For decades, scientists, water managers and politicians of both political parties have known about the Everglades water woes: an oversupply in the wet season that gives rise to toxic blue-green algae and forces unnatural discharges to both coasts of Florida, followed by severe shortages in the dry season that cause deadly droughts and jeopardize the drinking water supply for 9 million Floridians.
It is that southward flow of freshwater through the Everglades that feeds and refreshes the Biscayne Aquifer, the underground water storage for everyone in South Florida and tens of millions of visitors each year. It is that flow of freshwater the Everglades need to survive.
For 30+ years, we have worked hard to get the most critical projects moving forward. And for 30+ years, the sugar industry has delayed progress, using politicians and bureaucrats at both the state and federal levels to manipulate and slow down the inevitable.
Two federally-subsidized sugar corporations – US Sugar and Florida Crystals – fund an entire cottage industry that makes a fortune keeping things broken. They spend tens of millions of dollars each year protecting the death grip they hold over the public’s water. They dole it out as political contributions to politicians and lavish monthly retainers on hundreds of lobbyists and consultants.
They also invest heavily in campaigns of misinformation. Astroturf agents, like South Florida Water Coalition and One Florida Foundation, sprout up. Online “news” outfits flood social media and legislators’ inboxes, like Sunshine State News and The Capitolist. Pay-to-play manipulators are rewarded handsomely to write “articles” or “reports” so the industry, and all their enablers, can circulate them as if they are legitimate.
It’s easy for them to peel off millions, as the federal sugar program hands them hundreds of millions of dollars – yes, you read that right, hundreds of millions of TAXPAYER and CONSUMERS’ dollars, each year. So, what’s $25 million a year among friends?
Meanwhile, one of our planet’s most remarkable and important asset is dying a slow, painful death.
Solving these problems for today and future generations requires serious solutions, not the rants of gadflies from contrived organizations speaking for the self-interests of two– Florida Crystals and US Sugar.
As quickly as they can dish it out, we are here to shine a bright light on it and call it out for what it is – rubbish. Funny thing about science, facts, and the Everglades Trust – we’re stubborn things and we aren’t going anywhere.
Stick with us!