FLORIDA WEEKLY: The Fix to our water crisis is complicated but doable

FLORIDA WEEKLY: September 28, 2016. Written by Roger Williams.

IT’S THE YEAR OF WATER IN FLORIDA. Unprecedented winter floods swept into Lake Okeechobee from the north, cascading into the delicate estuaries on Florida’s east and west coasts, cooking up the worst summer algae blooms and fish kills in memory.

It was international news. Vacationers stayed away. All businesses touched by tourism reeled from revenue losses.

A fever pitch of frustration resulted in scores of new advocacy groups, petitions, rallies and protests. Following the heaviest rains ever recorded for the month of January — 10 or more inches above the average 2 inches, in many places — releases from the lake into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers began in February.

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STUART MAGAZINE: Months After Algae Blooms Invade Martin County, We Explore What’s Being Done To Ensure This Doesn’t Happen Again

STUART MAGAZINE: October edition. Written by Ike Crumpler.

It hasn’t been long since a bloom of algae washed onto Treasure Coast shores, resulting in local concern and national coverage. Writer Ike Crumpler talks with scientists, politicians and U.S. Sugar in order to tap into what can and will be done to stop the ooze from contaminating our waterways in the future. 

Now this was something new. 

And even for all the damage—environmentally and economically—Martin County residents and business owners have seen affect the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon during the decades, this was particularly horrifying. 

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: Environmental groups are backing Patrick Murphy over Marco Rubio

TAMPA BAY TIMES: September 27, 2016. Written by Kristen M. Clark.

Environmental groups appear to be rallying behind Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy over Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida's close U.S. Senate race. 

Murphy's campaign announced this morning the endorsement of the national Sierra Club. And, an official at the Everglades Trust has told the Herald/Times that it, too, is backing Murphy, although no formal announcement has been made yet.

Murphy has focused heavily on environmental protection and Everglades restoration during his two terms in Congress.

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POLITICO: Latvala: 'Wide range of options' on Everglades to be considered

POLITICO: September 27, 2016. Written by Bruce Ritchie.

TALLAHASSEE — As incoming Senate budget chairman, GOP Sen. Jack Latvala says he will carry Sen. Joe Negron's proposal for an Everglades water storage reservoir "to the finish line" in 2017, but he also says the chamber will consider a range of options.

Negron, the incoming Senate president, in August proposed that the state buy 60,000 acres of farmland south of Lake Okeechobee to reduce environmentally harmful discharges to coastal estuaries. Some agricultural industry representatives are dismissing the idea but Latvala says environmentalists, agriculture and business groups need to work together.

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NAPLES DAILY NEWS: Florida gov orders 24-hour public notice of pollution events

NAPLES DAILY NEWS: September 26, 2016. Written by Associated Press.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott has issued an emergency rule requiring public notification of pollution events within 24 hours, a move that comes after it took weeks to notify local residents about a fertilizer plant that leaked millions of gallons of contaminated water into a major aquifer.

In a news release Monday, Scott says a recent sewage spill in Pinellas County and the sinkhole incident revealed outdated state reporting laws.

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EYE ON MIAMI: John Scott For FL House District 79: Fort Myers Election Is A David v. Goliath Battle

EYE ON MIAMI: September 26, 2016. Written by Gimleteye.

State House District 79 is in Fort Myers. It serves Florida voters well to understand a little of what makes Tallahassee tick. This is one race where the choices facing Florida are fully visible. It is a David versus Goliath race, and I support John Scott, the underdog challenging Big Sugar's salesman in Tallahassee, incumbent state representative Matt Caldwell.

Scott was born and raised in Hialeah. He lives and works in North Fort Myers in information technology and is a volunteer leader for Sierra Club. Although this is Scott's first venture into politics, he has chosen an extraordinarily important effort: to challenge an incumbent who represents a status quo that is wrecking Florida. 

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WPTV: Lake Okeechobee discharges bring algae concerns

WPTV: September 25, 2016. Written by Alex Hagen.

Algae concerns are blooming once again on the Treasure Coast.

The Army Corps of Engineers has begun discharging 1.1 billion gallons a day into the St. Lucie River. Now residents and business owners fear another round of algae blooms is coming.

It's the same flow rate sent into the river in May and June that caused multiple toxic algae blooms.

Lake Okeechobee's elevation this week is over the maximum level of 15 feet, 6 inches. This caused the increase in discharges.

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PALM BEACH POST: Cerabino: Too much regulation? Ask algae bloom, sinkhole neighbors

PALM BEACH POST: September 24, 2016. Written by Frank Cerabino.

Donald Trump has said he would get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“What they do is a disgrace,” he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace last year. “Every week they come out with new regulations.”

Wallace asked Trump: “Who’s going to protect the environment?”

“We’ll be fine with the environment,” Trump answered. “We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.”

Trump’s hardly the first to make this argument. But if you look at what’s going on in Florida today, it would be hard to come to anything but the conclusion that Trump has this backward.

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PALM BEACH POST: Water district must fund control of invasive fern (Point of View)

PALM BEACH POST: September 24, 2016. Written by Patrick J. Gleason.

The Sept. 14 letter from Jim Moran, a member of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, demanded that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) act now to control Lygodium, a pernicious fast-growing exotic fern, that is destroying native tree-island vegetation in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (LNWR). Failure to do so may result in the SFWMD rescinding the FWS license to use the refuge.

My message to SFWMD is that it should stop asking the federal government for a hand-out and start using its own money to stop the seemingly inevitable destruction of this unique part of the Florida Everglades.

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FLORIDA POLITICS: Jack Latvala: Water quality is a business issue

FLORIDA POLITICS: September 23, 2016. Written by Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

Environmentalists shouldn’t be the only ones sounding the alarm when it comes to Florida’s water quality concerns.

Instead, Sen. Jack Latvala said all of the state’s stakeholders need to work together to address the issues affecting Florida’s water.

“It’s not just (environmentalists). It’s not just the white hats with petitions and protests,” said Latvala, a Clearwater Republican and the incoming chairman of the Senate appropriations committee. “These are business issues. If we allow those (resources) to be desecrated in any way … that’s not going to help keep people coming to Florida, whether it’s as tourists or whether it’s as residents. Everyone needs to be invested.”

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