Governor Rick Scott is approving a 1.5 billion-dollar reservoir South of Lake Okeechobee, much to the delight of Senate President Joe Negron.
The bill was a must-pass for Negron, whose Treasure Coast district was ground zero for last summer’s toxic algae bloom that coated beaches and shores in green scum. Critics blame polluted Lake Okeechobee runoff.
Negron scaled back the project to satisfy sugar growers and fiscal conservatives, but Audubon of Florida’s Eric Draper considers the legislation a victory.
“I think that he came up with a good ‘Plan B,’ which was to use existing state lands and then to work with the federal government to build the reservoir.”
Scott signed the measure, even though lawmakers rejected his request for 200 million dollars to shore up the federal dike surrounding the lake. Negron didn’t believe the federal government would pay Florida back.
Aubudon’s Draper had an even dimmer view of Scott’s plan.
“Aubudon has a sanctuary in the lake and we manage about 30,000 acres, and the last thing we want to see is deep water that buries our beautiful marsh in order to supply water for the sugar industry.”
Supporters of Negron’s plan say it will allow lake runoff to continue flowing south, restoring the Everglades and eventually, Florida Bay.