Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962 

Florida Senate listens to science, demonstrates political will

Senate Bill 10 passes by a vote of 36-3

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, April 12, 2017) – Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell issued the following statement regarding a historic moment in Everglades restoration -- the passage of Senate Bill 10:

“America’s Everglades and three vital estuaries cannot speak for themselves. They depend on good stewardship from our elected officials and the commitment from millions of Floridians who have made their survival a priority.

We are grateful for the disciplined and determined leadership from Senate President Joe Negron and Senators Bradley and Latvala. The vast majority of the Florida Senate did today what far too many legislators have failed to do over the past two decades -- move forward on one of the most critical components of Everglades restoration, the EAA Reservoir, and demonstrate political will.

Today’s vote is also the result of hundreds of thousands of Floridians coming together to apply political pressure to the Florida legislature in support of Senate President Negron’s initiative to finally begin to move forward on the EAA Reservoir that has been delayed for 17 years.

It is precisely because of this demonstrated unity and commitment we are hopeful for a strong finish to this year’s legislative session. We believe the Florida House will listen to the voices of business owners, families, Republican and Democrat voters alike, who have come together in an unprecedented show of support for Everglades restoration.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962

Everglades Trust responds to latest PR stunt from SFWMD

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, March 10, 2017) – 377 days after Governor Scott first declared a state of emergency for Lake Okeechobee discharges, the South Florida Water Management District issued a press release announcing it has finally modeled its “stay the course” plan. While claiming to be a science-based organization, the District trumpeted preliminary modeling results in a planning process that is merely 9 months into a 3-year study.

Instead of sharing the data and assumptions with the broader scientific community for review and analysis first, or even discussing it with its Governing Board in the Sunshine, the District rushed to issue a press release designed to achieve political goals. Clearly, the SFWMD’s focus on propaganda has overtaken its scientific integrity.

Rather than examining which actions have the greatest overall benefits and giving preference to reducing the damaging releases to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, as required in law, the District issues a breathless press release to announce preliminary results the District for what they’re trying to sell. They’re true purpose is to divert our attention from real solutions. While most stakeholders agree that northern storage should be investigated, SFWMD’s sales pitch flies in the face of real science and the opinion of hundreds of credible and independent scientists.

For decades, we have all known and agreed that additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee is needed to protect the estuaries and Florida Bay and restore the Everglades. The only thing that has changed is the position of Big Sugar and, now, the SFWMD.

We encourage all South Floridians to carefully question the SFWMD’s public relations machine. We all need to demand that real science, not special interests, determine how our tax dollars are best spent to restore the Everglades.

It’s Now Or Neverglades.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962


Senate Bill 10 -- “Coast to Coast” passes second committee, heads to Appropriations

Bill is strengthened in importance for all Floridians -- North, South, East and West 

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, March 8, 2017) – Today Senate Bill 10 passed the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources by a vote of 5 to 1. Chair Bradley and Senators Book, Hutson, Mayfield and Stewart voted in favor of the bill, and Senator Braynon opposed. In addition to passing the bill, the committee approved an amendment, which includes a statewide priority, “Coast to Coast” for water quality and quantity projects, as well as a provision giving preferential job opportunities to the Glades communities during the construction of the reservoir.

Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell issued the following statement:

“From the St. John’s River in North Florida to Florida Bay in the Keys, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and everything in between, some powerful lawmakers are insisting water quality and quantity become a statewide legislative priority that get addressed immediately.

The leadership, foresight and fortitude being shown by the Committee Chair, Senator Rob Bradley, should make every Floridian proud. Changing the status quo is not for the faint of heart. Great additions to Senate Bill 10 have been made that ensure all parts of Florida and every Floridian matters.”

Today’s vote took place after lengthy public testimony from local business owners, fishing guides, students and families. A group of more than 80 volunteers, many returning to Tallahassee for the third or fourth time to speak on this issue, spoke on behalf of the Now Or Neverglades effort, urging legislators to protect their businesses, health and way of life.

The vote came less than a week after the release of the Clemson University study indicating that Senate President Joe Negron’s initiative for the EAA reservoir would produce an 8-1 economic boost and more than 39,000 direct jobs.

