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Bob Graham to Legislature: You are endangering the Everglades

Former Florida Governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham wrote this blistering op-ed in Sunday's Miami Herald blaming lawmakers for eroding progress on restoration efforts for the state's famed River of Grass:

The Everglades is in danger again. This time it is not from a drought, hurricane or other act of nature. It is not from some imminent encroaching development.

It is from the 2011 Florida Legislature and its cascade of damaging legislation which threatens to bring the three-decade-long effort to save the Everglades to a halt.

Everglades restoration is not just a matter of saving one of the Earth’s most important and unique environments and protecting the fresh water supply for a third of Florida’s residents. Everglades restoration is our state’s largest job and economic development program. A 2011 report by Mather Economics to the Everglades Foundation estimated that investing $11.5 billion in Everglades restoration (equally divided between the federal government and the state of Florida) will result in $46.5 billion in gains to Florida’s economy and create in excess of 440,000 jobs in the next 50 years. More here.

Today, a bi-partisan group of legislators will announce the first ever Everglades coalition at a press conference in Boynton Beach. Members include Rep. Steve Perman, D-Boca Raton and Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera.


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Senator Graham is a thoughtful former public official. I have tremendous respect for him. But at some point, we, as taxpayers must ask whether or not any of this is achievable, and worth the tens of billions of dollars that would have to be spent on an experiment to return the state's natural environment.

Frankly, it just isn't possible. And any scientist who isnt on the dole will say as much.

The state and federal government should try to cost effectively manage the state's water supply and undo the boondoggle that was Crists's purchase of land from US Sugar Corporation. It should also look to the pollution of Lake O as the real culprit, not vegetable or sugar farmers who have made tremendous improvements in their practices. They are actually cleaning the water that comes from Lake O, and sending it in the everglades far cleaner than they get it.

Fix Lake O. Make Central Florida take on some responsibility. Do things cost effectively, and try to sustain the river of grass.


Brymer, your logic is making my brain melt.

If I'm understanding you correctly, the reason we should develop the Everglades is that pollution is the bigger threat to the Everglades.

So now we're in a war over what ruins a natural resource faster-- that which degrades it or that which makes it completely nonexistent.


The elephant in the room this article has not even addressed? Jeb Bush. The doubling of US Sugar's international operations into Florida was the first split from the spiritual and financially acute contract with the federal government for water quality. Jeb was the Governor and orchestrated this with the DEP Director.And at that point, no verification and review of pollution was ever in the contract or Castille's DEP agreement with this company.

We have never approached water quality from an ecosystem perspective. It has always been from a big billion dollar business acumen. God forbid Jeb Bush had to stare down Grover Norquist for breaking the tax pledge. And from my DEP Sunshine Law record request, he met with Grover in 2006! But au contraire to this anti-tax mentality, SOMEONE has to pay for pollution clean up on land, and pay their pro rated share of reservoir clean -up, as Lake Okeechobee has been the dumped in bath tub for decades.

Businesses need to remember Micro Economics 101: negative externalities. That is when a cost is not apportioned to the business that created the burden. Most costs for businesses will never be absorbed voluntarily by local businesses, much less global ones. Mosaic, US Sugar and the Fanjul's come to mind. If Florida residents wanted to take then same Grover anti tax mind set, we would demand Florida politicians REMOVE property taxes! Yes! Enough with your tax talk, someone has to pay for the ability to use Florida resources.

The big scandal no one is grasping about the tear down of water basin boards, and the redirection of water management boards?? The reserve funds! We are approaching $500 MILLION in reserves, some of which ( as the basin boards) laws determined the per tax milleage apportionment from residential taxpayers' properties. This is illegal, in my opinion, and should be addressed by a consumer advocate group. God knows, past water management board Director Sonny Vergara and I cant be the only concerned citizens about this issue.

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