There was a time in Florida when the governor cared for the environment and used that office to help preserve it.
But that was a long time ago.
The following is from the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Governor Graham Awarded Marjorie Harris Carr Award for Environmental Advocacy
Marking the 50th anniversary of the court order that halted construction on the Cross Florida Barge Canal, the Florida Defenders of the Environment will name former Governor Bob Graham the recipient of its 2021 Marjorie Harris Carr Award for Environmental Advocacy.
The award is given in recognition of the former Governor and U.S. Senator’s efforts to bring an end to the Cross Florida Barge Canal, a massive public works project initiated in the 1930s to presumably provide a quicker and safer route for barge traffic across Florida by connecting the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Public opposition organized by Marjorie Harris Carr, one of the state’s foremost scientists and environmental activists, exposed the project’s threat to Florida’s freshwater supply and environment, helping preserve the Ocklawaha River Valley, now a public conservation and recreation area named in her honor.
Although the project was halted by judicial decree in the early 1970s, Congress failed to formally terminate the project until 1990, when then U.S. Senator Bob Graham mustered bipartisan support among the entire Florida Congressional delegation to pass deauthorization legislation. It was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.
“As Florida Governor, Bob Graham made it clear to the people of Florida that the Cross Florida Barge Canal project was a waste of taxpayer money. As a U. S. Senator, Bob Graham played a key role in developing bipartisan support sponsoring federal legislation to deauthorize the boondoggle project,” said a news release issued by the Florida Defenders of the Environment.
The award will be presented to Gov. Graham in an online ceremony on Jan. 15, 2021, the 50th anniversary of Federal Circuit Court Judge Barrington Parker’s decision to side with the lawsuit brought by the organization that Carr co-founded, the Florida Defenders of the Environment.
The time and Zoom connection information will be announced at a later date, according to FDE.
The presentation event will include comments from:
- Jennifer Carr, President, Florida Defenders of the Environment, on FDE’s current efforts to restore a free-flowing Ocklawaha River.
- Jim Gross, Executive Director, Florida Defenders of the Environment, on the history of the Cross Florida Barge Canal project.
- Steve Robitaille, immediate past president, Florida Defenders of the Environment, on Bob Graham’s role in the deauthorization of the Cross Florida Barge Canal project.
- Roy Hunt, long time member of Florida Defenders of the Environment, will present the Carr Award to Senator Bob Graham.