Friday, January 19, 2018

Bullsugar sets the record straight: Gov. Rick Scott OWNS this multi-billion dollar water mismanagement betrayal ... by gimleteye

NOTE: Bullsugar is the activist group that has been arguing, with its allies, for completion of the promise made by Senate President Joe Negron in the last session of the legislature: to fix "once and for all" the water infrastructure spewing toxic water on coastal communities and businesses and destroying the Everglades and Florida Bay, the cornerstone of billions in economic value and thousands of jobs.

Now that the Rick Scott water management district has had a year to tinker, that "once and for all" is turning into "maybe never".

Instead of exploring ALL options for increasing the footprint area of water treatment marshes, the district has come up with a deep reservoir that will -- a decade down the road -- cost at least $2 billion. The only guarantee of success is to the special interest that controls the Florida legislature.

Big Sugar inserted enough poison pills in last year's legislation that taxpayers, once again, are being played for fools. A deep reservoir cannot dodge the same algae-choking problems that plague Lake Okeechobee, the diseased liquid heart of the state.

Voters should have known better before electing Scott in 2010, a political neophyte, who made one of his first priorities to drastically cut the science capacity at the water management district and axe his predecessor's plan to acquire 187,000 acres of US Sugar land in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The deal was "too expensive", he said. Silly voters!

That was, then. There is still a chance that Florida voters will wake up and revolt. In the meantime, Gov. Scott and Senator Negron could mitigate the damage.

The water management district could terminate the sugar farming leases on land already in public ownership. There is enough land -- according to Everglades Foundation scientists -- to improve chances the reservoir plan will work as promoted. (We've argued that what the legislature should pass a "fix" bill to last year's Everglades legislation: striking the prohibition against eminent domain, freeing the District to talk land purchases with all landowners, and stripping the Fanjul Christmas gift, the C51 Basin water privatization scheme.)

Here is how Bullsugar puts the issue. 

Read on:

There’s a myth, really a lie, that we need to set straight right now: “willing sellers.”
Almost a year ago, before the EAA reservoir bill switched to locating the project on public property, US Sugar and Florida Crystals shouted themselves hoarse that they weren’t willing to sell land. But no one had asked them to sell any. That idea was written out of the bill long before Rick Scott signed it.
No one is asking the sugar industry to sell land today, either.
It’s true that the reservoir plan needs more land for filter marshes, because its benefit to the estuaries and the Everglades is limited by the proposed project footprint. But that footprint can be expanded--and the project can stop more discharges to our rivers and send more clean water to the Everglades--without buying private land.
So what Florida taxpayers are asking the Fanjul and Mott families is much simpler than to become willing sellers. We’re asking them to get off our land.
Our land. Governor Scott and his cabinet--the trustees of Florida’s Internal Improvement Trust Fund--lease nearly 14,000 acres of taxpayer-owned land in the Everglades Agricultural Area to industrial growers. The terms are cheap, no competitive bids. Mostly a giveaway of taxpayer property, mostly paid for with government handouts. But now we need that property back to protect our economy, public health and safety, a national park and world heritage site, and our water.
So we don’t need willing sellers but we do need those leases terminated, just like the law says, and we need those companies to vacate. Now. Also, we need those 4,000 acres of taxpayer-owned US Sugar prison-labor land, especially now that the prisoners have been kicked off it.
We could also use more honesty from state employees at SFWMD. When district spokespeople look you in the eye and say, “We terminated all our leases,” they’re telling a child’s half-truth, talking only about district-held leases, pretending to forget about all those other state leases. They know better.
After those leases are cancelled, sugar vacates, and the free ride ends, maybe the companies will be willing to swap some land? Trade property near the reservoir site for more productive farmland? Help our engineers find more land to clean the reservoir’s water and send more of it south and less of it into the rivers? Help taxpayers get the best value for a $2 billion clean water investment?
Either way the “willing seller” myth is false. It’s already our land. We just need them off it.
-Bullsugar.orgP.S. If you can, please click here to make a donation to today to help us fight for the best plan to protect our water.


JS said...

Where are these 14,000 acres? Based on Bullsugar's 11/24 and 9/28 blogs most of the public land they reference is within the project footprint or already in operation as STAs or part of roughly 5,000+ acres of TIFF lands that are about 10 miles from the project site. In their 8/17 blog, Bullsugar says "we should start planning now to convert this public land for the project" even though most of "this public land" is already a shallow reservoir (FEB) or STAs. So.. what the hell are they talking about? Show us a map.

Unknown said...

MADE A FACEBOOK PAGE as usual - keep em coming