TC PALM: South Florida Water Management District emails show U.S. Sugar Corp. lobbyist's influence

TC Palm: Written by Lucas Daprile. August 30, 2017.

South Florida water managers were on the verge of an agricultural pollution crackdown when they scrapped their plans and let a sugar lobbyist dictate edits to a 2015 annual report that paved the way for weaker regulations, emails show.

The South Florida Water Management District changed course immediately after a Dec. 3, 2014, meeting with U.S. Sugar Corp. lobbyist Irene Quincey, eventually halting its planned policy in favor of a plan that takes polluters at their word and holds no one accountable if water quality suffers.

The sugar lobbyist's influence, which exceeded that of scientists, environmentalists and the general public, affected changes to rules meant to protect Florida waterways from pollutants that feed toxic algae blooms. Critics lament the district's special treatment for special interests.

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