Florida Politics: A senate panel will convene in January to be presented with presentations about the polluted water being discharged from Lake Okeechobee and how the Everglades could be restored, which is a major priority for current Senate President Joe Negron. This has been opposed by US Sugar.
The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Appropriates Subcommittee will come together on January the 11th to hear a range of presentations from a number of agencies including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the South Water Management District, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and further presentations b agricultural landowners and environmental advocates. Information about the subcommittee comes from an agenda that was posted online in preparation for the event.
The polluted discharges have become a real problem for the state and residents alike. The water from Lake Okeechobee has entered the waterways of the Treasure Coast and Southwest Florida and it’s become a major issue.
Negron, R-Stuart, has made addressing the issue one of his main priorities. One plan Negron devised is to purchase farmland south of the lake using conservation money and use the land for storing water from the lake.
Florida Senate President Joe Negron last year released a $2.4 billion plan to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges.
The plan would include buying 60,000 acres to build a reservoir to clean and send water into the Everglades instead of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. Negron has identified two parcels south of the lake that could be used but said he’s open to looking at other tracts of land.
Sugar giant Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar Corp. owns part of the land Negron has identified. Negron said he’s “optimistic” the company will be willing to sell. He said he doesn’t want to use eminent domain because of the cost and legal fees.
Governor Scott has been opposed to borrowing money by issuing bonds because that increases the state debt. Negron, however, said the governor has shown commitment to cleaning the Indian River Lagoon by approving several projects and proposing money next year to convert septic tanks to sewer lines.