Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson have taken a stand -- keep planting grass for people to mow.
The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance -- which held its first conference in March and has already accrued a staggering two fans on Facebook -- came out earlier this month in staunch opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's "Research Report on Turfgrass Allowance," which encourages builders to consider landscape designs that require a "regionally appropriate amount of water."
Florida's senators have taken what appears to be a half-hearted stance against this appropriateness, sending a letter to the EPA "in defense of turf," according to The Miami Herald.
The report claims most forms of turfgrass require more water than other plants like trees and bushes, and says builders can get their work "WaterSense labeled" if they either subscribe to a flat 40-percent turfgrass limit or use a more nuanced landscape budget based on the area's climate and geographical situation.
The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET... get it?) published a letter it said was ;from Rubio to the EPA: In it, Rubio says that while specifications ;"were developed with the laudable goals of promoting water efficiency and improving the environment, it is our understanding that the WaterSense outdoor guidelines ... fall short of these goals."
He, or whoever he tricked into writing this thing, appears not to possess an "understanding" of the situation at all:
Rubio claims there are "many positive environmental attributes of turf, including oxygen creation [and] carbon sequestration," which, if those shady scientists at the Department of Energy are to be believed, is not really true: Dead grass produces carbon dioxide, which cancels out much of the oxygen it produces, and trees are much better than grass at sequestering carbon. (Use THAT one at your next dinner party. You're welcome.)
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In his other claim, Rubio dispenses with science altogether and just says that "anyone who chooses to use the water budget formula will find no relief due to its complexity." Ah, yes. No need to conserve water -- then someone might have to do math.
Both PLANET and the NHLA acknowledge that the specifications are completely and totally voluntary, but still insist that the system fails to acknowledge "the many environmental benefits of increased turfgrass use," though the report seems to make it pretty clear that there aren't any. Unless "environmental benefits" means "people get paid to mow it." Then, yeah, burn the forests -- great rolling meadows are our ticket back to an economic boom.