SFWMD: Public servants, serving the public.

Last week, at the monthly SFWMD Governing Board meeting, a cast of sugar and ag characters lined up at the podium, urging that the Board move forward with 10 aquifer storage and recovery "ASR" wells north of Lake O. They led with choreographed, false claims that these ASR wells could help mitigate the need for discharges when the rains come.

Thankfully, the District board members were cautious. They asked questions that must be answered, though their hands may likely be tied by a sugar-controlled Legislature.

To be crystal clear, 10 wells wouldn’t put a dent in the problem. Each well could possibly capture 5 million gallons of water a day. Multiply that by 10 and you have 50 million gallons a day.

Remember, this is ostensibly to lower the levels of water heading south into the lake during high rain events, when the lake fills up too quickly – so much so that the Army Corps is “forced” to heave toxic, polluted water to both coasts of Florida.

Keep in mind that under these exact circumstances, the Corps would be discharging upwards of three billion gallons a day to the east and west. That’s BILLION with a B.

With a straight face, these cads tried to convince us that it’s a worthy expenditure of $50 million of taxpayers’ money to hold 1/60th of the daily deluge being forced to the coasts. Yes, this is the same group that, without any support from the environmental community, quietly got these wells funded under the guise of protecting the estuaries - oh, and out of the goodness of their hearts.

It’s likely not coincidental that those 10 wells at the cost of $50 million, courtesy of taxpayers, would make a nice backup water supply for agriculture north of the lake. Also, coincidently, sugar is now grown north of the lake. 

Instead of funding their own water supply, Big Sugar is relying on the largess of taxpayers with an assist from the Legislature. And why not? They coopted Lake O and turned it into a cesspool of filth for their own profit. And par for the course, while they take, take, take they've fought every single effort to address the water issues plaguing Florida's east and west coasts, while starving the Everglades of the freshwater they need to survive.

Perhaps Senate President Bill Galvano didn't intend for this $50M from the taxpayers to benefit the sugar cartel. We'd love to give him the benefit of the doubt, but we weren’t born yesterday.

This gift to Big Sugar will likely be rammed down the Governing Board’s throats. It’d sure be a lot easier if we could swallow this malarkey with clean water.

We’re in for a bumpy next few years. Stick with us!

Kimberly Mitchell
Executive Director 

This is not good. 

WPTV: Researchers say high concentrations of toxic algae back in Lake Okeechobee

As if Big Sugar didn’t serve up enough misery on our waterways and Everglades, their most stunning betrayal can be found in the very people who live in the “Company Towns” of the Glades. Generations of families have endured sugarcane preharvest burns, pesticides sprayed liberally on them from crop dusters, chronic poverty and unemployment.

Two international, billion-dollar corporations parked out there – and this is what the people endure.

PALM BEACH POST: Cockroaches, rat droppings, mold: Glades family’s horrid living conditions

Most of the 1.5 million people who surround the Lake Worth Lagoon – known as the “intercoastal” by locals – have no idea of its history, its inhabitants and what keeps it struggling. But they should.

With water as clear as Yoo-hoo, this once sparkling freshwater lake deserves our attention. We are grateful to the Lake Worth Waterkeeper for their inspired work and invite all to learn more here.

It will take decades to fix what ails the Mississippi River. Florida could turn things around in a few short years with enough political will.

“Fishermen are finding dead dolphins floating in water covered in painful skin lesions that scientists have linked to freshwater exposure. One fisherman reported finding a mother dolphin pushing her dead baby along in the water.”

HUFF POST: There’s An Environmental Disaster Unfolding In The Gulf of Mexico

The cast of sugar and ag characters lined up, urging ASR wells north of Lake O as a “solution” to the discharges. Ten wells wouldn’t put a dent in the problem.

But 10 wells costing the taxpayers $50 million would make a nice backup water supply for sugar and ag. Coincidently, sugar is now grown north of the lake. Nice try, boys.

NAPLES NEWS: South Florida Water Management District debates ASR wells for Lake Okeechobee project

Way to go, Charlie!

SFWMD board member Charlie Martinez, a former developer, asked district staff to pay close attention to this road extension. Martinez worries it could interfere with ongoing work to fix the Everglades. Or worse. "Developers will come, and then we're going to have other issues to deal with.”

WLRN: 836/Dolphin Expressway Extension Draws Scrutiny From New Water Managers

After years of witnessing water quality changes firsthand, these teens are now heading off to college with plans to pursue environmental studies with the hope they can be part of the change they are currently advocating for.

“Our generation should experience the same clean water you all experienced as kids,” said Olivia Siegel.

WPTV: River Kidz continue their fight for clean water

“Harmful algae blooms have become a top water polluter, fueled by agricultural fertilizers washing into lakes and oceans. Federal and state programs (taxpayers) have spent billions of dollars on voluntary cost-sharing payments to farmers to help prevent nutrient runoff, yet the problem is worsening in many places, like Ohio and Florida.”

AP NEWS: Farm runoff and the worsening algae plague

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