“War–” US Sugar and The Everglades Trust, SLR/IRL


File photo, WWII bomber. (Public photo.)
File photo, WWII bomber, “flying over fields”. (Public photo.)

I must begin by saying  that my recent blogging has been somewhat “uncomfortable” for me, as I was raised to act like a “lady,” and recently I feel more like a fighter pilot.

Politics sometimes makes “being a lady” a difficult goal, so I do apologize to anyone, such as my mother, who may be offended by my relentless “fighting” blog posts recently regarding the importance of  state purchase of the 46,800 acres of option lands for sale by US Sugar Corporation.

As a warning, mom and others, today’s blog post will be more of the same, as a “type of war” has started.

—-A war of information. A war to influence our governor and legislature….a war over how to use Florida’s Amendment 1 monies….a war to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, Caloosahatchee, Everglades, and drinking water for South Florida, or just to keep the “status-quo…”

In order to explain this, I will share what has happened over the past few days…

Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. (SFWMD map, 2010)
Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. US Sugar and the state are resisting the purchase of  these lands with Amd. 1 monies…(SFWMD map, 2010.)

On Wednesday, February 18th, Eric Draper, the Executive Director of Florida Audubon, (http://fl.audubon.orgwas quoted in a “Sunshine State News” piece as saying (regarding the flow way south) “—it will never happen, it’s pie in the sky…”

Knowing Mr Draper and knowing that words in news articles often are twisted for effect, I wrote Audubon immediately asking about the situation.  Mr Draper replied with an apologetic email and a letter he had written that day to Governor Scott in support of purchasing the option lands. See below:

Eric Draper, Executive Director of Florida Audubon. (http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-06-26/news/sfl-about-eric-draper-south-florida-100_1_land-conservation-florida-house-florida-legislature)
Eric Draper, Executive Director of Florida Audubon. (http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-06-26/news/sfl-about-eric-draper-south-florida-100_1_land-conservation-florida-house-florida-legislature)

Dear Ed and Jacqui, (Commissioner, Ed Fielding not my husband Ed!) 🙂

In my effort to promote the idea of an EAA reservoir and distinguish that from the hard to explain Plan Six I unwittingly played into a storyline not my own. I found the story confusing and somewhat unrelated to what I was trying to say. Nevertheless, I am sure that folks are disappointed to hear me discount the flow way and that was not my word or intent. As an 30 year advocate for the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee I feel strongly about moving water south. Audubon will continue to work on getting the US Sugar land purchased for the purpose of establishing a CERP reservoir.

I apologize to both of you and to all the supporters of the idea of Plan Six and a flow way.

Eric Draper
Executive Director


Email from Eric Draper regarding article and quote. (2-18-15)
Email from Eric Draper regarding article and quote. (2-18-15)


Eric Draper, Florida Audubon's,  letter to Governor Scott. (2-18-15)
Eric Draper, Florida Audubon’s, letter to Governor Scott. (2-18-15.)

I believe Mr Draper did not mean for his words as they were reported. Speaking with the media is sometimes tricky business and anyone who speaks to them long enough will feel that he or she has been “misquoted.”  Mr Draper’s  work is one of the main reasons Amendment 1 passed in the first place, and you can see by his letter above to Governor Scott he supports buying the option lands.

OK, one bomb down…Two to go….

So then on Saturday, Feb 21st, I get an email from my Florida League of Cities colleague,  Teresa Heitman,  who is a councilwoman for the City of Naples. She simply forwarded me an email she had received from US Sugar Corporation. You can click on the image below to read it, but basically it says: “Send the Water South?” “Not so fast”…and gives three articles supporting why the option lands should not be purchased,  why the “enviros”are nuts, and  one of the articles quoted is the one quoting  Eric Draper that I mentioned above!

As an aside, and as an elected official myself, I must say that I find it in poor taste that this email was sent from US Sugar Corporation directly to an elected official. Maybe Council- woman Heitman is on a “mailing list” for US Sugar, but this seems doubtful to me.

How many other elected officials were sent this email and why is US Sugar sending it out?

