Greens Red Flag Expanded Water Bill

Mar 9, 2017

Environmental groups are raising concerns about the Senate’s dramatically expanded plan to fight massive toxic algae blooms carpeting South Florida waterways.

A massive algal bloom carpeted south and southwest Florida waterways last year, leading Senate President Joe Negron to propose speeding up construction of a massive reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

The new, $3.3 billion “Coast to Coast Comprehensive Water Resource Plan” includes funneling land conservation money to water treatment projects from the Keys to the Indian River Lagoon.

Audubon of Florida executive director Eric Draper says lawmakers are using the wrong bait to attract votes.

“In a year in which we had hoped that the voter-approved land acquisition trust fund would be used to increase the conservation of public land, it appears some members of the Legislature are intent on taking that money and supporting water projects.”

Draper says environmentalists were caught off guard by the expansion. Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens voted against the proposal because flooding 60,000 acres of farmland south of Lake Okeechobee for a massive reservoir would displace workers.