About Everglades Trust:

Everglades Trust demands that local, state and federal lawmakers take meaningful and timely action to preserve and restore America’s Everglades. Through grassroots initiatives and legislator education, the Trust ensures lawmakers are held accountable to their constituents and protect the Everglades. Learn more at EvergladesTrust.org


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962


Professor emeritus at Clemson University calls the EAA reservoir a ‘no brainer’
The study reveals EAA reservoir project will create 39,000 direct jobs and $20 billion property value boost

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, February 28, 2017) – Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell issued the following statement about the results of an economic study released by Clemson University outlining the economic benefits of Senate President Joe Negron’s initiative to purchase land in the Everglades Agricultural Area to construct a reservoir that has been called for since 2000.

“Status quo is not working for anyone, except Big Sugar. As we have felt all along, and the results of the Clemson study now show, this enormous public works project will provide tremendous job opportunities for Floridians, especially those who live in the communities surrounding the lake.

Personally, I find it immoral that the Glades communities have two mega-billion-dollar international corporations parked in their front yards, yet Belle Glade suffers from 40% unemployment, a horrific lack of safe, affordable housing and chronic health issues related to burning sugarcane for harvesting right next to their homes and schools. Those sobering facts should make every Floridian sick to their stomach.”

In addition to creating more than 39,000 direct jobs, the Clemson study indicates the EAA reservoir project will lead to an 8-1 economic return on investment, producing more than $20 billion dollars of economic boost to property values in South Florida.

According to Dr. Michael Maloney, emeritus professor of economics at Clemson University and the principal investigator in the study, “The South Reservoir is a no-brainer.” By studying the outcomes of both a South Reservoir and a North Reservoir, Clemson University noted that “From a hydrological perspective, the South Reservoir is clearly a superior project and our economic analysis puts a dollar value on it that is conspicuously large.”

The complete Clemson University study can be accessed here.


About Everglades Trust:

Everglades Trust demands that local, state and federal lawmakers take meaningful and timely action to preserve and restore America’s Everglades. Through grassroots initiatives and legislator education, the Trust ensures lawmakers are held accountable to their constituents and protect the Everglades. Learn more at EvergladesTrust.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962

Everglades Trust responds to SFWMD 'Get the Facts' memo

There is the environmental science of the Everglades and there is the political science, too. The political science is what Everglades Trust is all about. Established in 1994, we inform you when trust is broken by politicians and agencies not focused on the critical issues of the collapsing Everglades. We hold them accountable.

Going forward, Everglades Trust will respond to the most egregious of the email blasts coming from SFWMD. This one today was a humdinger!

Actual Facts: Last week, SFWMD told South Florida residents to begin conserving water in anticipation of the drought we’re experiencing that will likely get worse.

Now, SFWMD tells us that taking 800 billion gallons of water – enough water to meet the needs of 12 million people for a year – and injecting it one mile below ground, with no chance for recovery and where they have no clear idea what will happen, is a good idea and does not waste water.

In an email sent out earlier today, the District made claims that certain groups are falsely characterizing “water storage technology under consideration as ‘wasting much-needed water.’” Yet the District fails to explain how its scheme to dispose of excess freshwater via deep well injection constitutes “storage.”

Storage is defined as “the action or method of storing something for future use.” Like the 250+ wastewater disposal wells in Florida, freshwater injected 3,000 feet underground into the Boulder Zone will be gone forever. And until the District finds a way to provide the freshwater so desperately needed in the Everglades and Florida Bay, the fact remains that this misguided idea will indeed be “wasting much-needed water.”

This is their alternative for the right thing to do, which was agreed to by all parties in 2000 – construct facilities that capture water during wet years, hold it, clean it, and use that water to supply the needs of the Everglades, as well as our cities and towns.

Editorial Comments: Does this strike anyone as sound water management? This is an agency off the rails. They’ll say anything and do anything to protect a precious few at the expense of everything and everyone else.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962

State Representative Thad Altman Demonstrates Political Will

Today House Bill 761 was filed to move forward on the purchase of land south of Lake Okeechobee

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, February 10, 2017) – Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell issued the following statement about the filing of House Bill 761 today by Representative Thad Altman. House Bill 761 is the companion bill to Senate Bill 10, filed late last month by Senator Rob Bradley.

“Representative Thad Altman has always been a champion for the Everglades and Florida’s waterways. Every Floridian should be confident and proud to know that these lawmakers are basing their decisions on sound science that serves the people – and not on politics or special interests. Rep. Thad Altman and Senator Rob Bradley, along with a growing number of legislators, are demonstrating the political will necessary to solve these problems once and for all. This is what true leadership looks like.”

