President's Letter 
April 2003

                                                                        Michael Andoscia

                                                                        Responsible Growth Management Coalition

                                                                        P.O. Box 1826

                                                                        Fort Myers , Florida 33902

                                                                        April 23, 2003

 

Dear RGMC Member:

 

I hope all of you had a very happy Earth Day.  Of course, this sentiment is mostly redundant, for those of us who love the environment celebrate Earth Day every day.  This is our home.  This is where we work, where we play.  We raise our children and visit with our grandchildren under swaying palms.  People from all over the world visit us to enjoy our sandy beeches and balmy weather (albeit sometimes downright hot).  Along our miles of coastline they forget their worries while bolstering our economy.  The very quality of our lives is dependent upon the health of the environment.  As we celebrate our Earth Days we are constantly reminded of the challenges in keeping beautiful Southwest Florida healthy and vibrant.

 

Yet when others view the natural wonders of our home they see nothing more than quick profits.  Such people have no regard for the long term consequences of their profiteering.  The destruction characteristic of irresponsible growth is permanent and potentially catastrophic to our health and, ironically, to our economy.

 

Many challenges face us and the RGMC is ready to face these assaults against our homes head on. 

 

  • The CR 951 extension threatens to divide and endanger sensitive wetlands and groundwater resources, perhaps even priority panther habitat.  The RGMC is against this project given current information.

  • The Board of County Commissioners is looking at a proposal by Miramar that will threaten the valuable DR/GR.  The RGMC stands firmly against this proposed amendment to the Comp Plan and is prepared to read into the record a statement to that effect.

  • In the State Legislature bills such as HB1793 (which just passed the House) and HB 1005 and threaten the status of environmental trust funds

  • SB 2200 threatens to eliminate the power of the Florida DEP to create water reservations that are necessary for the health of our waterways, fishing and habitat.

  • Special interests are pushing our politicians to postpone components of the Everglades Forever project that will limit the amount of phosphates that are currently devastating the River of Grass .

 

Please respond to these threats to our environment by contacting your representatives in the state and local governments and expressing your concern.

 

Yet even in these trying times the news is not all bad.  The decision of the DEP to include the streams and rivers leading into Estero Bay as impaired waters was a positive reversal of a mistaken decision.  Though it is not good that these waters are impaired, the fact they are now recognized as such is the first step to cleaning them up.  Much thanks should go to John Cassani, and RGMC member, and Andy Barienbrook of the DEP for their invaluable contribution to this effort.

 

Florida Power and Light is demonstrating what responsible growth is all about.  They are putting in additional power lines between Lee and Collier Counties .  The most direct path for these lines would be through sensitive wetlands, including CREW.  Instead, FP and L opted to skirt the wetlands adding miles and expense to the project.  They are, however, under great pressure to reverse their decision.  Please call FP and L, or write to them and to the editors of your local news papers and express your appreciation for their positive steps toward responsible growth.

 

Finally, the Earthday Celebration at Koreshan State Park was a fantastic success.  RGMC was a co-sponsor of this festivity that raised money for the Greater Everglades Land Trust.  This money will go toward purchasing environmentally sensitive land and set it aside for protection.  The best way to protect the land is to own it. 

 

While at the celebration I had the opportunity to speak with literally dozens of people regarding responsible growth.  There are many in this area who share our values and who believe that our economic and environmental goals are not mutually exclusive.  They feel, as we do, that single greatest resource we have is our environment and that decisions concerning growth should be made with consideration for long term benefit rather than short term profit. Itís gratifying to know that responsible growth is foremost on the minds of many of our neighbors.

 

Sincerely

 

 

 

Michael Andoscia

President RGMC

 

PS: We are still looking for a representative to the Agency for Bay Management (ABM).  If you are interested in issues concerning Estero Bay and would like to serve in this important function one day a month please contact me.  Thank you Matt Bixler for fulfilling this responsibility for the time being.

 

 

 

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