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Ocean Enemy #1 versus the Clean Water Act

Ocean Enemy #1 (Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.) is moving to block finalization of the government proposal to increase the number of streams and creeks that receive automatic protection under the federal Clean Water Act.  The House measure (H.R. 5078) would prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from drafting regulations and guidance needed to clarify the jurisdictional boundaries of the Clean Water Act.

Protecting smaller streams and wetlands upstream is vital for healthy communities downstream.  More than 115 million Americans get their drinking water from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs that are at risk of pollution from upstream sources.  H.R. 5078 would derail current efforts, hamstring future regulatory efforts, sow more confusion, and create significant ambiguity to deny businesses the regulatory certainty they need.

Meanwhile, Panama City fisherman Billy Archer is calling out Southerland for driving doctrines that would devastate fish and Florida’s fishing industry.  “Rep. Steve Southerland advocates for adding a provision to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that would prevent even considering so-called limited access privilege programs, or catch shares—even if local fishermen want them,” said Ocean Champions backing up their ad featuring Billy.

The incumbent Representative from Panama City appeared secure in his seat last spring.  In April, Southerland held a comfortable lead over Gwen Graham (49% Southerland / 39% Graham).

Southerland criticized the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s decision to shrink the season to 9 days from 40. And Southerland has introduced legislation that would prevent federal restrictions on fishing.  He misjudged that local fishermen work in close collaboration with government to set up sustainable fishing restriction.


Gwen Graham according to an August poll by Ocean Champions has taken the lead, 45 to 43, over Southerland.  Ocean Champions reports “That survey was conducted toward the end of significant media buy from Republican affiliated groups. Graham has now completely erased the Republican advantage created by that spending. Graham currently leads Southerland by +21 percentage points in the Tallahassee market (55% Graham / 34% Southerland) and trails Southerland by -26 percentage points in the Panama City market (31% Graham / 57% Southerland). This reflects a net increase in support for Graham of +8 and +17 respectively, compared to April. This dramatic shift in support coincides with a sizable media buy by Ocean Champions in that market.”

It goes on: “Undecided voters appear ready to break toward Graham. Undecided voters in the Congressional race are less Republican in registration than the electorate as a whole, and lean toward Charlie Crist over Rick Scott in the governor’s race. Forty percent (40%) of undecided voters would prefer someone new representing them in Congress, compared to only 12% of undecided voters who say they would prefer to see Southerland re-elected.”

“Southerland is “upside down” on several of the key indicators that measure an incumbent’s strength. Southerland’s job rating is net negative (42% positive / 47% negative). In fact, his positive job rating is only slightly higher than that of President Obama’s (37% positive). A majority of likely voters say they would prefer to see someone new representing them in Congress rather than re-elect Steve Southerland (39% re-elect Southerland – 54% someone new).”

The poll was conducted by Pathfinder Opinion Research among likely November 2014 General Election voters in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. Telephone interviewing was conducted April 22-24, 2014 and August 11-12, 2014 utilizing live interviewers and a voter list sample containing landline and cell phone numbers. The sample size for both surveys is n=500 with a margin of sampling error of +/- 4.4% at the 95% level of confidence.

Ocean Champions 2014

Ocean Enemy #1 is taking on water!  Southerland has gone on the defensive, responding with an ad of his own trying to explain how promoting overfishing would help America’s fisheries.  To stay informed of this race going into November, and to view the ad of leaving Panama City in his rear view mirror go to Ocean Champions

5 responses on “Ocean Enemy #1 versus the Clean Water Act

  1. Ryan Riddle

    Rich powerful corporations have just bought the right to poison our water. Thanks allot Hal. I’m ashamed to be a Kentuckian today. We’ve got to vote these corporate cronies out.

  2. Steven J Ercole

    Evidently Rep. Steve Southerland (R) Fla. is bought and paid for by his most valued constituents: Industries who’s business it is to pollute” because there’s more profit for them and Steve Southerland!” How anyone anywhere can elect unscrupulous, selfish, careless, greedy people who’s only agenda is to line their own pockets, is beyond me! Why else would someone want to limit or eliminate the clean air or clean water act? Only someone who will profit and has no conscience!

  3. Leila Zaharopoulos

    Ocean Enemy: Keep up the good fight against Rep. Steve Southerland and others whose goal is self-serving, caring only for profit and greed of big industries, with no concern for the health of our oceans and the wildlife and humans who depend on healthy oceans for their survival.

    1. Rob Moir, Ph.D. Post author

      The contest between Gwen Graham and Steve Southerland has thanks to Ocean Champions become one of the cycle’s most competitive, and the race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. On Monday, both campaigns released varied internal polling. Ocean Champions district-wide buy will target radio stations with large African-American listenerships (click here view video and listen to radio spot). Graham must have a robust turnout from that voting bloc to win on Election Day.

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