Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On the application of taxation and the Everglades: priorities ... by gimleteye

On the Everglades, you can listen to the arguments and the public relations from the South Florida Water Management or its primary corporate supporter, Big Sugar, but understand one fact that is indisputable: taxpayers are on the hook.

Some good portion of those taxpayers are voters. And voters matter. No matter how carefully special interests line up the pins in the bowling alley, stacking them so even an idiot could get a strike, at the end of the day it's the voters who bowl.

All the maneuvering of highly paid lobbyists and lawyers and the dance of politicians point to shifting as many costs to taxpayers as possible and away from the Big Ag industries that make money the old fashioned way: stealing it. Only it's not called "stealing".

It is more like having your pocket picked and afterwards the pickpocket hands your wallet back saying, look what I found: you owe me a reward. In the case of Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, the reward is being elected governor when Rick Scott is gone. In the case of the pickpocket, it's about being allowed to continue without interference by either law enforcement or the fleeced. And what about the people whose pockets are being picked?

A lot of Republican taxpayers -- who also vote -- are riled up by the horrendous pollution coursing out of Lake Okeechobee that is damaging natural resources and recreational opportunities on both coasts. Instead of dealing with the heart of the problem -- buying enough land south of Lake Okeechobee to clean the pollution before fresh water heads south -- the politicians are volunteering: everything that can be done is being done to protect a badly damaged water system. (Go down to the riverbank and see for yourself how well that is working out.)

The best way to explain what is going on is to start by thinking of the water system as a malfunctioning, broken car radiator.

The radiator is comprised of channels. No amount of water you pour into the radiator is going to hold if there are holes in the channels. Run the car that way, pretty soon the engine is gone. That engine? It's our economy, our jobs, our natural resources and in the case of our home values, our net worth.

That's how to think of the Everglades when you fly into one of the regional airports: a wet broken radiator.

Putting fluid into the radiator -- think of Lake Okeechobee as a vast reservoir -- requires a funnel. In the case of Everglades restoration, the funnel also has holes and it won't hold water either.

So the radiator doesn't hold water and the funnel doesn't that supplies water to the radiator. This dysfunction serves a single purpose: protecting Big Sugar south of Lake Okeechobee. All your tax dollars to save the Everglades really are going to saving this: very large piles of sugar that would never exist but for US farm policy that holds the growing of sugar cane to be the most brazen form of corporate welfare in the United States.

Sugar, a highly addictive toxin, in Clewiston
So if you are a taxpayer, which do you fix first? The radiator or the funnel feeding the coils. Both have holes in them.

That is the question that is being walked around the legislature and "business" groups like a prize heifer at the county fair. "Looky here, we got ourselves a real winner: fix the funnel first." That is what is happening right now, with a disinformation campaign being waged by Big Sugar.

Now there's no question that stopping up the holes in the funnel is important. Think, septic tanks and dairy farm runoff north of Lake O. Big Sugar is blaming all the woes: it's not us! "Six times the flow goes into the Lake than out, when it pours." Sounds simple! Not.

So let's look at Big Sugar's scenario the way the politicians want to play it out. Ten or twenty years from now, you fixed the funnel. Hooray. But water is still leaking out of the radiator.

It makes sense to fix the car radiator, first, or, do both concurrently.

Fix the Okeechobee watershed, you could get better quality water running into the Big Lake, but it won't do anything to stop the massive discharges out of Lake Okeechobee when the water gets too high. Fix the storage capacity south of the lake, and eventually stop the estuaries and rivers from being destroyed.

Buy Big Sugar lands, send clean, fresh water south. This isn't an academic question: the filth coming out of Lake Okeechobee holds toxins even more dangerous than sugar. Here is what happened to one of our readers in Jupiter, just from contact with water.

And here is what happened to another.

If your legislators won't support buying Big Sugar lands today, find a new set who will next November at the polls.


Geniusofdespair said...

As they wind down the toxic water releases to both coasts will the people disband and go about their daily business? I hope not because we need them engaged so the environment in Florida is protected and so is the health of people. Bullsugar has had your ears and your eyes, I hope this movement has captured your hearts.

Anonymous said...

Yes, pollution is from homeowner’s yards, roads, golf courses and commercial developments. But a land buy in the south ain't the solution. It's a ruse to cover the real motive for buying the U.S. Sugar land in question: buy the land for building houses and businesses. Real estate developers have had their eyes on US Sugar land south of Lake O for a while. Their collaborators are so-called environmental groups.

Steve Jensen said...

This is a hit job. The author is a paid stooge of for his paid clients who are promoting the 'tainted' water issue. Do your own research and you will find that the water is actually clean coming from the lake. It's the leaking septic tanks that are the problem causing pollution.

Geniusofdespair said...

The author is paid? Don't make me laugh. The authors of this blog don't get any money. No one gave us a dime troll.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be a remarkable coincidence if the Steve Jensen who left a post is the same Steve Jensen who has the following employment history?

Employment History

Information Technology Infrastructure Tech Services Manager
Florida Power & Light Company

Information Technology Client Services Manager
Florida Power & Light Company

Information Technology Infrastructure Technology Manager
NextEra Energy , Inc.

Information Technology Infrastructure Tech Services Manager
NextEra Energy , Inc.