Talking About It! Even If They Didn’t Let Us Talk! FL Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, SLR/IRL

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Dr Wendy Graham, UF

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Committee Members: Senator Bradley, Chair; Senator Book, Vice Chair; Senators Braynon, Hukill, Hutson. Mayfield, and Stewart

Yesterday, January 11th, Florida’s Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources met in Tallahassee. The Legislative Session has not formally started, but as most things in life, the most important stuff happens ahead of time….”in committee.”

The topic was “Discussion and testimony relating to the options for reducing harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and Everglades Restoration.”

This meeting is being held because of Senate President Joe Negrons’ proposal to buy 60,000 acres of land in the EAA south of Lake Okeechobee for a  Reservoir. file-page1.jpg

Yesterdays’ meeting was just informational, but first impressions are very important. And anything can be killed in committee.

I think the meeting went very well. “Everyone was represented:” East Coast; West Coast; Florida Bay; The Glades and agencies or organizations of those who presented. I thought it was great. Great to see people in power and those with knowledge talking about this important issue. Remember that just a few years ago, many in Tallahassee thought the Indian River Lagoon was a movie from the 50s.

Many people drove over 12 hours to speak but Chair Bradley did not allow public comment. Bullsugar, River Kidz, Glades Residents, Islamorada, Florida Bay, CaptainsForCleanWater, Stuart residents, Ft Meyers residents, Realtors, Hotel Owners, Business Owners and more…This is very disappointing, but certainly “The Powers That Be” knew everyone was there, and surely “They” are taking about it behind closed doors.  It makes an impression when the chamber is full because those politicians know that for every person there, there are hundreds, if not thousands behind him or her who did not come…The “Powers that Be” know this. And Senator Negron knows who came too. Surely he does. He appreciates this! He is motivated by this!

Having a full-house in a sub-committee room is not an everyday occurrence for these folks. Unlike our county government the State is not as practiced at this. They generally get to operate in a vacuum–Tallahassee being so far away! Not good!

Time was short and messages many, so Chair Bradley decided to cut the meeting presenters basically in half. Thus not all the presenters who came were allowed to speak either.

Those who presented were: Senate lawyer for the committee, Ashley Istler; UF’s Wendy Graham; ACOE’s Lt Col. Jennifer Reynolds; Independent, Dr Gary Goforth; and Exec. Dir of the SFWMD, Pete Antonacci .

Those moved to January 25th were: Dr Tom Van Lent, Everglades Foundation; Drew Bartlett, DEP; and Ernie Barnett, EAA Landowners.

Overall takeaway?

There was a common theme: “we need more water storage everywhere. North, South, East and West and concerns about where the reservoir should first be or if it should be….

This is clearly a very exasperating experience for many. But isn’t it great that we are actually talking and learning about it. Together.

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Slide UF’s  Wendy Graham, needed water storage.

All presentations are linked here and are excellent resources:http://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/Committees/2016-2018/AEN/MeetingRecords/MeetingPacket_3552.pdf

Committee meeting recorded by the Florida Channel Network:http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/11117-senate-appropriations-subcommittee-environment-natural-resources/

#SupportJoeNegron

10 thoughts on “Talking About It! Even If They Didn’t Let Us Talk! FL Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, SLR/IRL

  1. Jacqui, Many thanks for again the excellent summary of our water issues. Having attended this committee meeting yesterday, I was also encouraged of the level of consensus by key players; University of Florida and the Army Corp of Engineers. North, South, East and West all play a key role as part of the solution.

    There were 2 key issues that I would like to see further investigated:
    1). Should the Army Corps of Engineers be discharging water knowing that the water contains possible toxic components to the water (e.g. blue-green algae).
    2). There was a comment from Dr. Goforth indicating that Lake Okeechobee was used for drinking water. Whether directly, or indirectly through percolation and further treatment, is this water safe to drink? Do we have tests that verify the safety of the water to drink to the local residents?
    Paul Laura.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question! The State oversees water quality. ACOE does not. Awkward situation for them….The state needs to fix the issue. I do not think either state or federal laws account for our world today of toxic algae within the water transfer law. This should be addressed! Who is going to start that lawsuit?

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  2. Sign me up!, I’ll contribute. It’s way past time to begin using a STRONG OFFENSE!. Talking, begging and seemingly always on a weak defense is not getting the job done. It’s been said “the only way to re-train a stubborn Mule is with a 2 X 4, a large one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re an inspiration to our family and we so appreciate your hard work and dedication to our County!! Keep up the great work of educating us! Knowing about that big trip to Tallahassee and all those children who were part of that makes us hopeful! Love to parents, Ed, and puppies! You rock!!

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Most of the public land south of the Lake is already covered with water. Shallow water reservoirs totally several hundred thousand acres. WCAs, STAs,FEB. Higher lands also have water tables raised. Corbett, Holey Land, Rotenberger etc. Plenty of “storage”, not a lot of flow south from February to August.

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