Big Sugar’s slime flows north to the Capitol

By Carl Hiaasen
January 15, 2017
Miami Herald

The paid soldiers in Gov. Rick Scott’s war on the environment are aligning to block state efforts to purchase any farm lands south of Lake Okeechobee, which means Floridians can look forward to more summers of slime.

Nightmare algae blooms, vile and job-killing, are destined to be one of Scott’s legacies. Next June, when the St. Lucie estuary again turns puke-green and the oyster beds die, the light-footed governor will be nowhere in the vicinity.

 

Neither will the tourists.

The blooms are caused by billions of gallons of fresh water that are pumped from Lake O during the rainy season. Loaded with phosphorus and other pollutants from surrounding areas, the lake discharges are mainlined toward both Florida coasts, bringing ruin to saltwater habitats.

Senate President Joe Negron, who lives in Stuart — basically Slime Central — wants the Lake O outflows diverted, cleaned in reservoirs and sent south to the Everglades.

The plan, supported by many scientists and conservation groups, would require purchasing 60,000 acres from agriculture. Only eight years ago, U.S. Sugar embraced such a concept, calling it a “monumental opportunity to save the Everglades” and struck a deal to unload 187,000 acres.

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