Friday, April 22, 2016

On mismanagement of Florida waters: voters must stop state-sponsored terrorism of taxpayers ... by gimleteye

There is a simple answer to the mismanagement of Florida waters -- the equivalent of state sponsored terrorism against taxpayers -- buy enough lands south of diseased Lake Okeechobee to cleanse the water and send it south. More than 200 scientists signed a letter to Gov. Rick Scott imploring him to pay attention. It is the only way to solve the pollution issues chronically afflicting millions of taxpayers on Florida's east and west coasts. Scott ignored them.

Since taxpayers are also voters (or should be), there is an equally simple response: vote out of office elected officials who are denying the urgent need for acquisition of Big Sugar lands. Support elected officials like Congressman Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs, who is trying to solve federal funding issues. Get involved. Pick up the phone and call your Congressman or Congresswoman.

Yesterday, the pro-taxpayer movement, Bullsugar.org, issued this plea: "Please everyone, call your Congressman and ask him/her to support/co-sponsor HR 4793. This bill will provide federal funding to purchase land to save South Florida's Waterways."

You can find your U.S. representative by clicking, here.

The editorial board of the Treasure Coast Palm laments that the Florida Congressional delegation, are not supporting the Clawson bill.
"As federal lawmakers seek money for Everglades restoration, it's imperative for them to prioritize their actions. Specifically, they need to take steps to end the massive discharges of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. Legislation designed to help achieve this objective must take precedent over bills that will provide only partial relief from this decadeslong problem. U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs, recently filed two relevant bills. The first — House Resolution 4436 — would expedite repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee by providing $800 million in emergency funding. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, on behalf of Clawson and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami."
What the mainstream press is reluctant to also say: Big Sugar's campaign contributions are at the heart of the silence in Congress.

Meanwhile in Florida, elected officials like Adam Putnam are warning that any legislators who talk to Bullsugar.org will be "vaporized".

To vaporize is a political verb that equally applies to the ability of voters to vote out politicians too fearful to support citizens' right to clean, fresh and affordable water. Social media is helping bridge the divide and to educate millions of Florida voters today.

We are many. Big Sugar is few. A few extraordinarily wealthy farmers -- billionaires, in the case of the Fanjul sugar empire and the descents of Charles Stuart Mott from Flint, Michigan who control U.S. Sugar Corporation.

Flint is an object lesson for South Florida, and nothing should comfort Florida taxpayers more than criminal charges levied against bureaucrats in Flint and, in the future perhaps, high elected officials who tampered with Michigan's drinking water. If similar criminal prosecutions happened in Florida, they wouldn't be a minute too soon.

"We are many" include Florida's tourism industry, real estate owners, taxpayers and anyone who loves Florida's waters. Not Gov. Rick Scott or his Cabinet or the GOP majority that just re-wrote the state's water policy to favor the polluters and who deny the necessity of buying sugar lands now.

Taxpayers and voters, moderate Republicans and Tea Party followers in particular, ought to assess just whose agendas their votes and contributions are greasing. Buy the land, send clean, fresh water south.



Editorial: Federal lawmakers must step up, support land-buying bill to help end Lake O discharges
April 19, 2016
Treasure Coast Palm
By Editorial Board

As federal lawmakers seek money for Everglades restoration, it's imperative for them to prioritize their actions.

Specifically, they need to take steps to end the massive discharges of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.

Legislation designed to help achieve this objective must take precedent over bills that will provide only partial relief from this decadeslong problem.

U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs, recently filed two relevant bills. The first — House Resolution 4436 — would expedite repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee by providing $800 million in emergency funding. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, on behalf of Clawson and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami.

The second — House Resolution 4793 (the Everglades Land Acquisition Act) — would earmark $500 million for the U.S. Interior Department to purchase land south of Lake O.

Only one of Clawson's bills — the latter — has the potential to significantly reduce the discharges, which occur when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases excess Lake O water east into the St. Lucie River and west into the Caloosahatchee River. Already this year, more than 100 billion gallons of Lake O water have fouled the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon since January.

Moving water south from Lake O is the ultimate solution to the problem. The University of Florida Water Institute report on Lake Okeechobee, released last year, concluded reducing discharges and meeting the Everglades' need for more water "will require between 11,000 and 129,000 acres of additional land" between the lake and the national park.

One year ago, the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District voted unanimously to kill a proposal to purchase 46,800 acres of U.S. Sugar Corp. land south of Lake Okeechobee.

Clawson's bill resurrects the hope of purchasing land and shunting more water south of the lake — and away from our estuary.

Currently, there are no co-sponsors for the land-buying bill. Treasure Coast Newspapers' Editorial Board urges the members of our federal legislative delegation — including Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Florida; and Marco Rubio, R-Florida; and Reps. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter; and Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee — to sign on and support this important legislation.

Corps officials have said reinforcing the dike won't necessarily reduce the discharges. However, acquiring additional land south of the lake to hold and treat water certainly will help rectify the problem.

4 comments:

Linda Vinter said...

The US Army Corps of Engineers already made an announcement last week that they are reducing discharges again, this weekend. These guys are just trying to build some hype for their organization so they can raise money.

David Smith said...

Linda Vinter are you a paid shill for Rick "the crook" Scott and the Tea Party or just a climate denier? You must have missed the part that said more than 200 scientists signed a letter to Gov. Rick Scott imploring him to pay attention. It is the only way to solve the pollution issues chronically afflicting millions of taxpayers on Florida's east and west coasts. Scott ignored them.

Anonymous said...

There is already more than 100,000 acres of land in public ownership, South of the lake that could be used for water storage. So why not use that land already? Or better yet kill two birds with one stone and buy the land up north. Most of the water from Lake O flows from up north. Store the water there and clean it BEFORE it enters Lake O.

Marc D. said...

What is the problem with the 100,000 publicly-owned land south of the lake? One would think with all the talk and Rep. Clawson's bill about buying additional land owned by US Sugar that US Sugar's land is more valuable even though the SFWMD rejected its purchase. It must be valuable for development, not for water storage. The best bet to meet environmental standards for water quality and to control the discharges to St. Lucie River is to construct water storage north of Lake O.