The unanimous vote of support from the Senate Committee for Environmental Preservation and Conservation earlier this week and today’s filing of House Bill 761 are the initial steps in what the Everglades Trust believes will be the strongest-ever legislative session for Everglades restoration.

After toxic algae-blooms last summer devastated both the east and west coasts of Florida, leading to 242 days under a state of emergency in four Florida counties and weeks of national news headlines, more than 50,000 individuals, small and large businesses, elected officials and nonprofit organizations have united behind the Now Or Neverglades declaration.

“With a lot of hard work, we just may get these problems solved -- once and for all,” said Mitchell.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962

State Senator Rob Bradley Demonstrates Political Will

Today Senate Bill 10 was filed to move forward on the purchase of land south of Lake Okeechobee


(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, January 26, 2017) – Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell issued the following statement about the filing of Senate Bill 10 today by Senator Rob Bradley.

“We are ecstatic that Senate President Joe Negron and Senator Rob Bradley, the bill sponsor, saw past the smoke and mirrors coming from the sugar industry. All Floridians should be confident and proud to know that these Senators have based their decision on sound science that serves the people – and not on politics or special interests. These two men, along with a growing number of legislators, are demonstrating the political will necessary to solve these problems once and for all. This is what true leadership looks like.”

Senate Bill 10 is part of Senate President Joe Negron’s plan, announced on August 9, 2016, to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee to construct the urgently-needed reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area, increasing conveyance, storage and treatment of excess water from the lake south to the Everglades and down to Florida Bay.

After toxic algae-blooms last summer devastated both the east and west coasts of Florida, leading Governor Scott to twice declare states of emergency in four Florida counties and weeks of national news headlines, more than 50,000 individuals, small and large businesses, elected officials and nonprofit organizations united behind the Now Or Neverglades declaration.

Senate Bill 10 is the first step in what Everglades Trust believes will be the strongest ever legislative session for Everglades restoration. Senator Negron’s plan is the only solution to Florida’s environmental crises supported by more than 200 independent scientists. The combined work of Senate President Negron and Senator Robert Bradley represents not only the interests of the people of Florida, the environment and the Florida economy, but also a shift in power from the corporate interests that have controlled Everglades restoration legislation, to the detriment of all for decades.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

Megan@EvergladesTrust.org

(561) 383-1962

 

EVERGLADES TRUST CELEBRATES BIG WINS IN GENERAL ELECTIONAND CONTINUED MOMENTUM FOR NOW OR NEVERGLADES

Organization Says Results Show Florida Voter Support for Everglades Preservation and Restoration

 

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, November 9, 2016) – Following Tuesday’s general election, Everglades Trust celebrated growing momentum for the Now or Neverglades Declaration in support of purchasing land south of Lake Okeechobee for the storage and cleaning of water before sending it south. Everglades Trust had given its endorsement to candidates in several key races across the state.

More than 20 South Florida candidates for local, state and federal offices, including 11 of the Trust’s endorsed candidates who went on to win their races were signees or supporters of the Now or Neverglades Declaration. The Declaration already had the support of more than 200 independent Everglades experts and scientists and 40,000 organizations, businesses and voters leading up to the election, and gained additional support while voter attention turned to environmental issues.

“Though not on the ballot as a single question, this year’s election, especially in South Florida, was most certainly about the Everglades and clean, plentiful water,” said Everglades Trust executive director Kimberly Mitchell. “Tuesday’s election results clearly demonstrate that voters have increased awareness of Florida’s environmental crises and were willing to put partisanship aside to vote for candidates and issues that protect Florida’s environment and water supply.”

This year was the first time in Everglades Trust’s history that the organization issued formal endorsements for candidates. The Trust endorsed men and women, regardless of party affiliation, who committed to support the plan to purchase 60,000 acres of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area, a key component of the Now or Neverglades declaration.

Building on momentum from the general election, Everglades Trust will continue to gather support from Floridians and work closely with elected officials during the 2017 legislative session to provide information. As importantly, the Trust will continue its core mission of accountability for legislators to follow through on their campaign promises.

“Working with Senate President-designate Joe Negron will be our primary focus from now through the end of the legislative session in April,” said Mitchell. “Big Sugar will be poised with their army of lobbyists to work to defeat this vital project.”

