Last Saturday night in Palm Beach Florida, the Everglades Foundation hosted their annual benefit concert with performances from the Who’s Roger Daltrey and legendary Parrothead, Jimmy Buffet to woo the crowd and convince them to contact Florida Governor Rick Scott to tell him to approve Senate Bill 10 to purchase 60,000 acres of land in central Florida, through eminent domain, from farmers who do not want to sell.
Conservatives have been vocal in their opposition to SB10 calling it a “billion dollar land grab based on fake science.” Earlier this month, tea party groups and activists set up website, FloridiansAgainstWaste.org to stop the bill.
Everett Wilkinson, a conservative leader and Jupiter resident, said “I support the environment and responsible government. This bill (SB10) is nothing more than $2.4 billion government land grab that is based on fake science and doesn’t address the issue of the algae. We need to continue the current plan which includes fixing the Herbert Hoover Dike.”
Senate Bill 10, if passed by the Florida senate, house of representatives and signed by the Governor this year, would cost Florida taxpayers over $1.2 billion in land acquisition and constructions costs to build a water retention reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee in an effort to clean the water before it is released into the Everglades National Park, although many detractors of the SB10 plan note that the pollution in Lake O is coming from the North, not from south of the lake.
The campaign to acquire the land south of Lake Okeechobee has been going on since the Everglades Foundation incorporated in 1993. Since then, they have tried a myriad of different approaches to convince politicians, the media and Florida voters to force farmers off their land and hand it over to the foundation or the Florida Government. in 1995, in their first attempt to pressure farmers to sell their businesses, the Everglades Foundation embarked on a statewide defamation campaign against the sugar industry to convince lawmakers to pass a tax on their businesses to harm them financially, and to pressure them to sell. The farmers resisted efforts to buy them out ever since then but they have been under constant attack from the Everglades Foundation, and the organization that are financially supported by the Everglades Foundation, for the past 23 years.
The Everglades Foundation was formed by billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones and George Barley, an Orlando area real estate developer. Paul Tudor Jones is the owner of Tudor Investment Corporation, a hedge fund from Greenwich Connecticut. Jones is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. His estimated $5 billion fortune has been used to buy one of the most expensive estates in the sunshine state, and also to fund the Everglades Foundation and most of the other activist organizations in Florida.
The Everglades Foundation basically buys the support it gets from other environmental organizations. A number of the key environmental groups in Florida are nothing more than wholly owned subsidiaries of the Everglades Foundation. As a result, it is obvious why these organizations readily do the foundation’s bidding and jump to support every foundation endeavor. Essentially, they are all the same single organization.
The Everglades Foundation has morphed into a cash cow for close to 20 statewide environmental groups, sending them over $6 million dollars in recent years. These so-called “separate and independent” organizations advocate the same talking points and efforts, sometimes word for word from documents and information circulated to them by the Everglades Foundation.
About 20 of the states largest “environmental” activist organizations receive more than 50% of their total annual revenues from the Everglades Foundation. In 2009, the Audubon Society received 98% of the entire annual budget from the Everglades Foundation. In 2013, the Everglades Foundation spent over 40% of its total annual contributions on giving money to other outside organizations, such as the Clean Water Fund of Florida, Florida Wildlife Federation, Sanibel-Captiva Conservations Fund, Audubon Society, Everglades Law Center, The Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, World Wildlife Fund, 1000 Friends of Florida, Conservancy of SW Florida, United Waterfowlers and many more.
The Everglades Foundation seems to be the single source of environmental funds in Florida, and in return for the financial support to their recipients they receive nearly universal obedience for their pet projects.
Although certain activist organizations are touting Senate Bill 10 as the best way to clean up the Florida waterways, the U.S ARMY Corps of Engineers and the Florida Water Management District scientists do not agree. The Corps of Engineers and SFWMD are already working on an $18 billion dollar effort to restore the Florida ecosystem though the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). So far, the project is proceeding on schedule but Senate Bill 10 could interfere with the completion of the CERP projects that have already been approved by the federal and state agencies. Many scientists and professionals in the industry have stated that SB10 makes no hydrologic, environmental or economic sense and will only disrupt the current everglades restoration program and divert resources from projects and efforts that are already underway and working.
State and federal environmental and engineering agencies have expressed their concern over the proposed project and they overwhelmingly do not approve of, or support, the passage of Senate Bill 10. The proposal to use Florida tax revenues to build a water retention reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee is being based on politics – not science.