Corcoran Calls Senate Water Plan 'Better' But Remains Opposed To Borrowing For The Project

Apr 6, 2017

The Army Corp of Engineers releases water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River because of heavy rains.
Credit Credit Dale/flickr / Flickr

House Speaker Richard Corcoran says changes to the Senate’s plan to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee make the proposal better, but he’s refusing to cave on one big issue: whether to borrow money to finance the system.

Corcoran says bonding to finance the Senate's land buy proposal is not acceptable. And he's not changing the position he's held all session.

“The more the Senate works on it, the happier we are. No we’re not bonding. Bonding is an issue,” he told reporters Thursday.

The statement comes a day after the Senate approved big changes to Senate President Joe Negron's top priority. The cost of the plan has decreased from $2.4 billion to $1.5 billion. Half of that cost would be paid for by the federal government. Borrowing would be postponed for a year, and the amount of land to be purchased would decrease from 60,000 t0 30,000 acres, with the state to focus on using existing land, rather than targeting parcels owned by U.S. Sugar.

The measure is part of Senate President Joe Negron’s efforts to stop polluted Lake Okeechobee discharges from fouling the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. The Senate is still targeting water storage south of the lake.