Last year, residents of Key West voted to limit the amount of cruise ship activity in their port. According to The Miami Herald, “They capped the number of passengers that can disembark each day to 1,500, limited mooring to ships with a capacity of 1,300, and gave docking priorities to cruise lines with the best health and environmental records.”
However, Florida’s government doesn’t like this. They see this as a loss of potential profits for the state. So, despite the fact that Republicans claim to hate big government, the Republican-controlled Florida House and Senate have drafted a bill that says local governments can’t have a say in their own port activity. Conservatives have also created a smokescreen in the Florida media, turning the issue into cargo, rather than tourism.
Whereas Key West has limited the number of cruise ships to curb overtourism, environmental destruction, and pollution, Republicans have taken to various forms of media to say, “Next they’ll try to stop cargo ships from docking at ports around Florida, destroying our economy…” The blatant hypocrisy and manipulation of the facts is appalling, and it’s tragic that the Republicans have no desire to protect Key West (one of the state’s most profitable tourist destinations), or to allow the people of the island to have a say in their community.
The bill hasn’t been voted on yet. If you want to make your voice heard, reach out to your state house and senate representatives.
The bill’s co-sponsor, Jim Boyd, lives hundreds of miles away from Key West. To voice your displeasure in this blatant overreach of power, you can contact his office here.