Everglades Trust provided formal endorsement to the following candidates who went on to win their respective races:

United States Congress

  • Brian Mast (R), District 18

Florida State Senate

  • Joe Negron (R), District 25

  • Anitere Flores (R), District 39

  • Linda Stewart (D), District 13

Florida House of Representatives

  • Thad Altman (R), District 52  

  • Carlos Guillermo Smith (D), District 49

  • Heather Fitzenhagen (R), District 78

  • Larry Lee, Jr. (D), District 84

Palm Beach County Commission

  • Dave Kerner (D), District 3

Palm Beach County Water & Soil Conservation

  • Rob Long

  • Pat Edmonson

About Everglades Trust:

Everglades Trust demands that local, state and federal lawmakers take meaningful and timely action to preserve and restore America’s Everglades. Through grassroots initiatives and legislator education, the Trust ensures lawmakers are held accountable to their constituents and protect the Everglades. Learn more at EvergladesTrust.org

 


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Megan Berame

Megan@EvergladesTrust.org

(561) 383-1962

 

EVERGLADES TRUST ANNOUNCES ENDORSEMENT LINEUP FOR GENERAL ELECTION


(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, October 27, 2016) - Everglades Trust today announced its endorsements for local, state and federal races in the 2016 general election. This is the first time the organization has made political endorsements since being established in 1994.

“After years of inaction from political leaders, we decided it's Now Or Neverglades,” said Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell. “For the first time, the Trust is publicly endorsing candidates who are willing to put the future of America’s Everglades and the source of drinking water for 8 million people ahead of Big Sugar’s political influence and interests.”

To earn the Trust’s endorsement, candidates needed to publicly support the Now Or Neverglades Declaration, including its core premise supported by more than 200 independent Everglades scientists, that “increased storage, treatment and conveyance of water south of Lake Okeechobee is essential to stop the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries and to restore the flow of clean, fresh water to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys.”

In addition to supporting the declaration, candidates earning an endorsement worked closely with Everglades Trust staff to become educated on the nuances of Florida’s environmental crises and strategize on the best ways to grow support for the Now or Neverglades mandate.

“With leadership from Senate President-designate Joe Negron and others, the upcoming legislative session will bring about meaningful change to save Florida's Everglades and water supply,” said Mitchell. “We believe it is critical that elected officials with political will are recognized and supported in the electoral process, as well as the upcoming legislative session.”

Everglades Trust’s endorsements are as follows:

For United States Senate

  • Patrick Murphy (D)- on the ballot in all Florida counties

For United States Congress

  • Brian Mast (R) District 18- on the ballot in St. Lucie, Martin and parts of Palm Beach County

For Florida State Senate

  • Joe Negron (R) District 25- on the ballot in parts of St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties
  • Bob Buesing (D) District 18- on the ballot in parts of Hillsborough County
  • Anitere Flores (R) District 39- on the ballot in Monroe and parts of Miami-Dade counties
  • Linda Stewart (D) District 13- on the ballot in parts of Orange County
  • Dean Asher (R) District 13- on the ballot in parts of Orange County

For Florida House of Representatives

  • Thad Altman (R) District 52- on the ballot in parts of Brevard County
  • Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich (D) District 103- on the ballot in parts of Miami-Dade and Broward
  • Ken Keechl (D) District 93- on the ballot in parts of Broward County
  • Robert Simeone (D) District 85- on the ballot in parts of Palm Beach County
  • Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) District 49- on the ballot in parts of Orange County
  • John Scott (D) District 79- on the ballot in parts of Lee County
  • Charles Messina (NPA) District 76- on the ballot in parts of Lee County

For Palm Beach County Commission

  • Dave Kerner (D) Palm Beach County Commission Dist. 3

For Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • Daniel Sohn (Group 2)- on the ballot throughout Palm Beach County
  • Patricia Edmonson (Group 3)- on the ballot throughout Palm Beach County
  • Rob Long (Group 4)- on the ballot throughout Palm Beach County

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About Everglades Trust:

Established in 1994, Everglades Trust is an organized group of citizens, businesses and community leaders who are committed to protecting America’s Everglades and the source of drinking water for 8 million Floridians. A political non-profit organization located in West Palm Beach, Florida, with staff around the state, Everglades Trust works to ensure local, state and federal lawmakers take meaningful and timely action to preserve and restore America’s Everglades. Through grassroots initiatives and legislator education, the Trust also works to hold lawmakers accountable to their constituents. Learn more at EvergladesTrust.org


