Saturday, April 7, 2007

Make a Difference in Tallahassee For Ocean days

Surfrider Chargin It In Tallahassee!
Clean Oceans Bill Moves Forward This past Wednesday Surfrider stood tall in the pit and pushed the Clean Ocean's Bill through House Council on Environmental Protection. Essentially, Surfrider faced off against former House Speaker Ralph Haben, who is now the lobbyist for Florida's Day Cruise Association.Haben got the call to speak before the Committee first and laid down a tough act to follow. Surfrider stepped up and charged in trying to convince the skeptical panel of 13 legislators. To make matters worse Haben had burned up most of the time available to speak and a computer glitch crashed the presentation we were supposed to make. Amazingly, Surfrider pulled in and nailed a perfect argument. When the votes came in The Clean Ocean's Bill passed 8-5 and took a HUGE step towards final passage into law.

Open Beaches Amendment Coming in Under the Radar This session has been tough on Surfrider's Open Beaches Act but our motto of "Never Say Die, Never Surrender!" has paid off and protection of Beach access is back on the table and looking good.After taking a cruel blow in the opening days of legislative session, the Open Beaches Act essentially fell into what folks would term the loser's bracket in a tournament; still alive but a strike against it. Intense work began on retooling the bill into an amendment and searching for the perfect place to get it back into play.That opportunity came along this week and Surfrider quietly worked "Open Beaches" back into contention with House Council unanimously adding it to a bill that has good prospects of making it into law. This was no easy feat and HUGE props go out to Florida Regional Manager Ericka D'Avanzo who worked many a deal to make it possible.

Time for the Crew to Step Up! First let me say, it's RARE that an environmental group can come into Tallahassee its first year and get 2 pieces of legislation into the second half of legislative session. Most called us crazy to even try!Yet here we are, 3 weeks left in session and both Clean Oceans and Open Beaches have legs to make it the whole way. What they need most is you! As both bills move to the House and Senate Floor, intense lobbying and political action will start to attack these measures.The bottom line will be:"How bad to do you want Open Beaches and Clean Oceans?""Are you willing to give what it takes to make these initiatives a reality?"Be assured that if folks let this opportunity slip away it may never come back. SURFRIDER NEEDS YOU TO COME TO TALLAHASSEE and help push these bills into law. Surfrider is setting everything up from vans to hotels, training, and materials for folks to spend Ocean's Day - April 18th in Tallahassee visiting legislators and promoting Clean Oceans and Open Beaches.
Click here to send an email to our Legislative Coordinator.He'll get you hooked up so you can make a difference.

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