Eve Samples: Buy the land south of Lake Okeechobee — don’t buy the excuses

By Eve Samples
January 13, 2017
TC Palm

Summer of 2016

State lawmakers have every reason to pull the trigger on buying land south of Lake Okeechobee this year. These are the biggies:

  • Toxic algae is fresh in our memories: It choked the St. Lucie River last summer, following months of polluted discharges from Lake O. It was one of the worst blooms in decades.
  • The new Florida Senate president, Joe Negron, is from Stuart — ground zero for the toxic algae — and has proposed a land buy to prevent such devastation from happening again and again. 
  • Money is available: Voters approved Amendment 1 in 2014 specifically to fund conservation projects. It’s expected to raise $10 billion over 20 years.
  • The Legacy Florida bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott last year requires the state to prioritize spending on projects that reduce Lake O discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
  • Independent scientists, including leaders at the University of Florida’s Water Institute, agree more land is needed to curtail pollution of the estuaries.

Seeing all those reasons, it should be a no-brainer, a slam dunk, insert-your-cliche here done deal, right?

Wrong.

The powerful sugar industry opposes the deal, so it’s looking like an uphill battle.

To continue reading, please click on the following link: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/columnists/eve-samples/2017/01/13/eve-samples-buy-land-south-of-lake-okeechobee-dont-buy-excuses/96497642/

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