In early May 2009, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, asked the Florida Legislature to ensure that Florida’s Inland Protection Trust Fund (IPTF) is adequately funded. The IPTF finances environmental clean-up on sites contaminated by leaking petroleum storage tanks. Sink warned that failing to fund the IPTF could waste progress in remediating contamination that has been made. Sink further noted that Florida currently receives 90 percent of its drinking water from underground sources. Consequently, petroleum storage tanks constitute a significant threat to the quality of Florida’s underground water supply.
Adequately funding the Inland Protection Trust Fund is a smart investment -- it provides long term cost savings by avoiding the potential costs of contaminated drinking water. If the Legislature fails to adequately fund the Inland Protection Trust Fund and clean-up is stopped, contamination can spread, making any future clean-up extremely expensive and putting the state’s drinking water source at serious risk.
Holding back funding also wastes millions of dollars that are invested in clean-up projects that are currently underway. The Legislature should consider the long-term public health and economic consequences of stopping this clean-up program, instead of relying on this short-sighted plan to divert trust fund money.