adopting or amending such ordinances. They may be the single most cost-effective strategy for reducing nutrient pollution, and preempting them would be contrary to your own clearly-stated commitment to address Florida’s water quality crisis.

Our springs, rivers and estuaries are choking on excessive nutrients. The pollution imposes
large and measurable economic and quality-of-life impacts on our communities. It kills the seagrasses and other submerged aquatic vegetation many wildlife species (e.g., manatees) depend on for food and to meet other habitat needs. Your strong support for preventing nutrient pollution is reflected in the large amount of funding being directed to springs protection ($50 million annually) and other anti-pollution measures. It is simply counter-productive to preempt local governments from being part of the solution. Do not discard an effective tool in this fight! To underscore the real-world implications of the offending provision, please note that at this very moment, Hernando County is working to amend its fertilizer ordinance to make it more effective.

Their Board of County Commissioners has been working diligently to implement very expensive septic-to-sewer conversion projects to help restore the nutrient-impaired waters of the Weeki Wachee spring and river. They concluded it is difficult to justify the millions they are spending on those projects, which includes millions more contributed by the state, while ignoring the turf fertilizer that state researchers have determined accounts for 22 percent of all the nutrients emanating from the spring.

The state’s researchers have also determined that the limitations imposed by these local government ordinances have not resulted in nutrient-starved lawns. Nor have they damaged the businesses engaged in lawn maintenance. They simply reduce the amount of fertilizer that  is lost from our lawns by leaching and runoff, and then feeds algal blooms in our springs, rivers and estuaries.

Please do not deny local governments the ability to be part of the solution to Florida’s water quality woes. Please veto the offending provision to SB 2502 contained in the “Back of the Bill” provisions, Section 85, Lines 2455-2460. Thank you for considering our concerns and for your efforts to restore our polluted waters.


Mark Kateli, President
Florida Native Plant Society

See text in gray box.

Release date: 04-05-2023