Around 9 pm on the night after polls closed and Floridians focused on election results, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) inserted into their agenda a lease agreement for New Hope Sugar Co., a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, on land that was earmarked for the EAA reservoir. The existing lease was not to expire until March of 2019, yet the board unanimously approved it in their meeting the next day.
On the same day, the SFWMD voted to vacate the Federal Decree requiring minimum water quality levels on waters being sent to the Miccosukee lands and Everglades National Park.
At worst, they broke state law, requiring published notices of “intention to lease.” At best, they showed a total lack of transparency. Either way, their actions were another example of a breach of public trust as the SFWMD continues to manage South Florida’s Waters as an irrigation system for the sugar industry at the expense of Floridians.
Please let the SFWMD board members know they have once again broken your trust to benefit the sugar industry at the expense of the will of the people of Florida.
Click to Email the SFWMD Board NOW!
Prefer to call the board members? Here are their direct lines:
J. Timothy Beirnes, Inspector General (561) 682-6398
Federico Fernandez, Chairman (561) 682-6262
Melanie Peterson, Vice-Chair (561) 682-6262
Sam Accursio (561) 682-6262
Rick Barber (561) 682-6262
Carlos Diaz (561) 682-6262
James J. Moran (561) 682-6262
Dan O’Keefe (561) 682-6262
Brandon Tucker (561) 682-6262
Jaime Weisinger (561) 682-6262
By the time you receive this, it is likely you have either already voted or decided who you will vote for tomorrow. Two and a half years ago, water quality was barely a blip on the awareness meter for most Floridians. In this election it has rocketed near the top of the list because millions of us can see the damage and feel the pain created through blatant disregard for our states water quality and the natural resources where we live, work and play.
The Now or Neverglades coalition has focused on the heart of South Florida’s water management problem, a blockage in the aorta of the Everglades system. A dynamic southern reservoir, filtration marshes and southern flow of clean water to reduce the toxic discharges from the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie Rivers is a must. It is imperative that we maintain focus on the EAA Project and that it not only receives the federal share of funding but also provides the intended benefits.
Over these past two years, I have had the privilege to meet and discuss with hundreds of supporters the many other factors that contribute to our water’s degradation. There is overwhelming agreement that we must stop pollution at its source. Polluters must pay their share. We must return to enforcement of water quality standards and spend the dollars Floridian’s overwhelmingly committed through Amendments as intended. Human health must be considered in the management of our waters. Our water management boards should be made of appointees not under Big Sugar’s influence, and decisions need to be made by qualified people based on science.
Regardless of Tuesday’s election outcomes, I hope and believe we will have made a difference in the future management direction for repairing Florida’s horrific man-made water fiasco. It will be up to all of us to see that those making decisions in the future are held accountable to fulfill their promises on making water quality a priority.