By Eve Samples
November 9, 2017
An open letter to the Florida Chamber of Commerce:
Business leaders of Florida,
It’s great that you’re talking about water. You got together in Tallahassee on Wednesday to discuss the future water needs of 1,000 people a day who are moving to Florida.
It won’t be easy to accommodate the 6 million new Floridians expected by 2030.
Our water is in distress right now. Consider:
- State officials issued 13 avoid-water advisories for beaches and rivers earlier this month.
- Algae is blooming in the waters of Florida Bay.
- Billions of gallons of polluted freshwater from Lake Okeechobee are being dumped in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, where toxic algae made international headlines last year.
- Sewage leaks recently fouled the northern Indian River Lagoon.
All of this, just in time for peak tourist season.
Bad water is bad for business. You get that.
But Floridians need Florida Chamber leaders to be more honest about the solutions.
On Wednesday, your president and CEO Mark Wilson stood in a conference room in Tallahassee and preached the importance of heeding “water science, not political science.”
That sounded reasonable — until Wilson wildly exaggerated the size of a proposed reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area, calling it “a second Lake Okeechobee.” The Chamber also debuted a “research video” Wednesday that included a fisherman from Clewiston disparaging the reservoir as “not a good solution” (without citing science to back up his claims).
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