On the other hand, it kind of made me feel good when I saw it–like they were threatened by the grassroots river movement here along the St Lucie  River/Indian River Lagoon and the Everglades in general. Kind of ironic to think that US Sugar would need to influence elected officials with direct emails; seems like they already do that with everything else they do like spending millions of dollars on lobbying politicians…….sending this “tiny” email makes them look kind of desperate….

—obviously we have more influence than we realize….


Also, the thought of a “David and Goliath” fight  is very appealing to me, as in that story, as we all know, David wins…

US Sugar email 2-21-15.
US Sugar email forwarded to me 2-22-15.
US Sugar Corperation
US Sugar Corporation heading on email.

Below is part of the email from US Sugar, just so you can see it. I also made sure the hyperlinks worked in case you want to read the “email bombs” being sent out.

Buy the land? Send the water south? Not so fast…

Dear Teresa,

In case you missed it, please find below highlights from a few recent articles discussing the constraints, risks and concerns with purchasing the U.S. Sugar land option to create a flow-way to send water south to the Everglades:

You can access the articles in their entirety by clicking on the hyperlinked titles.
1. Officials to enviros: Buying land, moving lake water south has risks

By: Christine Stapleton, Palm Beach Post
February 12, 2015

South Florida Water Management District officials made no commitments to several dozen environmental activists who begged them Thursday to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration, and for the first time they laid out the hurdles and risks they face in making such a buy. (http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/frustrated-enviros-buy-land-to-clean-everglades-be/nj82R/)

2. Speaker Crisafulli: Don’t buy land south of Lake O

By: Christine Stapleton, Palm Beach Post
February 18, 2015

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, says he opposes the controversial land deal that would enable the South Florida Water Management District to purchase 46,800 acres of land south of the lake at fair market value. (http://postonpolitics.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2015/02/18/speaker-crisafulli-dont-buy-land-south-of-lake-o/)

3. Eric Draper: Lake Okeechobee to Everglades Flowway ‘Will Never Happen’
By: Nancy Smith, Sunshine State News
February 18, 2015

Sending water south from Lake Okeechobee to meander naturally through the Everglades — the “flowway” endorsed by the Everglades Foundation as the only way — “will never happen, it’s pie in the sky,” admitted one of Florida’s leading voices on environmental policy. (http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/environmentalist-lake-okeechobee-everglades-flowway-will-never-happen)

——–From an email from US Sugar Corporation sent out 2-22-15.


Two bombs down, one more to go! 


OK, so tonight, Sunday, February 22nd, a friend contacted me asking: “Jacqui, did you see the commercial? The “buy the land” commercial!” I said I had not, and read the link he sent.

Commercial for Saving Florida's Waters, purchase the US Sugar option lands. (2-22-15.)
Commercial for Saving Florida’s Waters, purchase the US Sugar option lands. (2-22-15.)

See commercial here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8HmRTY2OI0)

Wow. What a commercial! A very big bomb!

The  60-second TV spot starts airing  2-22-15 and  sponsored by the  Everglades Trust (http://www.evergladestrust.org) is running on cable and broadcast stations in Tampa Bay, Orlando, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee.

The scrip reads: 

“Decades of uncontrolled pollution in the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee is endangering our health, killing our wildlife and threatening our drinking water.

Four years ago, the sugar industry signed a binding written contract to sell us land to clean up their pollution, and for a reservoir to protect our water.

It’s been called the most critical piece of land ever for Everglades restoration. Last November, 75% of Floridians voted YES to Amendment 1, making vital land purchases for the Everglades a part of the Florida Constitution.

Now, it’s up to the Governor to back it and the Legislature to fund it.

Call the Governor, call your legislator, and tell them to buy the land. Build the reservoir. And save Florida’s drinking water. Now, while there’s still time.

Sign the petition here SAVING FLORIDA WATER: (http://savingflwater.com)

Article Tampa Bay Blog: (http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/a-new-tv-campaign-presses-for-purchase-of-us-sugar-land/2218650)

So I think that this is a war of sorts. Between US Sugar and the Everglades Trust. For most readers of my blog interested in saving the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, our ideology is that of the Everglades Trust….

In closing, when you have some extra time, please write to Governor Scott below, and sign the petition above, asking to support the purchase of option lands. And feel good about the influence you are already having in the war to save the Indian River Lagoon!

