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Politics

Brian Mast to Army Corps: Use Emergency Measures to Prevent Lake Discharges

July 9, 2018 - 1:45pm

Following Sunday's announcement that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will “conduct a full assessment of system conditions” and Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement he will declare a State of Emergency in Martin County, District 18 U.S. Congressman Brian Mast today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use emergency authority to stop Lake Okeechobee discharges until they “can definitively prove that the toxic algae pollution problem no longer exists.”

On Thursday, Rep. Mast urged the Army Corps to not resume discharges as planned Monday.  In response, the Army Corps announced a temporary suspension of the releases to “conduct a full assessment of system conditions.”  Mast’s letter sent Monday urges the Army Corps during this review to use emergency authority granted under Section 7-13 of the Water Control Plan, which authorizes the Army Corps to take emergency water control actions “necessary to abate…pollution problems.”

Also on Monday, the governor viewed the harm being caused by algal blooms from Lake Okeechobee water releases. Last month he visited the South Florida Water Management District, was briefed on the algae and directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to take additional steps to move more water south of Lake Okeechobee.

In addition on Monday, the governor toured the Caloosahatchee River and areas where the DEP is deploying the additional water monitoring stations he ordered last month

In part, Mast's letter reads: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is charged with protecting human safety, yet the safety of my constituents has been systematically ignored and deprioritized.  The toxic pollution stemming from algal blooms covering more than 90 percent of Lake Okeechobee presents an imminent and dangerous threat to public health and safety. Because this is a life or death situation for our community with serious ramifications on human health, your immediate attention to this issue is needed and appreciated.”

See the letter in full here.

Comments

Hello people, this has been going on for YEARS! Doesn't matter who is in charge Democrats or Republicans! Its all BS! Especially when its an election cycle! The Army Corp of engineers were the ones who years & years ago destroyed Florida forever! Flattened it, canaled the hell out of it and forever changed the size of Lake O!

Why do we spend so much money on this?...…….. Just get several teams of pollution monitors that travel the Kissimmee and the outlets gates of the farms below the lake and tell them to not release polluted water...…….. Easy, no corporate welfare or projects needed. ……………….And those who pollute pay for their pollution to be cleaned up...……………… The rivers use to be clear from Orlando to the Gulf, Atlantic and only pollution by farms, ranches, cities, septic tanks causes it...………… Big Ag can put their own swamps in to clean the water, cities need to cut pollution and many need to change from septic tanks to one of the many other toilet techs like drying...…………...Meanwhile Nancy protects repubs who make this happen because of big sugar, etc while her town dies from this pollution as you can't live near the river or intercoastal and destroys tourism, she still won't name names if republican.

Well said. Scott is only worried about the alge bloom impacting his Senate run. Don't worry Nancy will be out in full force to protect him.

Rick spent his entire administration gutting the environmental laws protecting Florida, gutting the agencies, abolishing DEP, eliminating environmental staff at the Water Management Districts....making a clear choice about priorities. Charlie Crist, while a Republican governor, had a decent plan to resolve this mess way back when but the puppets of Big Sugar opposed it. Scott has done nothing about the problem but let it fester. Now he wants to be a Senator: Climate Deniers Need Not Apply.

Nice try, Joe. Scott has done more for Everglades restoration and South Florida water problems than any governor in at least 18 years. The only mistake he made was listening to Negron who was blinded by fake environmentalists and putting the moving of water south ahead of FIRST capturing the dirty water coming down from the north. We will have algae until we first treat bad water before it gets to the lake and second clean up our own back yards.

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