PALM BEACH POST: Lake O overflow may get pumped underground to fix algae problem

Palm Beach Post: Written by Kimberly Miller. September 14, 2018.

Water managers are fast-tracking plans to dispose of Lake Okeechobee overflow by pumping it 3,000 feet underground, agreeing to spend $10 million this week to build two deep injection wells in a test of the project’s viability.
The so-called “Emergency Estuary Protection Wells” are billed as a quick solution to reduce the amount of harmful lake water discharged into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries — a process that contributes to the plague of blue-green algae both waterways suffered this summer.

But environmental groups oppose forcing billions of gallons of lake water into the cavernous boulder zone beneath South Florida’s drinking water supply. They argue it’s a waste of freshwater needed during the dry season, and diverts attention from the overall goal of Everglades restoration.

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PALM BEACH POST: Editorial: Scott must answer for environmental malpractice

Palm Beach Post: Written by Palm Beach Post Editorial Board. September 16, 2018.

With a horrific red tide killing marine life and tourism on Florida’s southwest coast, and with toxic green algae bringing misery to the Treasure Coast and Fort Myers area on a now-annual basis, it’s understandable that Gov. Rick Scott would want to run away from his environmental record.

Voters shouldn’t let him.

From the moment the health-care multimillionaire swept into office on 2010’s Tea Party anti-tax, anti-regulation wave, he began slashing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), cutting budgets, skilled staff and inspections.

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CNN: Toxic algae becomes major campaign issue in Florida Senate race

CNN: Written by Ryan Nobles. September 13, 2018.

Two toxic algae blooms affecting Florida's waterways have become a major issue in the Senate race pitting incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson against sitting Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

The race has garnered national attention because of the implications the outcome could have for which party controls the Senate. The focus on algae, however, shows just how important local issue are in the race.

A toxic algae bloom known as a "red tide" has gripped more than 125 miles of coastline. It has killed marine life in dramatic volumes and has led to reports of respiratory issues in six different counties.
In the freshwater inland waterways, including major bodies of water like Lake Okeechobee, a toxic blue-green algae has formed as a result of polluted runoff.

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TC PALM: Health effects of breathing toxic algae in St. Lucie River is focus of Harbor Branch study

TC Palm: Written by Tyler Treadway. September 14, 2018.

If you've been around blue-green algae blooms, chances are you've breathed in toxins.

Everyone tested so far in a study of people who live and work around algae blooms in the St. Lucie River had "detectable levels" of the toxin microcystin in their noses, said Adam Schaefer, a Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute epidemiologist.

"Preliminary results suggest microcystin is definitely airborne," Schaefer said Friday as people were giving blood, urine and nasal swab samples at the Florida Sportsman magazine office in Stuart.

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USA TODAY: EAA reservoir in WRDA bill to curb Lake O discharges OK'd by House; pending Senate vote

USA TODAY: Written by Ali Schmitz. September 13, 2018.

The U.S. House Thursday passed a bill authorizing the planned EAA reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that aims to reduce polluted freshwater discharges from the lake.

The House passed the Water Resources Development Act, a wide-ranging bill that approves water infrastructure projects nationwide, and funds some of them.

“Fixing our water issues is, without a doubt, the most important priority for our community, and this bill is significant progress in our fight,” Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, said in a news statement. “People are getting sick, animals are dying and our environment is being demolished. We cannot wait any longer to get this bill signed into law.”

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WASHINGTON POST: Toxic red tide algae moves north near Tampa Bay, killing hundreds of thousands of fish

Washington Post: Written by Alex Horton. September 9, 2018.

The toxic algae bloom that has carved a trail of dead animals and triggered a putrid stench along western Florida's coastline has drifted further north, killing hundreds of thousands of fish in the Tampa Bay region.

The legions of dead fish were reported in a 20-mile stretch of coastline from Clearwater to St. Petersburg, environmental officials with Pinellas County told the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday.

County workers roamed beaches and trawled offshore to collect the fish carcasses to head off decomposition as some beachgoers turned back. Rotting fish and the strong odor of the algae has previously repelled locals and imperiled Florida's vital tourism sector for much of the summer.

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POLITICO: DeSantis pledges Everglades help, oil-drilling opposition in environmental plan

Politico: Written by Marc Caputo and Bruce Ritchie. 

TALLAHASSEE — Ron DeSantis became the state’s first Republican gubernatorial candidate to call out “Big Sugar” at a debate, and now he’s unveiling a broad environmental platform to continue Everglades restoration, study the causes of toxic red tide, fund land conservation, clean Florida springs and oppose offshore oil drilling.

The release of DeSantis’ plan marks his first major policy announcement since winning the Aug. 28 GOP primary — amid a $10 million onslaught from U.S. Sugar — and coincides with an optics-filled Wednesday airboat trip into the Everglades with "Alligator Ron" Bergeron, a colorful former state wildlife commissioner and construction contractor.

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NEWS PRESS: Algae, red tide provide our burning water moment

News Press: Rae Ann Wessel. September 7, 2018.

In 1969, a river caught on fire. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland Ohio had finally had enough. Enough industrial pollution from decades of discharges that the river started burning. The pollution was tolerated and over looked as the cost of doing business.

But it got the attention of lawmakers and with public outcry sparked changes that addressed the causes.

You've heard the old adage if you don't learn from history you are doomed to repeat it?

Well, hello Florida residents, taxpayers, visitors and elected officials; the toxic algae and nearly yearlong red tide are poisoning our waters. It is Florida's burning water moment.

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FSU NEWS: What you need to know about Florida's Agriculture Commissioner election

FSU News: Written by Morgan Dobbins. September 9, 2018.

On August 28, Floridians all over the state cast votes for who they wanted to represent them on their party’s ballot this November.

While the governor and U.S. Senate races are getting the most press, one equally important position, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, also had interesting primary.

The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services serves a four-year term with a limit of two consecutive terms. This cabinet-level position oversees Florida’s agriculture industry, which directly relates to environmental issues and consumer services, including concealed weapons permits.

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CREATIVE LOAFING: U.S. Sugar publishes inaccurate map of Florida waterways in newspaper ad, deflects responsibility for harmful discharges

Creative Loafing: Written by Cathy Salustri. September 8, 2018.

U.S. Sugar publishes inaccurate map of Florida waterways in newspaper ad, deflects responsibility for harmful discharges
Should we worry yet? Seems like it's past time to worry.

CATHY SALUSTRI SEP 8, 2018 2 PM 1 Tweet Share
Red Tide Big Sugar US Lake O
The misplaced waterways may be the least of the alarming things in this ad.
VIA JONO MILLER; AD PLACED IN 'SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE'
Is it possible Big Sugar is so desperate to paint itself in a good light it might have skipped a few steps with this two-page ad in Sarasota's Herald Tribune?

"If their nutrient management matches their cartography, we are in trouble," Jono Miller, an activist, natural historian, and environmental educator, posted on his Facebook page.

At first blush, the map may look OK — the Manatee and Little Manatee Rivers are in the right place, as are the Peace and Myakka Rivers. But see Myakkahatchee Creek?

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