Monday, April 04, 2016

The People Versus Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Legislature, and Big Sugar Billionaires Tipping The Scales ... by gimleteye

Billionaire sugar barons are OK with making South Florida into their sacrifice zone, shifting costs of making cheap sugar onto the backs of taxpayers. Who else is responsible? Gov. Rick Scott, Ag Secretary Adam Putnam, and legislators like incoming Florida Senate President Joe Negron and chief House mouthpiece for Big Sugar, Matt Caldwell.

Until enough land is taken out of sugar production south of Lake Okeechobee and converted to storage and cleansing marshes adequate to protect rivers, estuaries, Florida Bay and the Everglades from filthy fresh water, it's all just bullshit. Very expensive bullshit coated with assurances, platitudes, indignation, and -- of course -- sugar.

Buy the land, send clean, fresh water south! If you haven't already, check out for clear pictures of what is being pushed by the South Florida Water Management District.

March 18, 2016

Statement by SFWMD Governing Board Chair Daniel O'Keefe
Re: Florida's Investment in Everglades Restoration

"The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board applauds the strong commitment to Everglades restoration demonstrated by Governor Scott and state legislators with the signing of the 2016-2017 Florida First budget.

"Florida taxpayers will invest more than $188 million over the next year in restoration projects that will benefit the greater Everglades ecosystem. The Governor and the Legislature prioritized projects that will quickly provide relief for the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries from Lake Okeechobee discharges. Again this year, the budget also dedicates funding to continue progress on the Governor's historic 2012 Restoration Strategies Plan that is improving water quality in the Everglades.

"While these significant state investments will build on the momentum to improve South Florida's environment, immediate federal actions are needed. Most significantly, Congress must continue to fund necessary work on the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee to address a critical issue at the heart of the regional water management system."

Everglades Restoration Projects Funded by Florida First Budget: $100 million for projects in the state-federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), including:

$60 million for construction of treatment wetlands and the pump station for the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) project on the St. Lucie River in Martin County;

$37 million for construction of the C-43 Reservoir western cell and pump station on the Caloosahatchee River in Hendry County;

$3 million for further CERP project planning and design;

$32 million for construction of components of the Governor's Restoration Strategies Plan, including:
Expansion of STA-1 West in western Palm Beach County;

Expansion of the Bolles East Canal in western Palm Beach County to better distribute water between STAs;

$56.8 million for projects in the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program, including:
$9 million for construction of Lakeside Ranch STA Phase II in western Martin County;

$47.8 million for new water storage projects through public-private partnerships;

$27.7 million for land acquisition for project construction, including:

$16.9 million for the Lake Hicpochee Storage project in Glades County at the historic headwaters of the Caloosahatchee River;

$5.8 million for the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands CERP project in Miami-Dade County;

$5 million for the Picayune Strand Restoration CERP project in Collier County;

$5 million for continuation of Dispersed Water Management projects on private lands;

$7 million from Alligator Alley tolls for:

C-111 South project in Miami-Dade County;

Seagrass and salinity monitoring in Florida Bay;

Everglades aquatic plant control;

Expansion of the Bolles East Canal in western Palm Beach County to better distribute water between STAs

# # #

The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. Our mission is to protect South Florida's water resources by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.


cyndi said...

The mission of SFWMD is to protect their own interest which is to destroy the water and then sell it at a huge price. The sad thing is I doubt anyone would even notice.

Bad Ass in Miami said...

Who cares about mid and Northern Florida. The voters there have kept the worst politicians in Tallahassee. The voters are responsible for the fish kill. They are selfish, nimby people who never cared about the State as a whole. They are crying now but after this is over they will go right on letting their elected pollute our State as long as their backyard is clear. Who is who kept Thrasher in office? Wasn't it these same people?

Geniusofdespair said...

I am in big support of people having an Epiphany! Maybe the voters will change in these areas. More important, who got battered to death on the Walking Dead? I am going with Rick. He led his people down the dark path of murder for hire. Hold the leaders accountable.

Silly Rabbit said...

The "I got miners" are now forced to look at the devestation like Malcolm McDowell was in "A Clockwork Orange" (He had toothpicks holding open his eyes).

Let us all hope that this year the "I got miners" will vote for the conservation/environmental candidates.

Has any of the Republican Candidates for President even mentioned helping the environment during a debate?

Geniusofdespair said...

John Thrasher is certainly one of the worst politicians we ever had in Florida, he was a driving force to kill Hometown Democracy, an environmental initiative:
Thrasher began his political career in 1986 with his election to the Clay County School Board. He served as vice chairman, then chairman of the board before running for the Florida House of Representatives. He was elected in 1992 and was re-elected without opposition in 1994, 1996 and 1998. In 2009, he was elected to the Florida Senate in a special election to represent the 8th District, which included parts of Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia Counties. After redistricting in 2012, he represented the 6th District which included all of St. Johns, Flagler , Putnam Counties, as well as parts of Volusia County.
We cannot keep reelecting bad candidates. This is a good example how people from this area just kept this guy in office year after year making bad decisions for our State. People must educate themselves.