Write Governor Scott here: (http://www.flgov.com/contact-governor/)

Colorized version of file photo, bomber WWII. (Public .)
Colorized version of file photo, bomber over farm lands, WWII. (Public .)


29 thoughts on ““War–” US Sugar and The Everglades Trust, SLR/IRL

  1. Writing for several magazines, I am familiar with this misinformation and manipulation technique that happened with Mr. Draper. It’s not a mistake, but deliberate and it’s an insidious form of negative PR. What’s wonderful is that because of your relationships in the community, you can get to the bottom of things and shed light into that murky tunnel. You keep fighting the good fight Jacqui!

  2. The quote is ‘well behaved women seldom make history’. I think you are still well behaved! So, keep making history. And I agree with the poor taste comment.
    My mother was the ultimate Southern Belle and she would have been proud of you!

  3. Thank you to my Facebook Friends for their comments this morning!
    Linda Aileen Miller, Eileen DuClau, Lisa Jefferson and 3 others like this.
    1 share

    Lisa Jefferson Beautifully written as always.Nancy Smith from Sunshine State News is a Scott tool!The Everglades Trust video is great.I just wish more people,especially people south of Martin County on the coast,who don’t have to deal with the poisonous releases, would understand this does effect them & their water supply,too.
    21 mins · Edited · Unlike · 2

    Linda Aileen Miller Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch though we are years apart, I was raised in the ‘be a lady’ & ‘seen & not heard’ generation also. Thank God for the educated, intelligent, caring women in this world who have found their voices and are brave enough to stand stro…See More

    19 mins · Edited · Unlike · 3

    Eileen DuClau Ljnda Aileen Miller thank you for sharing we have been there and done that, it was the way it was.This is the way it is today. ” THIS is one of those times. This is about changing the future for a new generation. Carry on. No apology necessary.” You forgot to add your name to the list. We are all River Warriors and will not quit.
    12 hrs · Unlike · 2

    Linda Aileen Miller Actually, Eileen DuClau I did say ‘writers like you & I’ including myself there near the beginning of the list. And thank you for that note. I published my first book in 2010. The waves of repercussions from my own mom, who is a lovely woman, just as Jacqui’s mom is, were strong. So I have a sense of what Jacqui means. Yes! This is the time to speak the truth on all levels!!!
    11 hrs · Edited · Like · 1

    Eileen DuClau Linda sorry I missed it
    11 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Cristina Maldonado Great blog, jtl.
    11 hrs · Unlike · 2

    Fred Mars Apology??? Give’em Hell, Jacqui!!!
    10 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Chas Payson Thanks Jacqui, I’ll be sending my letters to the appropriate parties tonight
    9 hrs · Unlike · 2

    Keri West Life on Earth literally depends on us fighting. We don’t have anymore time to fool around and play niceties. It would not be appropriate or helpful to cower and be passive. Apathy is going to kill us, fighting the good fight for our lives is the only chance we have. Thank you Jacqui for fighting. Love you!
    9 hrs · Unlike · 4

    John Ritter Squeaky wheel 101
    9 hrs · Unlike · 2

    Wendy Yebra-Golin Well said! It just shows passion and dedication to worthy cause. Keep up the fight!
    8 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Kenny Hinkle Jr It is and has been a war. I think this time the people have realized that fact. Great blog!!!!
    7 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Jay Honan It has long been know that both Biz Pac and Sunshine State News are not real “news” sources. They are they are little more than propaganda sites used to disseminate their corporate “sponsors’ spin. Nancy Smith from Sunshine State News is especially not…See More
    5 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Crystal Mills Lucas I loved today’s blog. Dont worry about acting like a “lady”, worry about acting like a concerned citizen
    4 hrs · Like · 1

    Mike Glynn Jacqui, you always are a fine example of a classy, charming and intelligent lady. Your writings and actions are inspiring to me and others. I know before a year and a half ago I wasn’t active in this battle. Thank you for your fight in this war of right vs wrong!
    29 minutes ago · Like

    Brian Sullivan Someone has to carry the flag into battle!
    22 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Thanks Brian Sullivan!
    22 hrs · Like

