FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – December 13, 2019 – Attorney Keith W. Rizzardi, special counsel in GrayRobinson’s Fort Lauderdale law firm office, and a law professor at St. Thomas University, authored an article for the Fall 2019 issue of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. Rizzardi's article, "Money, Mandates, and Water Management: Foreshadowing A Florida Disaster" reviewed budgets, statutes, and historic precedents, and emphasizes that repeated failures to properly regulate, manage and maintain water resources and infrastructure creates tremendous risks and consequences. At the South Florida Water Management District, a critical regional agency, data shows that budget and staffing are now below 1996 levels. Regulatory scrutiny and enforcement have declined. According to the agency’s own Inspector General reports, infrastructure is inadequately maintained. Rainy day reserve funds are kept at bare minimums and important new laws are simply unfunded mandates.
Rizzardi concludes by stressing that Florida officials must recognize the magnitude of the problems, offer meaningful leadership to restore water management finances and capabilities, and protect the public before the next flood, harmful algal bloom, or other disaster comes. Read the full article here.