Four months after pledging to use his political clout to help heal the St. Johns River, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine has made good on his promise. As The Florida Times-Union reported earlier today, the caucus met for the first time yesterday in Tallahassee, with 16 legislators from counties that border the river in attendance.
In September, during a River Summit in Jacksonville, Thrasher was adamant about his concern for St. Johns:
We’ve got to begin to look at policies and funding mechanisms to get the river back on track. My intention is to create a St. Johns River caucus in November, that would consist of at least 24 Florida members. Every person with consitutents along the river can come together and work on [solutions]. We need to focus on … bringing the nutrient levels down.
Fellow River advocate, Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, called the caucus a great start: “In the absence of that grand scale, we won’t … make the progress that we want to.”
As the Times-Union pointed out, Daytona Sen. Evelyn Lynn recently introduced a Senate bill that would create a 6 percent tax on bottles of water smaller than 1 gallon, with revenue going to an Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund. During Tuesday’s meeting of the river caucus, some members suggested using a portion of that revenue to help St. Johns.