    Katherine Casey Goodman Margaret Thatcher was a ” lady” & she was a fighter in the trenches ! You have the power of your convictions . You’re the best !
    21 hrs · Like · 2

    Sandi Gladden Abraham You go girl we are all proud of you and your dedication !!
    9 mins · Like

  4. Thank you for providing truthful coverage of these issues. We are indeed in the fight of our lives, not only for the St. Lucie River, Caloosahatchee River, and Indian River Lagoon, but the Everglades, Florida Bay, and the future of South Florida. Our foes are powerful and our elected officials often portray a stunning lack of knowledge of the situation at hand. The best way to bring about change is to relentlessly keep Lake O water issues in the public eye, for as long as it takes, and no matter who it offends.

  5. It’s become nearly impossible to be a “gentleman” in this ongoing “war” too, Jacqui. Especially when engaging, or trying to, with the elected officials who repeatedly misrepresent us!

  6. Reading Eric Draper’s remarks seemed perfectly clear to me: A return to the natural flow way south that so many of us would like to see just is not going to happen, but we must have land to build a reservoir….which is what Eric Eikenberg also says. I agree with Nat Reed, too, that taking the most fertile land in the U.S. out of production probably is not wise, but there’s other, “worn-out” land in the EAA that would be suitable. And I agree with Kevin Henderson that unless we exercise our option on this land, we lose all leverage to get land anywhere else.Our first mistake was not making sure that a reservoir was part of CERP, because now its construction is not part of any plan, but if the University of Florida’s study confirms that a reservoir is needed, then we have the basis to go after the Dept. of Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers to get it built. So, we made one mistake. We cannot allow ourselves to make the second one–allowing this option to expire without either purchasing the land outright or leveraging it to get what we need.

    1. Barbara good to see you tonight at the City of Stuart Commission meeting. I do very much appreciate your comments and way of looking at things. Thank you and please keep commenting. Thanks for reading my blog.

  7. From the “big bag of constraints” that water mangers and legislators continually pull from, what do you suppose the most daunting roadblock to a Flowway is, Barbara?

  8. I guess malarky is a good term to describe the nonsense sponsored by Big Sugar (Bull Sugar) to obstruct and prevent the flowway that was endorsed in detail by ALL the independent scientists more than 20 years ago. And for our state senator to suddenly claim he’s been fighting for moving clean water south is triple malarky.

  9. Jacqui! Thanks for writing this! US Sugar is the only thing standing in the way of buying the land. It is incredible how powerful they are in state politics, and how much they abuse this power to hurt Florida.

    I hope you take the next leap, and shine a spotlight on the politicians and PR folks that receive money from Big Sugar, who work to confuse and distract citizens with side projects that sound good but won’t stop the discharges or help the Everglades much.

    It’s been going on too long! Thanks for hitting people with a dose of truth.

  10. Thank you Jacqui..we can always count on you to not only give us a “birds eye view” of the situation..but also always honest and caring ..and very informative articles that can only be written by someone who loves the river and actually has a family history right here….thanks again …and again

  11. I am glad to have been able to present my views of the IRL situation. I wish I had found your blog a year sooner before so much momentum was built up to send the water south. As you know I do NOT support using aluminium sulfate in a resivour for drinking water. This will make the water in the IRL more acidic which is the root of the problem now. Their are also real health issues. I allways drink Zephyrhills spring water. Florida has the best drinking water and it is found underground filtered by hundreds of feet of sand.

  12. Jacqui,
    You are a force to be reckoned with. Take your platform, knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm to (at least) the next (political) level. You would show that these local issues which day-to-day affect your waters, affect the environment of all of South Florida and all of the State. Even if not elected, by running your platform and presentations would show Floridians how our enviroment is hostage to Big Sugar, big money and slanted press.

    Russell Henderson

    1. Thank you so much and if there is anyone that would inspire me to go to the next level it is you, Uncle Russ. Thank you so much for your comment and for making my day and for putting seeds that will grow in my mind….as you ALWAYS have. 🙂

  13. I just saw the new tv ad from the Everglades Trust last night (Tampa Bay Area- Brighthouse cable) and jumped up out of my seat and yelled something like “Halle-freakin’-lula!” Scared the dogs and hubby. Thanks for the link to the trust – I am sending them money!

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