Tag Archives: Legislative Session

Don’t Kill the Albatross, Florida Legislature 2017, SLR/IRL

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The Albatross from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834.

Today the Florida Legislature convenes for year 2017.  As we look down from the Heavens upon our great state what do we see? Mostly water… And yet water is such a problem for us. As the third largest state in the nation, and for the children of the future, it is imperative that we get this water problem straightened out….starting with the St Lucie River and the destructive discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Because of Senate President Joe Negron,  I am very hopeful. Let’s just hope the state legislature doesn’t kill the albatross. The albatross? Let us remember the story of the albatross.

Remember 8th grade? Remember reading Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner?” You may at least recall these lines:

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white…

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St Lucie River 2016 toxic algae bloom, JTL

In case you have forgotten, in this famous poem, the Mariner is punished by the crew for killing the albatross with no good reason, a sign of good luck and of hope, and thus bringing devastation upon all.

We the citizens have been in a sea of frustration and thirst with “no wind” for years; we have watched our water as before the tortured Mariner turn blue and green and white. But hark, the  wind is blowing; the albatross is flying over… we have hope – a sign.

How shall the state legislature react? My hope is that they recall the lesson of the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” and remember, to whom they answer, and from whom they derive their power.

Water, water, everywhere…

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Watch interview with Senate President Joe Negron on TC Palm regarding water issues Destruction of St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon via Lake Okeechobee/Goal for EAA reservoir to offset: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/politics/2017/01/26/negron-defends-lake-o-discharges-bill/97047520/

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Florida Bar Calendar of Legislative Dates: https://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBLegNW.nsf/dc7ee304c562ed5b85256709006a26ee/47cccd05ad13623785256b2f006ccfa6?OpenDocument

“March 7, 2017 Regular Session convenes (Art. III, &3(b), Fla. Const.) 12:00 noon, deadline for filing bills for introduction (Senate Rule 6.4(4))”

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Full text, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Smauel Taylor Coleridge: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/43997

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