SUN SENTINEL: Lake Okeechobee reservoir faces political hurdles, sugar industry pushback

SUN SENTINEL: September 17, 2016. Written by Andy Reid.

Florida's next Senate president plans to deliver 2.4 billion reasons for the politically powerful sugar industry to part with South Florida farmland needed to build a Lake Okeechobee reservoir.

Getting $2.4 billion approved to build the reservoir can overcome growing opposition from the sugar industry and farming communities rimming the lake, state Sen. Joe Negron said. 

"It's a completely different discussion when money is available," said Negron, who also said informal discussions about acquiring land are already happening. "The next step is to build support in the Legislature for the proposal."

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THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Shady History of Big Sugar

THE NEW YORK TIMES: September 16,2016. Written by David Singerman.

Charlottesville, Va. — On Monday, an article in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that in the 1960s, the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists to publish a study blaming fat and cholesterol for coronary heart disease while largely exculpating sugar. This study, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, helped set the agenda for decades of public health policy designed to steer Americans into low-fat foods, which increased carbohydrate consumption and exacerbated our obesity epidemic.

This revelation rightly reminds us to view industry-funded nutrition science with skepticism and to continue to demand transparency in scientific research. But ending Big Sugar’s hold on the American diet will require a broader understanding of the various ways in which the industry, for 150 years, has shaped government policy in order to fuel our sugar addiction.

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PALM BEACH POST: Harmful Lake Okeechobee releases to increase

PALM BEACH POST: September 15, 2016. Written by Kimberly Miller.

Harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the fragile St. Lucie Estuary will increase as the lake swells to its highest level all summer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday it will dump 525,000 gallons per minute of lake water into the St. Lucie Estuary, an 80 percent increase from the current discharge amounts. 

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NEWS-PRESS: Corps to increase flows from Lake O into the Caloosahatchee

NEWS-PRESS: September 15, 2016. Written by Staff.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will increase flows from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee during the next week.

The lake stage was 15.36 feet on Thursday, up 0.26 feet over the past week. Army Corps protocols say the lake should be kept between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet above sea level in order to protect people and property around the lake.

The Hoover Dike surrounds the lake, protecting the towns to the south from flooding.

“We expect the lake to be in the 15.5 foot range by this time next week,” said Candida Bronson, acting operations division chief for the Jacksonville District.. “At that level, we increase inspections of the dike to ensure continued safe operation. We still have seven weeks remaining in the wet season. Even without a significant weather event, we expect that the lake will be above 16 feet by the end of November.”

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WPTV: Martin County residents: CEPP helps, but not nearly enough to stop harmful discharges

WPTV: September 15, 2016. Written by Alyssa Hyman.

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved its water resources bill. Included in that was the Central Everglades Planning Project. The plan includes a series of projects designed to get more water from Lake Okeechobee flowing south toward the Everglades.

While many say the project is a step in the right direction, it will not have a dramatic impact on the Lake O discharges going east and west.

The Corps releases water from the lake to manage the lake levels, concerned that if the lake gets too high the dike around it could be compromised.

However, many families on the Treasure Coast blame the discharges for causing the toxic algae that invaded their waterways this year. 

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TCPALM: 'Glades lives matter' and land buy are not mutually exclusive

TCPALM: September 14, 2016. Written by Editorial.

It was naive, perhaps, to expect that state Sen. Joe Negron's plan to buy some 60,000 acres south of Lake Okeechobee for water storage would be universally embraced.

For as obviously necessary as it may seem to residents of the Treasure Coast, the prospect of another huge chunk of land lost to water storage is bound to be controversial in the farming communities south of the lake, where residents may fear the plan could result in lost jobs and a weakened industry in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

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EYE ON MIAMI: "Glades Lives Matter" to Big Sugar, except when they don't...

EYE ON MIAMI: September 14, 2016. Written by Gimleteye.

Big Sugar is in the midst of a multi-faceted counterattack against the civic uprising in Florida triggered by massive pollution of Florida's waterways in the winter of 2016. It took the results of the GOP presidential primary -- and the dismal showing of its key spokesman, Senator Marco Rubio, who garnered scarcely 15% of the Republican vote -- to kick the billionaires into gear. Today, they are most certainly revving all their engines in anticipation of the November election where protecting Marco Rubio and down-ballot hirelings like state representative Matt Caldwell is Big Sugar's primary concern.

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TCPALM: Florida must acquire land for Lake O flow to protect rivers, estuaries (Letter)

TCPALM: September 14, 2016. Written by Nathaniel Reed.

Where is the water coming from to be discharged out the St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee River?

Who is responsible to enforce reductions of nutrients off private lands? Where is the Department of Environmental Regulation? 

Taxpayers foot costs for the stormwater treatment areas which have been cleansing Everglades Agricultural Area drainage — not Lake Okeechobee polluted water all season.

Our current strategy, which wastes billions of gallons of this precious resource to the east and the west, threatens our water supply.

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U.S NEWS: New Study Says Sugar Industry Has Tried To Sway Science

U.S NEWS: September 12, 2016. Written by Candice Choi.

NEW YORK (AP) — The sugar industry began funding research that cast doubt on sugar's role in heart disease — in part by pointing the finger at fat — as early as the 1960s, according to an analysis of newly uncovered documents.

The analysis published Monday is based on correspondence between a sugar trade group and researchers at Harvard University, and is the latest example showing how food and beverage makers attempt to shape public understanding of nutrition.

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TCPALM: Water management district needs to stop smearing critics

TCPALM: September 9, 2016. Written by Editorial Board.

The South Florida Water Management District bears an awesome responsibility. The agency guards against flooding and protects water supplies in a 16-county region stretching from Orlando to Key West. It helms Florida's Everglades restoration efforts. And it manages some 2,100 miles of canals and 2,000 miles of levees or berms, more than 1,200 water control structures and culverts, dozens of pump stations and thousands of hydrological monitoring stations.

Yet with all that, the agency still has plenty of time for politicking.

Since last fall, when Gov. Rick Scott's former general counsel Pete Antonacci was installed as head of the district, the water management district has gone after its critics with a vengeance.

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