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962

 

EVERGLADES TRUST SHOWS SUPPORT FOR CANDIDATES WHO DEMONSTRATE POLITICAL WILL

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL, August 31, 2016) – Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell issued the following statement after the August 30 Florida primary election, which decided the candidates that will face off in the November 8 general election:

“The crisis in the Everglades is an important part of the political conversation this election season. We’re thrilled to see candidates on the ballot who understand the economic and environmental threat facing Florida and who support a plan to protect and restore the Everglades,” said Mitchell. “Our momentum heading into the general election positions us well to ensure the passage of Senator Joe Negron’s plan to acquire land for water storage and cleaning.”

So far this year, Everglades Trust has awarded six candidates the coveted “Political Will” Designation, meaning they support the acquisition of land south of Lake Okeechobee and building of a reservoir. Everglades Trust will bestow its Political Will designation on additional candidates in the coming months.

  • Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate (faces a general election opponent)
  • Senator Joe Negron (faces a general election opponent)
  • Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (won reelection without opposition)
  • Representative Dave Kerner for Palm Beach County Commission (won the seat on August 30) 
  • Chauncey Goss for Congress (lost on August 30)
  • Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch for Martin County Commission (lost on August 30)

Earlier this month, Political Will recipient Senator Joe Negron announced his plan to create 120 billion gallons of new water storage in two areas south of Lake Okeechobee. Everglades Trust, the Everglades Foundation, Senator Joe Negron, more than 200 independent scientists, and hundreds of thousands of Floridians and small businesses agree on a plan to purchase or acquire land south of Lake Okeechobee and build a reservoir to store and clean water. The reservoir would clean the polluted water, then send it south to provide millions with safe drinking water, aid in Everglades restoration, and replenish the dehydrated Florida Bay.

“Our fight has just begun,” said Mitchell. “In November, we want voters to remember that it’s not about about partisan purity, it’s about water purity. We, along with Florida voters, must do whatever we can to ensure Senator Negron’s plan is put into action, which we can do by electing officials that are committed to protecting Florida’s water.”

About Everglades Trust:

The Everglades Trust demands that local, state and federal lawmakers take meaningful and timely action to preserve and restore America’s Everglades. Through grassroots initiatives and legislator education, the Everglades Trust ensures lawmakers are held accountable to their constituents and protect the Everglades. Learn more at evergladestrust.org.

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        CONTACT: Megan Berame

(561) 383-1962

 

GET THE LANDOWNERS IN A ROOM

EVERGLADES TRUST CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION BY GOVERNOR SCOTT

West Palm Beach, FL – The Everglades Trust today called for Florida Governor Rick Scott to take the first step toward alleviating the harmful release of Lake Okeechobee water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and estuaries by immediately convening a meeting of the landowners controlling the land critical to the solution.

In a letter to Governor Scott, Kimberly Mitchell, Executive Director of the Everglades Trust, underscores the dire need for construction of a reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area that has been part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan since its inception and authorization by Congress in 2000.  

While CERP projects are cost-shared with the federal government, it is the state’s responsibility to acquire the land needed for the project. "It has been sixteen years since the State of Florida agreed to this project. You [Governor Scott] alone possess the authority to finally make it a reality," Mitchell wrote.

The one CERP project that will provide the most relief to the coastal communities receiving the discharges, the Everglades and Florida Bay is the EAA reservoir. Without additional storage in the EAA, the Everglades will not be restored, Florida Bay will continue to suffer from a lack of fresh water, and the coastal communities will continue to receive harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges.

"Governor Scott holds the power and the ability to convene a meeting of a few of the most influential landowners to begin the process of negotiating for the land needed to once and for all reverse decades of flawed public policy,” Mitchell went on to say. "Will he do it, is what we are waiting to hear."

The Everglades Trust, founded in 1994 by the iconic Everglades protector, George Barley, is an organized group of businesses, community leaders and citizens who are committed to protecting and restoring the Everglades through the process of influencing the formation of public policy.

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The letter to Governor Rick Scott and a map of the EAA and list of landowners can be accessed and downloaded at www.EvergladesTrust.org

The Everglades Trust, founded in 1994 by the iconic Everglades protector, George Barley, is an organized group of businesses, community leaders and citizens who are committed to protecting and restoring the Everglades through the process of influencing the formation of public policy.


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