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Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Nikki Fried touts Democratic environmental priorities for the upcoming legislative session

Nikki Fried at the podium
News Service of Florida
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried touted a bill aimed at improving farming practices to minimize their impact on Florida’s ailing waterways.

Florida's agriculture commissioner spoke on a bill that's aimed at improving farming practices to minimize their impact on the state's ailing waterways.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried joined with Democratic lawmakers Wednesday in Tallahassee to tout environmental priorities for the upcoming legislative session. 

Fried touted a bill aimed at improving farming practices to minimize their impact on Florida’s ailing waterways.   

The bill would advance a priority of Fried’s Office of Agricultural Water Policy, after her campaign in 2018 coincided with statewide outbreaks of toxic algae. 

Sen. Gary Farmer, a Democrat from Fort Lauderdale, is sponsoring the measure. He says the bill would enhance accountability and enforcement over farming practices. 

“Under our bill the enforcement authority would be given to the department so they can continue on essentially with this mission they’ve already begun to incentivize and encourage these best management practices to preserve this water supply issue.” 

Farmers have faced criticism for practices that can leave waterways sullied with nutrient pollution and running dry. Fried says the practices need updating.  

“We are rewriting the rules when it comes to agriculture water policy in the state, taking landmark action to increase accountability, transparency and coordination.” 

Fried, a Democrat, is running against Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial race. She also touted a measure that would cut greenhouse gas emissions in Florida to zero by midcentury. 

Rep. Kelly Skidmore, a Democrat representing the Palm Beach area, says the bill also would establish greenhouse gas reporting deadlines for entities receiving state funding.  

“This is crucial because these buildings are the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the state. The bill would also create efficiency benchmarking for state-owned buildings using the energy star system, which would help compare energy performance to similar buildings across the country.” 

The legislative session starts in January.

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