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Governor-elect Ron Desantis' Environmental Transition Team Meets


The group advising Governor-elect Ron Desantis on environmental issues met Monday for the first time. Members focused on water quality and supply.

Chaired by Congressman Brian Mast the 40-member committee focused on water quality and supply in Florida.

The conversation centered on Everglades Restoration and how to go about storing the water both short and long term. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein says the main storage sources are two large water supply lakes being built to the east and west of Lake Okeechobee, which has been the source of the water quality problems in surrounding communities.

“Combined these two reservoirs will provide more than 40 billion gallons of storage as well as treatment components to protect our estuaries,” said Valenstein.

But the west coast reservoir wouldn’t be complete until 2022 and other solutions may take up to a decade. Land Use and Real Estate Attorney, Dan O'keefe, wants to know what will be done now.

“The existing condition is unacceptable and telling somebody a solution a decade out is unacceptable. I’m committed to working hard to find out what the short term relief options could be," he said.

The committee will sunset before soon-to-be Governor Ron Desantis is inaugurated on January 8th. Before then, they must submit a report to the incoming administration.

Their next meeting will be a conference call on December 17th.   Ecosystems, species preservation and natural resources are among topics slated for conversastion.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.