TCPALM: Lake Okeechobee pollutes St. Lucie River with 1.1 billion gallons a day

TCPALM: September 22, 2016. Written by Tyler Treadway.

With Lake Okeechobee water levels too high and rising, polluted discharges to the St. Lucie River will increase to more than 1.1 billion gallons a day, the Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday.

The new flow rate, which begins Friday, is the same amount of lake water the Corps sent to the St. Lucie in May and June. Those discharges carried a huge algae bloom in the lake into the river, causing widespread toxic algae blooms in June and July, with thick mats of foul-smelling algae in some marinas and canals.

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MIAMI HERALD: More polluted water to be flushed from Lake Okeechobee

MIAMI HERALD: September 22, 2016. Written by Jenny Staletovich.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will increase polluted water flushed from Lake Okeechobee to the Treasure Coast to the maximum allowed Friday to ease pressure on the aging Herbert Hoover dike.

In the past month, water level in the lake has jumped nearly a foot, rising .21 feet in just the last week. At 15.57 feet Thursday, that puts the lake above the level considered safe for the dike, which is in the midst of a massive rehab. Since 2001, the Corps has spent about $800 million on repairs and will spend another $800 million in coming years.

The increased flushing is expected to dump more than 13,000 gallons per second in the St. Lucie River, raising the threat to the troubled estuary. Over the summer, repeated releases helped trigger a brutal algae bloom that turned water a putrid green. Run-off from heavy rain could bring even more polluted water, Corps officials warned.

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POLITICO: 2014 conservation spending measure could get $3.3B more, analysts say

POLITICO: September 22, 2016. Written by Bruce Ritchie.

TALLAHASSEE — State analysts say a water and land conservation spending measure approved by voters in 2014 could receive nearly $3.3 billion more than was expected before the vote.

That's good news, some environmentalists say, but they remain concerned about how the money could be spent. The revenue forecast also could play a role in the debate over Everglades restoration.

Amendment 1 in 2014 provided one-third of revenue from an excise tax on real estate and other transactions for conservation. The measure was expected to generate $19.1 billion over 20 years but state analysts recently adjusted the forecast to $22.3 billion.

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WPBF: U.S. Army Corps to raise amount of discharge from Lake Okeechobee

WPBF: September 22, 2016. Written by Greg Leuthen.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will raise the amount of discharges from Lake Okeechobee back to the same levels as they were at the height of the toxic algae crisis.

The Corps was discharging only about 650 cubic feet per second from the lake two weeks ago.

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EYE ON MIAMI: Florida: The Sinkhole State

EYE ON MIAMI: September 21, 2016. Written by Gimleteye.

Most Floridians are in the dark about one of the state's most secretive, regulated and wealthy industries: mining. In other states, mining is defined by mineral extraction. In Florida, mining involves scraping the surface layer of the earth; excavating ancient fossil bedrock for limestone, to make cement, asphalt and concrete, and phosphate derivatives, for agricultural fertilizer.

Mosaic is the nation's largest producer of the latter. Its multi-billion dollar revenues in Florida are focused on an area to the east of Tampa/ St. Petersberg where one mine recently drained over 200 million gallons of "slightly radioactive" water through a sinkhole that opened beneath a retention lake. Here is how large the operations are in the region: the mining area is 3/4 the spatial area of Rhode Island.

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NEWS-PRESS: 2016 already a 'disaster' for Caloosahatchee watershed

News-Press: September 21, 2016. Written by Amy Bennett Williams

It's not even close to over, but Caloosahatchee advocates are already reaching to find ways to describe just how bad a year it's been for the river.

Last week, water managers and the wet weather presented them with a new milestone: 1 million acre feet of freshwater flows to the estuary.

It's only the ninth time in more than half a century that's happened, and if it keeps up this way, 2016 may go down as one of the three worst years since anyone began keeping records.

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SUN SENTINEL: Lake Okeechobee level hits peak range, raises flooding threat

Sun Sentinel: September 20, 2016. Written by Andy Reid.

Lake Okeechobee's rising waters are pushing past the peak range intended to guard against flooding South Florida, and are expected to keep going up before the end of hurricane season.

The Army Corps of Engineers tries to keep the lake between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet year round to ease the strain on the leaky, 143-mile-long dike, which is undergoing a slow-moving repair expected to take until 2025.

The lake level on Tuesday hit 15.5 feet above sea level. It's projected to top 16 feet by the end of November, when South Florida's storm season typically ends.

The rising lake is prompting increased inspections of its troubled dike — a 30-foot-tall mound of sand, shell and rock considered one of the country's most at risk of failing.

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TCPALM: Lake Okeechobee Discharges Pour Into St. Lucie, Indian River Lagoon

TCPALM: September 22, 2016. Written by Treasure Coast.

They open. They close. They open. They close. And so it goes. Year-round. The St. Lucie Lock and Dam sometimes releases excess Lake Okeechobee water into the St. Lucie (C-44) Canal. Sometimes it's just rainfall runoff that collects in the canal. Sometimes it's both. But the polluted freshwater always makes its way into the St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon, out the St. Lucie Inlet and into the ocean. It can increase enteric bacteria levels and spark sometimes toxic algae blooms.

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PROMARKET.ORG: Meet the Sugar Barons Who Used Both Sides of American Politics to Get Billions in Subsidies

PROMARKET.ORG: September 19, 2016. Written by Guy Rolnik.

Last week, historical documents were released showing that the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists in the 1960s to produce research that downplayed the connection between sugar and heart disease, and instead laid the blame on saturated fat. According to The New York Times, the documents, released by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, suggested that five decades of scientific research into the interconnection between nutrition and heart disease “may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry.”1)

The recent revelations were in line with the industry’s repeated attempts to play down the health risks involved with increased sugar consumption. In the 1970s, as scientists and media began to connect sugar with illnesses such as obesity and diabetes, the Sugar Association— an industry trade group—ran a successful PR campaign that even led the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association to approve sugar as part of a healthy diet.2) 

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JACKSONVILLE.COM: Call it the Florida Department of Pollution

JACKSONVILLE.COM: September 15, 2016. Written by Ron Littlepage.

As it stands now, your state government is hellbent on allowing higher amounts of cancer-causing chemicals to pollute our rivers and streams.

When any sane person would be saying that zero carcinogens in our surface waters would be the right amount, the state is saying, more, more, more.

That’s the way it works at the misnamed Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which is securely under the thumb of Gov. Rick Scott, who has done much to decimate environmental protection during his agonizingly long six years in office.

The entire process for establishing limits on the amounts of chemicals allowed in our waterways has been a sham from the beginning.

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