|DAVID GUEST - EARTHJUSTICE|
Instead of just making the farmers reduce nutrient levels as Florida Courts have been doing, the government won't let them pump the dirty water at all. READ THE DAMN ARTICLE here is an excerpt:
A major decision in federal court today MARCH 28TH will put an end to government-sanctioned pollution that’s been fouling Lake Okeechobee for more than three decades.
The case, first filed in 2002 by Earthjustice, challenged the practice of “backpumping.” For years, South Florida sugar and vegetable growers have used the public’s waters, pumped out of giant Lake Okeechobee, to irrigate their fields. They wash the water over their industrial-sized crops, where it is contaminated with fertilizers and other pollutants. Then, they get taxpayers in the South Florida Water Management District to pay to pump the contaminated water back into Lake Okeechobee, where it pollutes public drinking water supplies. Lake Okeechobee provides drinking water for West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, and the entire Lower East Coast metropolitan area.
Earthjustice contended that the South Florida Water Management District was violating the Clean Water Act by allowing the agricultural companies to send fertilizer-laden water into public water supplies, instead of cleaning it up first. U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas in the Southern District of New York March 28th that the water transfer practice does, indeed, violate the Clean Water Act.Scientific explanation of subsidence:
The organic soils (Histosols) of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) formed when organic matter (OM) production exceeded OM decomposition because flooded conditions limited the oxygen needed by aerobic soil organisms which convert the OM to carbon dioxide and water. Since the onset of extensive drainage in the EAA, OM decomposition has been exceeding production, resulting in loss of soil and a lowering of the surface elevations (subsidence). Prior to Everglades drainage, organic soil subsidence was well known in other locations, and it has been carefully documented in the EAA for nearly a century. In terms of agricultural production, it is a particular problem because most of the Histosols in the EAA are underlain by dense limestone rock. In 1951, following an extensive study of soil depths and subsidence rates, it was predicted that agricultural production would largely end by 2000 because of subsidence.