Cary Johnson said...

All of this hype is from a few activist organizations that are trying to capitalize on this rare January rainfall event that triggered water discharges from Lake Okeechobbee through some of the canals that run into the ocean. This was done as a safety measure to protect the communities that live downstream of Lake O. January's rainfall threatened the dike that retains lake water. If the dike failed, south Florida neighborhoods would have been flooded and lives endangered. The water management district, under the protocols set by the US Army Corps of Engineers decides when to release water, but it's only done in an emergency. Governor Rick Scott issued an emergency order during and after the January storms.

The pictures of the dead fish are from NORTH of where the discharges occur. The fish kill are not coming from Lake O or from south of the lake - The fish kill are coming from the polluted water that is flowing from north Florida fields and pastures. The runoff from many of these cattle crazing properties flows directly into the same canals that discharges disperse through. Fish kills are coming from the NORTH. We need to find a solution to Florida's water management issues where the problem begins - to the north of Lake O.

Sarah J. said...

All these dead fish are from the Northern Indian River Lagoon,well North of the Martin County area where the Lake water is discharged and an area in which all the scientists and government experts have stated have NOTHING to do with LAKE O discharges. They have all these photos of dead fish and are making it look like it is the fault of Sugar and Rick Scott.

Anonymous said...

Cary and Sarah- the quality of the water in the lake is thanx to big sugar runoff.

JohnsonReeves said...

Scientists and experts have made it quite clear this is not the fault of Lake O. More propaganda.

Sarahh said...

the author of this post clearly has no insight or actual knowledge about what is happening here in FL. Discharge and other effects from Lake Okeechobee are far from the cause. Great example of a misinformation campaign by radical environmental groups who care more about creating drama than actually solving problems facing our environment.

Anonymous said...

These dead fish pictures are all from Satellite Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, Merrit Island and Cocoa Beach!!! i have seen it with my own eyes!!!

Captain Obvious said...

It never ceases to astonish me when Big Sugar's PR folk get on these blogs and start defending their shameful practices and calling everyone who else who is unhappy with our state's dirty water policies "environmental terrorists". Here are the FACTS: yes, most of the photos above are from the big fish kill in the Northern IRL and ARE NOT a DIRECT result of the dirty discharges into the St Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers. And yes they should not be used in that context.... But that said, the facts are we do have plenty of photos of dead manatees, dolphins, and turtles, from the southern IRL and the Caloosahatchee that appeared right after the massive discharges began. There are also plenty of current photos of large fish kills from Florida Bay as a direct result of massive seagrass die off from hyper salinity caused by the lack of clean fresh water being released down there. The solution just seems so OBVIOUS. If there is too much dirty water being dumped into the estuaries on the east and west coasts and not enough clean water going into Florida Bay and the Everglades then just move the water south right? Yes I know, it does seem so simple except Big Sugar lies right smack in the way and they use their incredible political clout to get the SFWMD and the Army Corps to move water around based on their irrigation needs instead of for the benefit of everyone else in the state. Unfortunately sugar cane irrigation needs run counter to our weather patterns and its needs to be dry in the wet season and wet in the dry season. They have rigged the state's entire plumbing system to accommodate their irrigation needs to the detriment of everyone else. Did Big Sugar dirty water cause the Northern IRL fish kill, NO. But is Big Sugar completely without blame, NO. On their behalf Rick Scott has dismantled the state's regulatory agencies by de-funding the water management districts, eviscerating the Florida DEP, firing any state employee who utters anything that might be construed as anti-Ag and even going so far as to ban any state employee from using the word "climate change". I know, it seems crazy so don't take my word for it, Google it. Big Sugar also was instrumental in getting new legislation recently passed that protect polluters, limit the states powers to prosecute polluters, and places polluters in charge of regulating themselves. Then we get this huge fish kill in the Northern IRL from a massive brown algae bloom and wonder how it happened. It happened from our politicians complete lack of will to do anything to change it and Big Ag standing in the back ground pulling the strings. Florida Big Ag is not content with just controlling pollution regulations in FL they went so far as to have Pam Bondi file suite against the five states surrounding the Chesapeake to prevent them from cleaning up their own water. Why you ask, from fear that any successful clean water measures anywhere in the country might come back and put pressure on them. Yes I know, it's beyond despicable.

Floyd said...

Why "buy the land"? Last year the South Florida Water Management District already rejected a "solution" of buying 46,800 of sugar land because it dosen't have the capacity needed for water storage and such a move would obstruct water quality projects already approved by Everglades Restoration. Those projects would make better use of taxpayer money on the 100,000-plus acres already publicly owned.

Rob kanter said...

"the quality of the water in the lake is thanx to big sugar runoff"


Back pumping by U.S. Sugar isn’t event possible, the property does not connect directly to Lake O.

Natalie C said...

"Back pumping by U.S. Sugar isn’t event possible, the property does not connect directly to Lake O."

Very true. Sugarcane farmers are not back pumping whatsoever.