Yes, the Army Corps answers to Congress, but Congress answers to BIG SUGAR. The sugar industry carefully pays bribes/tribute/money to all politicians who might influence their industry. Presidents, Congressmen, Republicans, Democrats. They wine and dine them in expensive resorts in the Caribbean. And it works!
Although it shouldn’t be this way, with many politicians, moral obligation ends where money meets the pocket. But it’s all legal! We need to work on our Supreme Court to change their terribly bad law which allows corporations to buy politicians.
Read the article here in TC Palm.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Protecting people should be No. 1 priority of water policy | Guest column
Gil Smart was right: The pictures from the June 16 rally on the Roosevelt Bridge could have been from any number of toxic algae summers on the St. Lucie River.
With giant toxic algae blooms on Lake Okeechobee two of the last three years — and so much scientific evidence these blooms are linked to deadly diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and cancer — how much longer can we ignore this looming health crisis?
Gil asked what we want. How about a federal policy change on toxic discharges that prioritizes human health and safety above everything else?
The Army Corps of Engineers answers to Congress, so Congress has the power to make this happen. Will Florida’s delegation — 27 in the House and two in the Senate — stand up for our health and safety?
These discharges aren’t inevitable. We the people own 57,000 acres of stormwater treatment areas that can store more than 50 billion gallons of lakewater and can send more than 10 billion gallons south every week. That could have been enough to reroute the current discharges — if the policy made it a priority.
Instead of protecting us from potential exposure to toxins, the system is full of billions of gallons of sugarcane runoff, pumped off the fields to safeguard this year’s yields.
Someday, the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir, which the sugarcane industry lobbied so hard against, might give us even more capacity to cut discharges like this year’s — if it’s built correctly. But if its operating policy doesn’t place human health and safety first, there’s no guarantee anything will change.
Prioritizing human health and safety also means reducing flood risks for Glades’ communities, and the Corps isn’t doing that, either. Keeping the lake levels high this winter elevated the risk that sudden inflows would endanger the dike, which is exactly what happened.
Then back-flow from pumped-out fields was allowed to surge back into the lake, making the situation even more dangerous and contributing to the “necessity” of discharging water for flood protection.
That’s not flood protection; that’s using people as human shields to keep fields dry when everything around them is flooded.
This is wrong. Congress has more than the authority to fix this system; it has a moral obligation to tell the Corps to put people first — in the Glades and on the coasts — as they manage our water.
So that’s what we want: a government policy change that says our health and safety is the most important factor in the management of Lake Okeechobee and South Florida’s water system.
Of course, we want a system that works for everyone, including the sugarcane industry. As long as the system requires us to make tough decisions, isn’t it reasonable to make protecting people the No. 1 priority?
Allie Preston manages communications for Bullsugar.org, including content development, research and social media engagement. She focuses on increasing grassroots involvement and working toward nationwide awareness of the mismanagement of South Florida’s water and its effect on the Everglades and coastal estuaries.