WPTV: Environmentalists threaten lawsuit over discharges and algae blooms

WPTV: Written by Alex Hagan. December 20, 2018.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — Thursday’s severe weather is a reminder of what can cause Lake Okeechobee discharges.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are the decision makers behind those releases when lake levels get too high.

Now three environmental groups that include The Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance filed a notice of intent to sue the Army Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and National Marine Fisheries Service.

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WINK News: How will the Farm Bill impact southwest Florida?

WINK News: Written by Oliver Redsten. December 19, 2018.

Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump are calling the farm bill a significant victory. But southwest Florida Republican Francis Rooney is calling it something else.

“I think it’s definitely a waste of money for where we live,” Congressman Rooney said.

Rooney was one of only 47 congresspersons who voted against the bill. His main objection is what he calls, the “bloated subsidies,” for sugar companies.

“They are not very constructive with helping us with their private land for the EAA reservoir, things like that,” Rooney said, referring to the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir. “So I got a wonder why should the taxpayers be subsidizing an industry, which doesn’t really create a food anyway? It creates a toxin.”

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Florida Today: Mike Haridopolos says he deserves a tax break because of Indian River Lagoon problems

Florida Today: Written by Wayne Price. December 12th, 2018.

INDIAN HARBOR BEACH — The well-publicized environmental woes of the Indian River Lagoon should be a reason to get a break on property taxes.

At least that's part of an argument being made by former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who disagrees with the more than $2.3 million value placed on his Lansing Island home this year by the Brevard County Property Appraiser.

It could be the first argument in Brevard County for adjusting a residential property value based, in part, on the ill health of the lagoon.

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PALM BEACH POST: EXCLUSIVE: DeSantis to act quickly on water, Supreme Court, Broward sheriff

Palm Beach Post: Written by George Bennett. December 12, 2018.

TALLAHASSEE — Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis plans to move quickly on water-quality issues, filling three Florida Supreme Court vacancies and deciding whether Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel should keep his job — but he called for caution in enacting a voter-approved measure to restore voting rights to most felons who have completed their sentences.

DeSantis, who takes office Jan. 8, sat for an exclusive interview with The Palm Beach Post on Wednesday afternoon in his bare-walled transition office on the 16th floor of the Florida Capitol.

Some quick highlights, with a full story coming later this week:

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WJCT: Tons Of South Florida Sewage Finds Its Way Into St. Johns River To ‘Devastating Effect’

WJCT: Written by Brendan Rivers. December 13, 2018.

Over the past decade nearly 90,000 tons of sewage sludge have been trucked up from South Florida and dumped into the St. Johns River watershed and conservationists say it’s having a devastating effect.


In 2007 the Florida legislature gave the waters of South Florida special protections, essentially banning the land disposal of sewage sludge, the byproduct of wastewater treatment facilities, in the Lake Okeechobee watershed. The legislation was a response to the nutrient pollution that was seriously degrading the lake’s water quality.

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NBC 2: Southwest Floridians travel across the state to fight for clean water

NBC 2: Written by Jaclyn Bevis. December 13th, 2019.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Leaders, advocates, and local business people went to West Palm Beach for the December meeting of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board.

Realtors from Lee County traveled over in a bus to ensure the concerns from the west coast, especially when it comes to the water crisis' impact on their business, could be known to the district.

Sanibel and Captiva business owners and council members, as well as members of the Captains for Clean Water, all not only attended, but spoke to the water management district's governing board throughout the day-long meeting on Thursday.

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SUN SENTINEL: Water district has lame defense for stealth Big Sugar deal

Sun Sentinel: Written by Randy Schultz. December 11, 2018.

South Florida’s most important public agency is hard at work — on damage control.

I don’t mean the Broward County School District, despite that agency’s deplorable attempt to hide the facts about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre. In this case, I mean the South Florida Water Management District.

In theory, the district exists to keep South Florida from flooding and to promote environmental restoration. More recently, however, the district’s priority has been to work for the agricultural industry.

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CBS 4: Congressman Calls On SFWMD Members To Resign

CBS 4: Written by Jim DeFede. December 10, 2018.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Arguing the members of the South Florida Water Management District have repeatedly displayed “a huge level of arrogance…and a huge level of entitlement,” Congressman Brian Mast is calling on the nine-member board to step down.

“I think there are a number of places where the members of the south Florida water management district board have proven that they are not taking into account the considerations of the people,” the Treasure Coast Republican told CBS Miami in an interview that aired Sunday.

Mast’s comments followed a South Florida Water Management meeting last month, in which the board voted grant Florida Crystals an eight-year lease extension to grow sugar cane on 16,000 acres of state owned land. That parcel located south of Lake Okeechobee is also slated to be the site for a new reservoir critical to Everglades restoration.

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PALM BEACH POST: State land used for sugarcane evades swap in reservoir deal

Palm Beach Post: Written by Kimberly Miller. November 8th, 2018.

Nearly 4,000 acres of state-owned land that could have been traded to expand a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee was never considered for a swap after its management plan was revised allowing it to avoid an exchange.

The land in Belle Glade is leased to a non-profit prisoner work program that has grown sugarcane on the property in an agreement with Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar Corp. at least through 2016.

Senate Bill 10, which authorized the construction of a massive reservoir to hold excess lake water as a way to alleviate discharges to the northern estuaries, specifically mentions terminating leases to the Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, or PRIDE, so the land could be offered as a swap for parcels closer to the reservoir.

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NBC 2: NOAA confirms 42 dead dolphins in Lee and Collier counties

NBC 2: Written by Edna Ruiz. November 30, 2018.

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Fla. - A total of 42 dead dolphins have washed up ashore in Lee and Collier counties since last Wednesday.

On Friday, spokesperson for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Kim Amendola confirmed the total number of stranded bottlenose dolphins.

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