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.

Continue reading "U.S. Army Corps to raise amount of discharge from Lake Okeechobee"

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.

Continue reading "Florida: The Sinkhole State"

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.

Continue reading "2016 already a 'disaster' for Caloosahatchee watershed"


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.

Continue reading "Lake Okeechobee level hits peak range, raises flooding threat"

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.

Continue reading "Lake Okeechobee Discharges Pour Into St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon"

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) 

Continue reading "Meet the Sugar Barons Who Used Both Sides of American Politics to Get Billions in Subsidies"

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.

Continue reading "Call it the Florida Department of Pollution"

POLITICO: DEP: No legal requirement to notify neighbors of phosphate plant's sinkhole

POLITICO: September 20, 2016. Written by Marc Caputo, Craig Pittman, and Christopher O'Donnell.

Last month, when a 300-foot-deep sinkhole opened up at a phosphate plant in Mulberry, draining acidic waste into the aquifer below, the owner, fertilizer industry giant Mosaic, alerted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Polk County.

Continue reading "DEP: No legal requirement to notify neighbors of phosphate plant's sinkhole"


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."

Continue reading "Lake Okeechobee reservoir faces political hurdles, sugar industry pushback"


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.

Continue reading "The Shady History of Big Sugar"