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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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PALM BEACH POST: Harmful Lake Okeechobee releases to increase

PALM BEACH POST: September 15, 2016. Written by Kimberly Miller.

Harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the fragile St. Lucie Estuary will increase as the lake swells to its highest level all summer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday it will dump 525,000 gallons per minute of lake water into the St. Lucie Estuary, an 80 percent increase from the current discharge amounts. 

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NEWS-PRESS: Corps to increase flows from Lake O into the Caloosahatchee

NEWS-PRESS: September 15, 2016. Written by Staff.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will increase flows from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee during the next week.

The lake stage was 15.36 feet on Thursday, up 0.26 feet over the past week. Army Corps protocols say the lake should be kept between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet above sea level in order to protect people and property around the lake.

The Hoover Dike surrounds the lake, protecting the towns to the south from flooding.

“We expect the lake to be in the 15.5 foot range by this time next week,” said Candida Bronson, acting operations division chief for the Jacksonville District.. “At that level, we increase inspections of the dike to ensure continued safe operation. We still have seven weeks remaining in the wet season. Even without a significant weather event, we expect that the lake will be above 16 feet by the end of November.”

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WPTV: Martin County residents: CEPP helps, but not nearly enough to stop harmful discharges

WPTV: September 15, 2016. Written by Alyssa Hyman.

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved its water resources bill. Included in that was the Central Everglades Planning Project. The plan includes a series of projects designed to get more water from Lake Okeechobee flowing south toward the Everglades.

While many say the project is a step in the right direction, it will not have a dramatic impact on the Lake O discharges going east and west.

The Corps releases water from the lake to manage the lake levels, concerned that if the lake gets too high the dike around it could be compromised.

However, many families on the Treasure Coast blame the discharges for causing the toxic algae that invaded their waterways this year. 

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TCPALM: 'Glades lives matter' and land buy are not mutually exclusive

TCPALM: September 14, 2016. Written by Editorial.

It was naive, perhaps, to expect that state Sen. Joe Negron's plan to buy some 60,000 acres south of Lake Okeechobee for water storage would be universally embraced.

For as obviously necessary as it may seem to residents of the Treasure Coast, the prospect of another huge chunk of land lost to water storage is bound to be controversial in the farming communities south of the lake, where residents may fear the plan could result in lost jobs and a weakened industry in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

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EYE ON MIAMI: "Glades Lives Matter" to Big Sugar, except when they don't...

EYE ON MIAMI: September 14, 2016. Written by Gimleteye.

Big Sugar is in the midst of a multi-faceted counterattack against the civic uprising in Florida triggered by massive pollution of Florida's waterways in the winter of 2016. It took the results of the GOP presidential primary -- and the dismal showing of its key spokesman, Senator Marco Rubio, who garnered scarcely 15% of the Republican vote -- to kick the billionaires into gear. Today, they are most certainly revving all their engines in anticipation of the November election where protecting Marco Rubio and down-ballot hirelings like state representative Matt Caldwell is Big Sugar's primary concern.

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TCPALM: Florida must acquire land for Lake O flow to protect rivers, estuaries (Letter)

TCPALM: September 14, 2016. Written by Nathaniel Reed.

Where is the water coming from to be discharged out the St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee River?

Who is responsible to enforce reductions of nutrients off private lands? Where is the Department of Environmental Regulation? 

Taxpayers foot costs for the stormwater treatment areas which have been cleansing Everglades Agricultural Area drainage — not Lake Okeechobee polluted water all season.

Our current strategy, which wastes billions of gallons of this precious resource to the east and the west, threatens our water supply.

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