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CONSERVATIONISTS MOVE TO BLOCK LAST MINUTE DEAL BETWEEN SUGAR COMPANIES AND WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

 

For Immediate Release
November 29, 2018

Contact:
Preston Robertson, 850-656-7113
Terrell Arline, Esq., 850-321-8726      
                

Sweetheart deal between Big Sugar and Water Management District could thwart reservoir designed to clean South Florida water

TALLAHASSEE (11/29/18) – On Wednesday, Florida conservationists filed a legal challenge to a last-minute deal between major sugar companies and the South Florida Water Management District that could thwart emergency efforts to reduce toxic algae outbreaks in rivers and coastal areas. The deal was reached the day after the election of Ron DeSantis as Florida’s governor. DeSantis has previously opposed sweetheart deals with the powerful sugar industry. Under the agreement, the outgoing District board renewed leases to major sugar companies on land that is slated for a reservoir to take contaminated water out of Lake Okeechobee. Leases for growing sugar cane set to expire this coming March were re-leased for up to 8 years, endangering plans to fast-track construction of the new 17,000 acre reservoir.  Lake water contaminated with toxic algae fueled by fertilizer and manure from industrial farming operations has been repeatedly dumped into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, where it triggered massive fish kills and released toxin laden fumes dangerous to human health.   

Florida Wildlife Federation President Manley Fuller said “We need to deal with toxic algae and red tide outbreaks for what they are – a public health and environmental emergency. The last thing we need is a deal to help Big Sugar instead of moving fast to manage the emergency.”

The administrative law challenge asserts that Florida law prohibits last-minute lease deals by the District by requiring public notices to be published three times at least a month before the leases are considered by the District. Notice was given hours before the deal was approved by the out-going water management district board. In addition, the challenge claims that the lease could interfere with an accelerated schedule to build the reservoir. It was brought by Florida Wildlife Federation, and by Marty Baum, a well-known activist on toxic algae issues in Jenson Beach. 



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Erin    last week

Thank you for all you have done I have a house in lehigh acers , And I'm willing do start a petition if I can againsts poluters in my county
Thank Erin Pankey
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Regina Nazarkewich    2 weeks ago

Clean up your mess big sugar! You are destroying Florida's natural resources!
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Erin    2 weeks ago

Dear fwc
We're looking for someone to start a petition in Pasco county. To stop moasic Need help
Sincerely Erin Pankey
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Robin Cabral    2 weeks ago

Fully support Marty Baum! He truly cares what’s best for the people!
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Michael Downey    2 weeks ago

Typical of big industry when they cannot get what they want via a frontal assault on the voters. It's also typical of outgoing politicians ( the board in this case) to sign off on controversial issues in the eleventh hour. They (the board) will play a Pontius Pilat routine and get away scott (no punn intended) free. There doesn't seem to be much home for the environmental good guys anywhere with the emergence of the "Environmental Pollution Agency".
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Mike johnson    2 weeks ago

Block the last minute lease
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Kimberly Carroll    2 weeks ago

This is an absolute disgrace! Florida was a Jewel of the World, and greedy white men don't care about the greater good of this God given gift. It sickens me, literally and figuratively. Anna Maria Island is now a ghost town. It was a thriving tourism area. Not anymore! Is tourism that insignificant to this economy? Yes, if you're in big sugar or big beef (both of which I avoid consuming). I am thoroughly disgusted with this ecological disaster! I have no idea how the entities who created this disaster sleep at night!
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Paul Hardin    2 weeks ago

Ron Desantis lied to get your votes. Just as the appropriately named DICK Scott lied to get your votes. He ( Scott ) stared right into the camera and said, " I want to make insurance companies cover your pre-existing conditions." Yet, he is one of the first named governors when it comes to suing to overturn the ACA. We the people of Florida deserve dead sea life all over our beaches because we vote for these bald faced liars.
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Paul Hardin    2 weeks ago

According to the League of Conservation Voters, Ron Desantis scored a 3 out of 100 for his voting record on environmental issues in 2016 and 2017. Floridians that vote for Republicans do not seem to care about our environment. Please go to their website to see for yourself.
Www.Scorecard.lcv.org
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JOSEPH SISCO    2 weeks ago

Need to stop this deals with corporations that pollute our environment and have a direct impact. This red tide algee and fish kills are ruining tourism and stopping people for wanting to live in these communities.
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Karen Hughart    2 weeks ago

Stop big sugar and their leases. The public has to be informed!
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Candace Lawless    2 weeks ago

So wrong in every way!
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Laurie Lorch    2 weeks ago

Shame
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Lynn Spillane    2 weeks ago

I saw the SfWMD’s ‘snaky’ announcement and immediately knew they weren’t telling the whole truth! I hope other Floridians can see through the shady dealings!! I’m praying our new Governor doesn’t fall for their lies! I think he’s smarter than that!
Thank you for all you do!
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Penny Ackerly    2 weeks ago

No more sweetheart deals. We have the right to have clean water. Stop polluting our waters destroying our ecological system and drinking water.
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Fran Sullivan    2 weeks ago

How many more ways can what's left of Florida be defiled? Our lives depend upon clean water !
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Jeff Kearney    2 weeks ago

if you go to the SFWMD website, they are putting a false spin on this lawsuit, and making it seem like FWF is trying to block them from expediting the reservoir project, they make no mention of the last minute backdoor land lease renewal, and claim they are doing everything to get the project done. please take the time to see the false narrative and expose it for what it really is.
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Charles Grande    2 weeks ago

If Governor DeSantis is truly against this type of sweetheart deal, he will take this opportunity to accept the resignations of the entire SFWMD board and appoint a new board more likely to act appropriately rather than bowing down to the wishes of Big Sugar.
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Marisa Hatfield    2 weeks ago

Please let us know how we can help. We cannot let this happen.
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Wanda Klopf    2 weeks ago

The poisons kills wildlife sealife “our” life.
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Debbie P Burton    2 weeks ago

Someone needs to request copies of all information dating back to when the deal was made to current date. You may receive a copy free of charge due to FOIA.
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Robert Hall    2 weeks ago

Prison for people involved in unethical 'sweetheart deals'. Long prison terms for those destroying the estuaries. Long prison terms for those sending dirty water south. Longer prison terms for any large scale pollution of the publics waters. Thank you, Marty Baum!
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Robert Hall    2 weeks ago

That is what it says Cyndi. " DeSantis has previously opposed sweetheart deals with the powerful sugar industry." I hope Mast and DeSantis are permanently and not temporarily committed to clean water going south. The public has the right to question how the plans are supposed to work and does not have to accept it on faith. The Republican record leaves much room for doubting their sincerity.
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Samuel Terpening    2 weeks ago

Follow the law. We the people.
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Cyndi    2 weeks ago

I think you may want to rewrite the top inferring Desantis has anything to do with it. He was opposed to the deal and asked the board to wait.