Monday, May 02, 2016

Big Sugar's Mouthpiece, Marco Rubio: what makes sense to him does not make sense for you ... by gimleteye

Senator Marco Rubio can't process his devastating defeat in the Florida GOP presidential primary. He can't get his political handle around the fact that Big Sugar billionaires cost Rubio dearly with key constituencies in counties ringing the dying Everglades and polluted waterways where many Republican voters choose to live.

For his entire political career, Rubio has fallen back on the default response to flooding: let engineers mitigate the problems. He did it when he was a city commissioner in West Miami-Dade and he is doing it now, as a US senator who apparently is still rising in the morning wondering what went wrong in Florida, the state he promised to carry. It is Rubio's wrong-headed, narrow thinking that sent Republican voters fleeing from his easy talking points and smooth delivery to Donald Trump.

The solution to the pollution is not dilution: it is buying Big Sugar lands and creating enough storage acres to store, filter and cleanse the disgusting pulses from Lake Okeechobee when extreme rain events force the US Corps of Engineers to open the Gates of Hell.

That's what groups like are advocating. Florida voters have been hearing the coordinated response of Big Sugar and the state of Florida that represents its interests. It is time for voters to step up and weed out institutionalized political corruption in service of corporate welfare in the farm bill.

Big Sugar wants more welfare at your expense. Bullsugar wants to free taxpayers and voters from the forms of corporate welfare that have turned property values and Floridians' quality of life into Big Sugar's sacrifice zones.

Rubio is afflicted with certainty that 1) he will run for higher office again and 2) that "you dance with the partner that brung you" to the party. In this case, Rubio dances with Fanjul Big Sugar billionaires whose long list of political contributions are like a song Rubio can't get out of his head.

January's historic rainfalls have faded, but voters ought to pay attention to Florida's deepening water crisis.

We can't get out of this mess digging in the same hole where every shovel-full of dirt brings us another payload of unintended consequences. The Fort Myers News-Press wrote diplomatically along this same line, tip-toeing around the Big Sugar bullies.

Sign up as an ally of and the SWFL Clean Water Movement. Voters need to clean house in November.

Searching out the truth for what is causing our bad water can be as murky as the water we see now.
Fort Myers News Press

The positions of the those who are experts and those who claim to be experts are well documented in what The News-Press has written and produced visually, including comprehensive pieces by environmental reporter Chad Gillis on the water quality within the Caloosahatchee and what is flowing from Lake Okeechobee.

We know that:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, through its research and using documents produced by several government agencies, including the South Florida Water Management District, believes discharges from the lake are resulting in high nitrogen pollution, resulting in 61 percent of that nitrogen reaching the estuary, making the river “unsafe for swimming and fishing.” Nutrient pollution does contribute to red tide, says the conservancy, based on research from several scientists.

U.S. Sugar, often blamed for causing much that pollution from fertilizer-filled water runoff from its agricultural lands, believes it has been environmentally responsible and is working within federal guidelines in reducing phosphorous and nitrogen loads into the lake. The company touts that it is an important economic engine for the state, producing thousands of jobs and quality products.

The South Florida Water Management District says it has been a leader in water quality recovery, dedicating “$1.993 billion to restoration projects, including the restoration of the Picayune Strand and the C-111 Spreader Canal," as well as construction of the Caloosahatchee Reservoir to store up to 55 billion gallons of water.

The Clewiston Chamber of Commerce believes the lake is healthy, citing good fishing and the number of bass tournaments recently, and U.S. Sugar should not be an easy target.

Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann believes most of the dirty water is caused by natural tannins and run-off from our local basin produced from record rainfall, not from the lake itself.

Congressman Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs, is doing his part to bring change from a federal level, sponsoring legislation that would provide $800 million to expedite repair of the Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake, along with legislation announced last week, dedicating another $500 million for the Department of Interior to acquire land for storage and continue to work toward the long-term solution of restoring the natural flow way south to the Everglades. The legislation is called Everglades Land Acquisition Act and looks to acquire enough land to produce one million acre-feet of storage to reduce discharges to the estuaries by 90 percent, and produce an additional 350,000 acre-feet of annual flow to the Everglades.

