Start with calls to the governor's office. Demand the resignation of the governing board of the state's largest water agency; the South Florida Water Management District.
Call Gov. Scott now: 850-488-7146.
On this governing board's watch, Florida's massive pollution crisis bubbled into from a crisis into a catastrophe. They could have done more. They could have acted. The governing board of the South Florida Water Management District could have worked to put more sugar lands in public ownership, starting with the deal to acquire U.S. Sugar's property in the Everglades Agricultural Area, and put pressure on its co-cartel ally, Florida Crystals, to finally solve, for once and for all, the problem of "too little, too late".
Instead, these political appointees derided those who saw the disaster coming. One board member, James J. Moran, is linked to fake actors recruited to mount an April 2015 counter-demonstration at District headquarters opposing the option to purchase U.S. Sugar lands.
Someone needs to be held to responsible. Why aren't big agricultural producers required to report specific fertilizer load and pollution metrics, by each water basin? Because they -- and Florida's industry associations like the Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida -- have lobbied non-stop against pollution control and enforcement.
Demand the resignation of water board governors. It is a place to start.
On the Treasure Coast, people are being sickened by exposure to the poisoned water coursing out of Lake Okeechobee and into connected waterways. Recently a leader on Florida's west coast landed in the hospital because of exposure to toxic water puking from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River. Yesterday an east coast leader of Bullsugar.org was treated in an emergency care center for a severe respiratory infection requiring steroids and antibiotics. His attending physician told him of a spike in breathing related emergencies.
Why doesn't the public know how many people are getting sick by the poisonous water? Because politicians want the problem, and protesters, to disappear.
The state of Florida doesn't require physicians to report to a database on water-related infections because, officials say, it is too burdensome to pay the cost of data collection and analysis or the results might be misleading and unnecessarily alarm the public. They say the same, for clusters of rare pediatric cancers in South Florida. People should be angry.
Gov. Rick Scott and his allies are scrambling to respond. Every politician in South Florida suddenly cares about the environment -- it is an election year -- including GOP incumbents whose guiding principle is reduce "government regulations" wherever possible but especially nutrient pollution; the source of the toxic algae bloom.
The Everglades Trust released a broadside yesterday, "Truth Versus Excuses" aimed at the South Florida Water Management District's propaganda machinery; specifically "Myth Versus Fact" press releases.
In the face of overwhelming proof that our waterways are under siege and on the verge of collapse, you would think your government could be trusted. But you would be wrong. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) recently promoted a “Myth vs Fact” sheet. Maybe you received it. This State agency continues to deny and deflect responsibility. You deserve better. What you will get from the Everglades Trust are the facts and the truth.
TRUTH The Governor and Florida Department of Environmental Protection provide daily control over the actions of the SFWMD Governing Board and staff.
TRUTH Since 2010, shortly after they agreed to sell the land, US Sugar has been lobbying Florida government to not go through with the deal – a written binding contract. They spent nearly 11 million dollars on campaign contributions in 2014 alone.
TRUTH In 2014, 75% of Florida voters amended the state constitution again. This time, to pass the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment, which: “Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands… including the Everglades.”
TRUTH The SFWMD is responsible for managing and protecting water resources of South Florida by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.
TRUTH Despite overwhelming evidence and independent scientific support from more than 200 scientists for additional storage south of Lake Okeechobee, the SFWMD has consistently refused to meaningfully consider any additional options for storage south of Lake Okeechobee.
TRUTH The one CERP project that will provide the most relief to the northern coastal communities, the Everglades and Florida Bay (The Keys) is the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir. Without additional storage in the EAA, the Everglades will not be restored, Florida Bay will continue to suffer from a lack of fresh water, and the coastal communities will continue to receive harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges.
No more excuses. Just fix it.
This is a horrific symptom of years of water mismanagement that we are seeing play out in our waterways and oceans throughout South Florida today. Here is the solution: Buy the land in the EAA. Build the reservoir. Restore the flow of CLEAN freshwater into our Everglades and get it down to a starving Florida Bay.
Florida's water mis-managers need to be held to account. They need to resign now.