By Carl Hiaasen for The Miami Herald
If you care about what’s left of the Everglades, here’s what passes for a victory these days:
The state is moving ahead with plans for a reservoir and a cleansing marsh to handle some of the fertilizer-tainted, algae-spawning deluge that gets dumped from Lake Okeechobee to both coasts every rainy season.
In theory the collected water will be scrubbed and sent south to nourish parched stretches of the Everglades, and ultimately, imperiled Florida Bay.
Take a moment to celebrate, but don’t go wild.
At 10,500 acres, the reservoir will be relatively small and so deep (23 feet) that some scientists don’t think it can do the job. The design was chosen over better options by the board of the South Florida Water Management District, which under Gov. Rick Scott functions as a policy arm of Big Sugar.
As one example, TCPalm reporters exposed how the water district in 2015 allowed a U.S. Sugar lobbyist named Irene Quincey to “edit” and weaken planned regulations on harmful phosphorous pouring out of Lake O.
Among her contributions to the final draft was deleting the word “enforceable” from three key passages.
So it’s no shock that the water district bowed to the corporate cane growers this year, too. The original reservoir proposal by Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican whose tourism-dependent district gets slimed hard by the green algae blooms, called for a 60,000-acre project.