Today in Views, you will read both in the paper and online, four opinions from various agencies and sources about our water problem. The truth, when it comes to Florida’s centuries old problem of chewing into the environment, draining the Everglades, killing off sea grass, oyster beds, other marine life, converting wetlands into uplands for development, is difficult to find. What isn’t murky in any of this is we need solutions and we need them now.

As we argue back and forth about who is to blame, who is telling the truth and who is protecting their environmental behind, our water problems grow.

The water storage projects and land acquisition are important to controlling the bad water flows now killing off life in our waterways. Environmentalists and government agencies must do all they can to make sure these projects are completed, the water is stored and used when it is most needed in the dry season. But as we invest in these smaller projects – and the state is putting another $205 million toward those projects in this year's budget – we must keep moving forward to a natural flow way to the Everglades. It will take land acquisition, massive re-engineering efforts of an effective water route that incorporates canals, land and a filtering system. It’s not just about sending water over land. That won’t work.

The effectiveness of these smaller projects is marginal. Take the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which includes the C-43, and the Central Everglades Project. Based on evidence from research by the University of Florida Water Institute, C-43 will only hold about 10 percent of the discharges, while the CEP will help establish a pathway to move water south but not at the rate needed to stop the discharges to the Caloosahatchee until “the bottleneck in the Everglades Agricultural Area that sits between Lake Okeechobee and CEP is fixed,” according to the institute. Also, C-43, is not expected to be fully operational until 2026 at a cost of $436 million, according to the water district. The state has dedicated about $148 million to the project so far.

The truth lies in solutions that will not ruin existing wetlands, that will protect our environment, that will keep our water clean and safe, that will not hurt our tourism or our economy.


On Page A-36

Curt Clawson: His water, land legislation

Clewiston chamber: Lake O water healthy

SFWMD: We are good stewards

Conservancy of Southwest Florida: Finding the truth


Facts about dirty water based on review of government agency documents through research by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

Q: Does nutrient pollution contribute to red tide?

A: Yes, scientific research indicates that though red tide is a naturally occurring organism in the Gulf of Mexico, the intensity, frequency and duration of "bloom" events can increase with additional nutrient inputs.

Q:Will the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (aka CERP, including the C43 Reservoir and the Central Everglades Project) stop the harmful high discharges?

A: No, while CERP is an important part of reducing discharges, it in and of itself will not be sufficient to eliminate the discharges altogether. The C43 will capture some of the runoff discharging to the Caloosahatchee during high flow times but it will be 10 percent at most – with the majority of the benefit coming from sending that water back to the river during dry season/low flow times when more water is needed. Likewise, the Central Everglades Project (CEP) project will help to establish a portion of the pathway needed to move more water south but will not be able to do so at the rate needed to stop the discharges to the Caloosahatchee until the bottleneck in the Everglades Agricultural Area that sits between Lake Okeechobee and CEP is fixed.1

Q: Will reinforcing the dike around Lake Okeechobee stop the discharges?
No, while reinforcing the dike is essential to protecting public health and safety, it will not greatly increase the capacity to store more water in Lake Okeechobee. The lake maximum level can only be temporarily raised in very limited instances over 15.5 feet before the lake vegetation begins to die, resulting in poorer water quality, algal blooms
and ecological losses in that system, which in turn create poorer conditions in the


Anonymous said...

Wondering why Cruz has not endorsed Ted "Lucifer" Cruz yet?

Anonymous said...

I meant Rubio, why RUBIO has not endorsed Ted "Lucifer" Cruz yet?

Anonymous said...

As we speak, Marc-ho Rubio is buying knee pads (at taxpayer expense) so he can better service Big Sugar! Bet on it!

Anonymous said...

Marco is spelled "Batista"

Gayle Ryan said...

We have NO SHOW RUBIO a bottle of dirty water from the IRL at a Rivers Coalition meeting in 2013 - he has and will not do anything for us....River Warriors on FB have been to DC and Tallahassee several times and nothing....I would like anyone who wants to see the RiverWarrior Lodge in Stuart, FL to contact me so you can see what we are doing in Martin and St Lucie County. We need help with electing the RIGHT politicians to go fight in Tallahassee and Congress for US. I have all of their names...........