EYE ON MIAMI: As the Annual Everglades Coalition Meeting Starts, A Message From Bullsugar.org

Eye on Miami: January 6, 2016. Written by Gimleteye.

Honestly, the most distasteful aspect of Big Sugar's disinformation campaign is that the outcome will make Big Sugar oligarchs even richer than they are today. One way or another Big Sugar always cuts the sweetest deal it can, and that's what all this manufactured doubt and yammering against land purchase in the EAA is all about. Thanks to taxpayer largesse and Congressional indifference/fear/greed through the Farm Bill, Big Sugar is already the most heavily subsidized agricultural "crop" in the US. Moreover, Big Sugar never pays its fair share of pollution, even though voters required it through an amendment to the Florida Constitution. The legislature failed to act on the law. What Senate President Joe Negron is trying to negotiate will make Big Sugar many hundreds of millions. Still, from an environmental point of view, whatever money is spent taking land out of sugarcane production and stopping suburban sprawl from filling in behind, is money well spent to preserve Florida's economic future, including the future of immediately impacted jobs and communities in the EAA.

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MIAMI HERALD: Buying land to save water? It’s complicated

Miami Herald: January 6, 2016. Written by Mary Ellen Klass.

Should Florida buy land to save water?

That simple question is shaping up to be a complicated and politically tangled debate this legislative session as the state’s powerful sugar industry ramps up against the widening reach of water-weary local communities in an age of climate change and sea level rise.

On one side is Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who has made the issue a top priority when lawmakers meet in regular session beginning March 7. After a summer of watching toxic algae blooms poison local waterways, Negron decided that nearly 20 years is long enough to complete the state plan to build a water-cleansing reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to bring more clean water to South Florida and reduce the polluted discharges from the lake that spoiled the estuaries in his district on the east coast, and the Caloosahatchee River estuary on the west coast.

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NEWS-PRESS: Environment: Money, water and bears top issues

News-Press: January 3, 2016. Written by Chad Gillis.

The economy and environment go hand-in-hand in Florida, and each year the state faces a myriad of known threats and the occasional surprise.

Algal blooms like red tide and cyanobacteria can happen any year, but we also get oddities like hurricanes or an especially strong El Nino — which dropped summer-like rains in January, the middle of dry season.

And while long-term weather and tropical storms are difficult to forecast, there are several known challenges and opportunities coming in 2017. From politicians deciding the fate of hundreds of millions of dollars to the decision on whether or not to hold a black bear hunt, Florida's wild lands and wildlife will make headlines for the next 12 months.

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TIME: Dr. Cristin Kearns

Time: December 19, 2016. Written Alexandra Sifferlin.

The former dentist turned investigative researcher is exposing how the sugar industry got us hooked.

You started investigating the sugar industry after attending a dental conference on diabetes. Why?

I got a government brochure about preventing diabetes, and the nutritional advice was to reduce calories, increase fiber, decrease fat. It didn’t say anything about sugar. One of the speakers had a fast-food nutrition guide, and [a sweet tea] got ranked as a “healthy.” I asked him, “How can you characterize sweet tea, which has a ton of sugar in it, as a healthy drink?” His response was that there’s no evidence linking sugar to chronic disease. I just looked at him like, What?

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MIAMI HERALD: Greed and politics are destroying the Everglades

Miami Herald: November 23, 2016. Written by Mary Barley.

We heard a lot this political season about government corruption. While not all corruption is illegal, every instance of it is certainly unethical. Americans just showed they are willing to take extreme measures to combat corruption, and our local officials would do well to take heed, for a dangerous corruption is on open display here in Florida, and by any means legal and possible we will eradicate it. Indeed, we must.

Every day in Tallahassee, Gov. Rick Scott subverts the public interest and does the bidding of Big Sugar in exchange for campaign cash. Big Sugar, in this instance, is U.S. Sugar Corp., whose president and CEO is Robert Buker, Jr., and Florida Crystals, owned and operated by the Fanjul family. The result is that the Everglades are in peril and therefore so, too, is the future of South Florida and its residents.

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TCPALM: Treasure Coast's Joe Negron becomes Florida Senate president

TCPALM: November 22, 2016. Written by Isadora Rangel.

The Florida Senate unanimously elected Joe Negron its president Tuesday, officially making him one of the state's most powerful politicians.

Negron, R-Stuart, laid out ambitious priorities during his acceptance speech: passing a plan to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges; boosting the ranking of Florida's 12 universities; and decreasing the incarceration of juvenile offenders of minor crimes. He will lead the Senate in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions.

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PALM BEACH POST: Editorial: With Army Corps willingness, reservoir chances improve

PALM BEACH POST: November 22, 2016. Written by Editorial.

Here’s some good news about the Everglades: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it’s ready to speed up its timetable to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, as soon as the state is ready to act.

And here’s another bit: Stuart Republican Joe Negron has taken the reins this week as Florida Senate president. Negron has pledged to buy the land such a reservoir would need: 60,000 acres, largely in western Palm Beach County.

Negron will face all kinds of opposition, some from the sugar industry, some from conservative legislators who will look askance at the expected $1.2 billion Florida will have to cough up, just as state government faces a budget shortfall.

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Negron reaffirms policy goals as he takes over as Florida Senate president

TAMPA BAY TIMES: November 22, 2016. Written by Kristen M. Clark.

As Sen. Joe Negron officially took over control of the Florida Senate on Tuesday, the Republican from Stuart outlined once again his priorities for improving higher education, stopping harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee and reforming juvenile justice.

Negron first detailed those plans in his designation speech almost a year ago, but now he's in a position to personally drive that agenda for the next two years.

The Florida Senate unanimously elected Negron as its chamber president for the 2016-18 term during the Senate's one-day organizational session on Tuesday, which lasted roughly two hours.

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MIAMI HERALD: What will a Trump presidency mean for Florida's environment

MIAMI HERALD: November 18, 2016. Written by Jenny Staletovich.

At a rally in Collier County at the end of October, a day after he unveiled his “contract” with America, then-candidate Donald Trump rallied his supporters with talk of “crooked Hillary,” a rigged election system and the “real group of losers” running the country. Then, in the middle of 47-minute speech, he turned to a teleprompter and devoted just over a minute to Florida’s longest-running and most frustrating environmental conflict: Everglades restoration.

“A Trump administration will also work alongside you to restore and protect the beautiful Everglades, which I just flew over. I just flew over and let me tell you when you fly over the Everglades and you look at those gators and you look at those water moccasins, you say I better have a good helicopter.”

 


NAPLES DAILY NEWS: Commentary: Election outcome - America’s Everglades must be restored

NAPLES DAILY NEWS: November 19, 2016. Written by Rob Moher.

As we prepare for a transition of power at the federal level, one thing is abundantly clear – our community must speak with a unified voice to accelerate efforts to restore the Everglades and to address the ongoing water quality crisis in our region’s waters.

Regardless of politics, we can all agree that this is America’s Everglades, an iconic and unique landscape unlike any other in the world – the famed River of Grass.

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