2018: Florida’s most environmentally devastating year
By Skip Clement
We all know some pretty smart Floridians who have been giving passes to Mr. Trump no matter what he “said,” until right about now. Why? Because the water is dirtier, and it will be getting dirtier. The air is more foul and more pollution is on its way; there isn’t anyone in Tallahassee, South Florida Water Management District, or the Corps of Engineers with enough b@$$s to say: “This is wrong.”
Here in South Florida it’s getting to look a lot like Christmas will last indefinitely for the Fanjul’s and Mott trust interests – man it’s getting ugly. Even the half full and conservative Sandy Moret is leaking negative sentiments. But there is hope… shared with Sandy, that the new governor will not be nakedly destructive toward the environment and that he’ll do what’s right for Florida, finally.
A Message from Sandy Moret
Will 2019 bring the right flow direction to Florida’s Everglades and waters?
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the most environmentally devastating year in Florida’s history ends, it’s time to set the course for 2019 and future years. Almost a full decade of stripping budgets and enforcement by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, delay of Everglades restoration projects, abandonment of focus on environmental responsibility by the South Florida Water Management District, roll back of water quality standards and abandonment of septic tank inspections to name a few, came crashing down in 2018.
Resulting toxic algae blooms, seagrass die offs, and massive kills of marine life offered graphic evidence of our water’s mismanagement. Throw in a three coast red tide event of biblical proportions and the issue stormed to the forefront of state and national news and politics. Floridians in many areas are suffering collapse of real estate values, tourism, commercial and recreation fishing businesses and overall quality of life.
What needs to happen in 2019? Florida’s Governor Elect Ron DeSantis has vowed to redirect and invigorate FDEP and SFWMD. He appointed Congressman Brian Mast (R-Stuart) to head his environmental transition team, and echoed Rep. Mast’s determination to expedite reduction of toxic discharges and send more clean water south by changing the operations of Lake Okeechobee, prioritizing human health and restoration of the Everglades.
Federal funding of at least $200,000,000 must be appropriated for the next several years to move forward with the actual construction of the EAA project. There is already an extensive backlog of funding appropriations from WRDA bills in 2007, 2014, and 2016 which include authorizations for ACOE projects on navigation, flood control, hydropower, ports, harbors and inland waterways.
We can no longer move Everglades Restoration along at the speed of a glacier. Florida has set the funding aside. The federal government must do the same in 2019 to save this American treasure, the health, economy and lifeblood waters of South Florida.