For sugar giant’s West Palm Beach Headquarters, the chickens of contaminated drinking water have come home to roost.
Congratulations to Florida Crystals and US Sugar, the proud parents of today’s sprawling, toxic 500-square mile cyanobacteria bloom in our 700-square mile Lake O. Yes, there are aunts and uncles of industrial agriculture in the Kissimmee chain of lakes, and distant second cousins twice removed of agricultural runoff inputs east and west of Lake O, but there is only one Big Sugar daddy.
As inevitable as night following day, the historic, never-before-seen levels of cyanobacteria toxins in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach’s drinking water has triggered Florida Crystal’s PR machine. Yesterday, West Palm Beach residents reported phone calls from opinion-seeking pollsters asking if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Florida Crystals. If your answer was “unfavorable” they asked you if “sustainability” practices would change your opinion. They also asked how long you’ve lived in West Palm Beach. That seems like an odd question, doesn’t it? Here’s why they’re asking you.
If you’ve lived here since the 1970s, you’d know the sugarcane fields that ring the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee grew from less than 50,000 acres to over 500,000 acres today.
If you’ve lived here since the 1970s, you’d know Florida Crystals and US Sugar aka Big Sugar, have back-pumped the polluted water from their massive cane fields into Lake O and the Everglades for decades – with the blessings of past Florida Governors, Water Management Districts and DEP Secretaries alike.
It wasn’t until they were sued in federal court that dumping straight into the Everglades was curtailed and back-pumping into the Lake would happen only under rare circumstances. But the damage, the never-say-die legacy pollution, had already been done. The barn door was legally (partially) closed long after the cyanobacteria bloom herd of horses had galloped away.
Like a Frankenstein monster seeking its creator, the toxic bacteria has traveled to the drinking water supply of the City of West Palm Beach, headquarters of Florida Crystals and backyard to US Sugar.
And one of them is calling around to find out how many villagers in West Palm Beach know what a pitchfork is and how to use it.
Right now, the folks in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach – and all Floridians – have the rare opportunity to beat Big Sugar at their game. The Army Corps is asking for the public’s input on how Lake O will be managed for the next decade.
Please weigh in – click on the link below – and please continue to 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
Discovery of toxin produced by algae prompts water advisory for West Palm, Palm Beach, South Palm | The Palm Beach Post
If this doesn’t show the politicians in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County that the sugar-driven status quo will break their backs, we don’t know what will. The days of managing Lake O to appease Big Sugar need to come to a grinding, screeching halt.
West Palm shuts down canal to protect drinking water but Lox River may be left hanging | The Palm Beach Post
The City of West Palm Beach shut down taps flowing into its main supply of drinking water after finding algae in canals coming from Lake Okeechobee in early May. Unfortunately, it was too late.
Groups push for reduction of harmful discharges from Lake O | Wink News
Millions of Floridians vs Big Sugar. In the battle to fix this purposefully broken water management system for Lake O, it boils down to that. Add your voice to ours to demand the needs of the many speak louder than the desire of Florida Crystals and US Sugar. We make it simple with our pre-written email to the Army Corps.
Stakeholders across Florida speak with one voice to the Army Corps | Captains for Clean Water
With various stakeholders coming together in a sign-on letter to the Corps—requesting a specific, modified proposed LOSOM plan to implement—we’re demanding that the new lake management plan strives to send the maximum amount of water to the Everglades, Everglades National Park, and Florida Bay during the dry season and that it eliminates harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and the Lake Worth Lagoon.
The Everglades are dying. An alliance between Biden and Republicans could save them | The Guardian
“Efforts to restore the Everglades’ unique ecosystem hinge on Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest body of freshwater. The lake has been used as a dumping ground for farmland pollutants for decades.”
Everglades restoration efforts also hinge on partisans rallying around one common cause. Right now, we’re watching that play out from the Governor’s Office to the White House.
Florida Water Quality Outlook 2021: Brace for Impact | Flylords Magazine
“Brace for Impact: Toxic algal blooms are taking hold in Lake O – more than 500-square miles of it – and the conditions for a devastating summer are present. The solution is known and has been known for decades: send more water south and hold the polluters accountable.