Deteriorating conditions on Lake Okeechobee, a red tide in the Gulf that has lingered for months, and looming threats of toxic and polluted discharges of hundreds of billions of gallons to both coasts of Florida is our reality today.
Lake O is two feet too high and is covered in toxic cyanobacteria, blue-green algae. Toxic blooms are showing up in places we’ve not seen before. Meanwhile, the Everglades are parched, having received little or no water for months.
Driving all of these circumstances is the sugar industry. A broken water management system, designed in the 1950s and being kept broken to appease two sugar corporations, is serving as a loaded gun pointed at both coasts of Florida. It’s déjà vu all over again.
Today, you have the opportunity to do something about it.
US Sugar and Florida Crystals have treated this important freshwater lake as their own private reservoir for decades. Only until recently have we had politicians willing and able to buck the status quo to do something about it.
Two years ago, Governor DeSantis and Congressman Brian Mast pushed the Army Corps to lower the lake ahead of the rainy season. Really, for the first time ever, the Corps utilized discretion and balance.
It worked. The coasts were spared from toxic discharges. The Everglades and all other users got the water they needed, but Big Sugar sued. You read this correctly – despite getting all the water they needed, U.S. Sugar sued the United States Army Corps of Engineers for deviating from the operating rules the sugar industry designed.
A new operational system manual is close to being finalized. Through LOSOM, the Army Corps will be locking in the water management rules for Lake O for the next decade.
Until the critical projects for Everglades restoration – like the EAA Reservoir – are built and operational, the only thing that can be done to lessen the odds of another year of economic and environmental disasters is a fair and flexible operational plan for Lake O.
Using their typical games and outsized influence, two well paid Big Sugar lobbyists are working to skew the new rules as you read this message. Their directive: Keep things exactly as they are.
But you can help stop sugar’s lobbyists and consultants in their tracks.
You get a say in all of this. The public can ask the Corps for all the stakeholders to be considered in the final document. And the public can demand the two sugar lobbyists’ proposal – “Alternative BB” – be immediately dismissed from further consideration.
So, send your email. We make it simple, just a click of a button. Catch up on the articles below that you may have missed. And stick with us!
URGENT CALL TO ACTION
The sugar industry is trying to hijack the public’s water — again. And this time, the public can stop them.
Another piece of the puzzle that is Everglades restoration is how the water in Lake Okeechobee is managed – and mismanaged. The Army Corps will be putting NEW RULES in place for the next decade or so. So, this is a very big deal. Big Sugar wins if the public is absent from the conversation. So, let them hear you ROAR. We make it quick and super easy!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
‘Impending disaster.’ Worsening algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee threatens coasts again | Miami Herald
To be clear, this is a Big-Sugar-made disaster in waiting. And just like clockwork, get ready for “It’s not our fault!” ads beaming across your TV screens from the sugar barons. The dirtier and more toxic the water, the more robust their ad buy. So, will this be the year Floridians have had enough?
Algae in Palm Beach County getting worse, residents say | WPTV
Toxic blooms are popping up early and throughout the watershed. So are the non-stop TV commercials from US Sugar and Florida Crystals.
A Blue-green nightmare | Captains for Clean Water
This video from the Captains explains it all in three and a half minutes. Pay close attention and then share with your neighbors and friends — this stuff is nasty, dangerous, and could be coming to a waterway near you.
Editorial: Manatees are dying in record numbers. Politicians’ contempt for environment is to blame | Orlando Sentinel
In South Florida, it is the sugar industry. In Central Florida, it is phosphate mines and developers. Large-scale, intensive agriculture generates the bulk of North Florida’s groundwater and surface water contamination. Toxic beaches and dead manatees are just the beginning.
Rinse and Repeat” Blue-green algae covers Lake Okeechobee | NBC-2
Who, what, why, where and when? This is one of the better articles we’ve read lately that explains and answers questions Floridians have about the man-made environmental and economic disaster we are staring down, yet again.
Call to action from Congressman Brian Mast
The public has not had a champion in the US Congress for the Everglades and clean water, willing to call out the sugar industry, in a long time. Congressman Brian Mast is the exception. Read about his plan to stop sugar’s stranglehold on our water and actions you can take to help.
DeSantis: Lake Okeechobee needs balanced water releases
Until critical restoration projects like the EAA Reservoir are up and running, balance of the system is crucial. There is not a person or organization – except the sugar industry and their minions – who disagree with this approach. The Public – 1, Big Sugar – 0