MIAMI HERALD: Lawmakers in Florida House shouldn't squander best chance yet to help the Everglades

Miami Herald: Written by Miami Herald Editorial Board. April 22, 2017.

The Florida Senate gets it. As a result, Senate lawmakers have passed one of the most carefully crafted bills yet to ensure the health of the Everglades. As environmentalists, water-dependent businesses, economists and tourists know, so much depends upon the health of the River of Grass, including South Floridians’ access to clean water, the state’s economic vitality, indeed, the well-being of the state itself.

This is not an overstatement.

Florida desperately needs a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. For too long, the state has blithely allowed water released from the lake to flow to the coasts, and out to sea, an unconscionable waste of this precious resource. Just as bad, pollutants in that water have created massive algae blooms that, literally, have raised a stink in estuaries and along beaches, threatening to ruin the entire ecosystem around Lake O and the Everglades.

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TCPALM: Our view: Get off the dike, Governor

TCPalm: Written by Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board. April 21, 2017.

At first glance, Gov. Rick Scott's decision to support plans to build a deep-water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee seems like a major step forward for Senate President Joe Negron's proposal to curb discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

Scott on Monday endorsed Negron's idea to store and treat water on up to 31,000 acres of state land, though the governor stopped short of saying he supports the current version of Senate Bill 10.

The governor's support also seems to come with a catch: He wants the Legislature to spend $200 million next year to expedite repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike bordering Lake Okeechobee. That, coupled with a supposed verbal guarantee from President Donald Trump that the federal government will boost spending on the dike, means repairs could be completed a few years ahead of schedule.

And that, Scott seems to think, could solve the discharge problem in and of itself.

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TCPALM: Eve Samples: 47 years after first Earth Day, it's time for another awakening

TCPalm: Written by Eve Samples. April 20, 2017.

When he was a boy, Nathaniel Reed's father would sometimes wake him and his brothers at dawn.

Gripping long-handled blades, the Reeds would walk their property in Greenwich, Connecticut, scything the bridle paths — an ancient form of mowing.

It's one of Reed's early memories of feeling deeply connected to the natural world.

“My father had a love affair with the woods," Reed, now 83, recalled during a recent interview at his home on Jupiter Island, the town in south Martin County his parents founded eight decades ago.

Those Connecticut fields were often thick with butterflies; so were the hammocks of Jupiter Island he roamed as a child.

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SUN SENTINEL: Florida House should not water down reservoir plan

Sun Sentinel: Written by Sun Sentinel Editorial Board. April 20, 2017.

The Florida House will hold its first committee vote Monday on the most important environment bill of the legislative session. Ideally, the House will make no changes to the Senate bill.

SB 10 would create a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that would divert excess lake water from coastal estuaries and direct it where the water could help to replenish the Everglades. Along with that twofold environmental benefit would come the economic benefit of helping industries — boating, sport fishing, real estate — that depend on clean estuaries and a healthy Everglades.

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FLORIDA TREND: Time to take immediate action on Everglades, says Florida TaxWatch

Florida Trend: Written by Florida TaxWatch. April 18, 2017.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Continued inaction on the Everglades problem will be a detriment to taxpayers and the future of the state, says the latest report from Florida TaxWatch, the state’s premier government watchdog group. The organization finds that if the state does not find a solution to the algae blooms and other problems from diversion of water from Lake Okeechobee, the state, tourism industry and the overall economy would lose millions in revenues, not to mention the negative health and environmental impacts.

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MIAMI HERALD: In breakthrough for water plan, Gov. Scott endorses reservoir, faster fixes for dike

MIAMI HERALD: Written by Mary Ellen Klas. April 17, 2017.

Gov. Rick Scott added some tension to the feud between the House and Senate over priority legislation Monday and endorsed Senate President Joe Negron’s proposal to build a deep-water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee on existing state lands to reduce the need to discharge polluted water into fragile estuaries.

“This is a big step toward protecting our pristine environment,” the governor said in a rare press conference on a pending legislative issue. “This additional storage, in conjunction with our currently planned projects around the lake, will help reduce harmful discharges to the estuaries in South Florida.”

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: Editorial: Move forward with Senate's reservoir plan

Tampa Bay Times: Written by Editorial. April 13, 2017.

No Everglades restoration plan will succeed without cleaning up the polluted water coming from Lake Okeechobee. That's why the Florida Senate's strong vote Wednesday to build a reservoir south of the lake is so critical. It charts a course for easing the dumping of toxic water along the coasts, restoring the water flow to the south and making more efficient use of water resources for fast-growing South Florida. The House should approve the legislation and send SB 10 to the governor.

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MIAMI HERALD: Water shortage warning issued for South Florida

Miami Herald: Written by Jenny Staletovich. April 13, 2017.

Stop sprinkling and washing so much. South Florida is getting dry.

On Thursday, South Florida water managers issued a water shortage warning, asking more than 8 million residents from Orlando to Key West to follow lawn-watering rules and conserve water. If the shortage persists, South Florida Water Management District officials say the agency may consider mandatory restrictions.

“The purpose of this warning is to urge South Florida families to voluntarily conserve more water,” board chairman Dan O’Keefe said in a statement. “This effort will help your water supply last through the remainder of the dry season.”

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MIAMI HERALD: Florida Senate agrees to give Everglades a 78-billion gallon drink of cleaner water

Miami Herald: Written by Mary Ellen Klas. April 12, 2017.

After more than 20 years of mapping the need for a deep-water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Senate voted 36-3 Wednesday for an ambitious proposal that will set in motion the $1.5 billion project.

The proposal, SB 10, is a top priority of Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and will use state and federal money to build a deep-water reservoir to store and clean water before it is released into the Everglades and to avoid toxic discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. The proposal now moves to the House, where it will be woven into negotiations over the budget.

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MIAMI HERALD: Fishing guides arrive in Tallahassee to "say we need help" to save Florida Bay

Miami Herald: Written by Mary Ellen Klas. April 11, 2017. 

Fishing guides who rely on Florida Bay and other fragile waterways arrived in the capital Tuesday to plea with lawmakers to follow through on the goal of buying land to build a water-storing reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

“We’re not up here to play politics,’’ said Daniel Andrews, founder of Captains for Clean Water from Southwest Florida. “We’re here to say we have a need and we need help.”

More than two dozen fishing guides and their families spent the day meeting with more than 40 legislators and staff to urge them to support a plan by Senate President Joe Negron to build a deep-water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that will store and clean water to flow into Florida Bay and alleviate the need to discharge polluted water into estuaries. The full Senate is expected to take up the bill on Wednesday. 

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