A broken water management system, a relic from the 1950’s meant to drain the Everglades of its lifeblood – clean freshwater – is being kept broken in favor of sugarcane, flying in the face of science, facts, and common sense. For the cartel to get water when it wants it and drainage when it wants it, everyone and everything else has become expendable.
Big Sugar has hijacked the people’s water and our political process. From local and state government to the halls of Congress, there are two camps. Those who will take on the status quo and those who are beholden to it.
On the west coast of Florida, in GOP-rich territory, Big Sugar controls most of the Republican politicians. On the east coast, in DEM-rich territory, Big Sugar controls most of the Democratic politicians. This is how the sugar cartel works to rig the system, always having a side to go to.
Nowhere in the state is there a starker example than in Palm Beach County.
This week we highlight an Everglades champion. His name is Brian Mast, and he’s a U.S. Congressman representing Florida’s 18th, covering Martin, St. Lucie, and Palm Beach counties.
First elected in 2016, Congressman Mast made halting the discharges from Lake O to both coasts of Florida a top priority. Challenging sugar’s henchmen and footdraggers – from the old regime at the South Florida Water Management District to the halls of Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Mast has been smart and relentless.
This two-term congressman is moving the needle, garnering the respect of both his colleagues and constituents, Republicans and Democrats alike. Brian Mast is an Everglades superstar.
Now, you can just imagine the ire he has drawn from the sugar cartel.
That ire plays out in many ways. New fake groups are formed by sugar’s henchmen to attack him. New red herrings, false narratives, and distractions fly from Big Sugar’s PR machines. But one of the most disturbing is the attacks he endures from other elected officials, who wittingly or unwittingly play the game with and for sugar.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley, long beholden to sugar interests and likely looking for a higher office as she’s term limited out of her county commission seat, has ramped up attacks on Congressman Mast’s work.
Brian Mast is a Republican. Melissa McKinley is a Democrat. Brian is a part of the new guard taking on the biggest challenge of this generation. Melissa is hanging on to the past, defending the indefensible.
Which side do you think we come down on? Which side do you?
At the heart of the Trust’s mission, we work to hold politicians accountable. We don’t care which political party they represent – neither do the Everglades. And we will never ever sugar-coat it.
Next week, we'll highlight another Everglades superstar: State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami).
Stay tuned and stick with us!
"There is a lot of misinformation flying around out there about Lake Okeechobee and the health of our waterways. Now, it’s time to set the record straight. The #LakeOFactCheck video series analyzes the claims being made about Lake Okeechobee and water management in Florida." - Congressman Brian Mast
Sign up to watch all of Brian's fact checks and get new ones here.
"Congressman Brian Mast is back with a second attempt to force the Army Corps to consider the impact discharges from Lake O — often laden with harmful blue-green algae — have on human health before opening the locks.”
Changing a broken system is a lot harder than it looks. The willingness to go there, coupled with a relentless fire in the belly to solve the problem, is what it takes. Brian Mast has both.
Record spending and work at warp speed, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law today an agency move that was a part of his Executive Order in January, and was ushered through the Legislature by SenatorRob Bradley (on hand today with the Governor) that will give teeth to DEP to go after criminal polluters of our waterways. More to come!
"On June 3 it was announced that, with the assistance of a federal grant, the state will begin next phase of lifting portions of US 41 (Tamiami) that have impeded the flow of freshwater in the southern end of the system for 91 years. The next day, SFWMD moved to begin clearing land for the construction of a 240,000-acre-ft reservoir in the EAA." This is what real progress looks like, folks.
We know what the Fanjuls of Florida Crystals and the heirs of CSMott of US Sugar want – obedient politicians.
Here's what they don't want – educated, well-informed Floridians capable of critical thinking.
“A test of toxins in Lake Okeechobee returned results more than twice what’s considered safe by the US EPA, raising concerns from scientists about swimming and eating fish from the warming waters.”
"High volume releases of nutrient-rich and blue-green algae-laden water from Lake O last summer led to massive algae blooms along the Caloosahatchee River, in local canals, and in the river’s estuary. And this all happened as a prolonged red tide bloom persisted along the coast.
Now, three conservation groups are suing three federal agencies for what they say is a failure to address harm to Florida’s endangered species being caused by the releases.”
The NFL goes GREEN with the Everglades Foundation! OCEANS to EVERGLADES is a partnership between the NFL, Everglades Foundation, Ocean Conservancy and Lonely Whale Foundation, leveraging the Super Bowl platform to engage the community in environmental efforts and leaving a lasting sustainable legacy beyond Super Bowl LIV in 2020.