Friday, August 16, 2013

On wrecked water quality in Florida and damage to coastal real estate, Senator Bill Nelson joins the tide of bullshit ... by gimleteye

Two points about an excellent letter to the editor re-printed from the Palm Beach Post. First, Big Sugar does not want to fix its pollution of the Everglades even though the Florida constitution says it must, and second, Congress tells agencies with environmental missions what to do. In other words, the view of Florida's wrecked coastal real estate due to water pollution is the equivalent of watching cartel drug lords working openly from estates in Mexico City overlooking its Congress and judiciary.

We do not have an elected official, from US Senator Bill Nelson to Senator Marco Rubio to any member of the Florida Congressional delegation who will speak truth to the powerful sugar industry. There is only Ray Judah, a former county commissioner of more than two decades who was targeted in the last election cycle by unregulated PAC money from Big Sugar and its proxies in the radical GOP right.

Judah, a Republican, was cut out of his district in Lee County by his own party. In the Fort Myers News Press, Judah recently wrote: "Florida Sugar Farmers are currently spending millions in media advertising in a stealth propaganda campaign to convince the public that recent amendments to the Everglades Forever Act have created a partnership between Everglades restoration advocates, sugar farmers, and policy makers to put the final phase of Everglades restoration effort in place. In fact, Florida lawmakers, including Governor Rick Scott, teamed up with Big Sugar to deceptively give the appearance that the sugar industry’s funding commitment to Everglades restoration pursuant to recent legislation would culminate in “saving” the Everglades."

According to an August 14th media release, Senator Bill Nelson said, “The Indian River is part of our livelihood and it’s an important part of our state’s economy and environment. As someone who grew up on this river, I am here to tell you: I will not let it be ruined."

Note to Nelson: it is ruined. The only smell stronger than the algae blooms plaguing billions of dollars of coastal real estate is the smell of bullshit from the sugar industry. Let's find one elected official to say so to voters, unequivocally.

Letter: State, federal involvement needed to curb estuary pollution

Posted August 15, 2013 at 4 a.m.
Palm Beach Post, letter to editor
John Poggi, Okeechobee

Letter: State, federal involvement needed to curb estuary pollution

As an environmental professional, I am compelled to set the record straight on the pollution of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. Several key points are being omitted from the media’s present discussion.

First, the pollutants to the estuaries are freshwater, phosphorous and nitrogen. The source of the phosphorous and nitrogen is agricultural runoff originating in Central Florida and the Kissimmee Valley.
The polluted water flows from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee. It then enters the estuaries, lowering salinity and providing fertilizer for algae to bloom, stressing fish and wildlife in the estuaries, killing many of them.

Second, there are presently no alternate routes for this freshwater when managers need to lower the lake. The sugar industry and other agricultural interests south of Lake Okeechobee do not want to do their part, and the polluted water is by federal law not allowed into the Everglades system until it is cleaned up.

Everglades restoration plans are necessary to clean this water and allow it back into the Everglades natural system.

Funding by government has been sporadic, and restoration efforts have been slowed or stalled. Finally, Lake Okeechobee is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, agriculture, navigation and recreation, in that order. The Corps serves at the request of Congress and receives its orders to lower the lake when certain approved conditions are met.

The Corps doesn’t decide when or where the water should go; our congressmen do.

If we want the pollution stopped and the route of the water changed, Congress and the state of Florida, which matches funding with the federal government, must come through.

The state must also address the sources of the pollution north of Lake Okeechobee to provide the long-term solution.


Anonymous said...

Bill Nelson is a lightweight and he is easily scammed by Big Sugar and by lobbyists for the outdoor advertising industry. Nelson was duped into helping the pro-billboards renegades at the City of Miami into abolishing the 1965 Highway Beautification Act. Nelson is no friend to people who love a scenic Florida.

Anonymous said...
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Marty Baum said...

The letter somehow failed to address the year after year of backpumping polluted nutrient laden water into our lake by sugar. Yes, without a doubt, the polluted waters coming from the Kissimmee are an issue.. a BIG issue, but sugar cannot be held innocent of the THOUSANDS of tons of phosphorus and nitrogen THEY added to the lake. There is some 190,000 TONS of legend phosphorus in the sediments of Okeechobee Lake. Marty Baum, Indian Riverkeeper