Big Sugar Summit: Richard Grosso, Environmental Legal Eagle!

Big Sugar Summit: Richard Grosso, Environmental Legal Eagle!

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Richard Grosso is Director, Environmental and Land Use Law Clinic. Shepard Broad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University.

http://evergladeslaw.org/about/history/

History of The Everglades Law Center

Our Beginning

“In 1990, a small group of law professors and lawyers created the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center, Inc. to establish a nonprofit law firm dedicated to meeting the needs of the public interest in environmental issues facing Florida. In 1995 the organization hired Richard Grosso, the former Legal Director of 1000 Friends of Florida, as its Executive Director, to establish a legal representation program at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The name of the organization was officially changed in October of 1996 to the Environmental and Land Use Law Center, Inc.

The firm began to expand, adding three additional attorneys to the team, including Senior Staff Attorney Lisa Interlandi in 2001 and now Executive Director and General Counsel Jason Totoiu in 2006. In 2006, the firm changed its name to the Everglades Law Center to reflect its unique role in providing legal, strategic and policy advice to the dozens of organizations and individuals working to restore the Everglades.

Today, the Everglades Law Center celebrates over 20 years of providing legal counsel to nearly forty national, state, and local environmental and conservation organizations. We tackle issues from the Kissimmee River Basin to Florida Bay. We also assist clients on issues affecting other imperiled landscapes and watersheds throughout Florida. Our lawyers are strategically located across the greater Everglades ecosystem.”

http://www.1000friendsofflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Grosso-sea-level.pdf

Planning for Sea Level Rise: Legal Issues Facing Florida
Richard Grosso, Esq.
Professor of Law
Director, Environmental and Land Use Law Clinic
Shepard Broad Law Center Nova Southeastern University
3305 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. 33314
grossor@nsu.law.nova.edu
We are so thankful for Richard Grosso!
Speaking of Environmental Law I thought this was interesting and humerous.

HO YA GONNA C(S)ITE?” GHOSTBUSTERS AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION DEBATE

CHRISTINE ALICE CORCOS[*]Copyright © 1997 Florida State University Journal of Land Use & Environmental LawI. INTRODUCTION “Ghostbusters,[1] the phenomenally successful[2] Bill Murray/Harold Ramis/Dan Ackroyd comedy is generally considered to be an amusing takeoff on horror films of the thirties and forties, a kid’s movie, or a satire on academia, intellectuals, city government, yuppies, tax professionals, and apathetic New Yorkers.[3] What no one has con sidered this movie to be is a thoughtful introduction to environmental law and policy, suitable for discussion in a law school class,[4] or a serious examination of the competing interests in the environmental regulation debate. Yet, the film’s premise is that ghosts, like television advertising, marshmallows, and non-biodegradable packaging materials, can be classed as pollutants—messy, disruptive, loud, dangerous entities that need to be rounded up effectively and confined forever.[5] Further, a government’s inability to admit that an environmental danger, represented here by psychic pollutants, might exist[6] increases the likelihood that such a danger may damage the environment, just as the government’s unwillingness to recognize the true dangers of the pollutants at Love Canal put nearby inhabi tants at risk.[7] Thus, the film contends that the traditional reaction of the independent-thinking American to a danger which government is unable or unwilling to respond to is a kind of justified vigilantism. Too much government, like too much dependence on government, creates an environment suitable for disaster.”

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Great clip from a great environmental law film.

A compelling story about water!

Big Sugar Summit: Stephen E. Davis III PHD, Wetland Ecologist. Science Guy!

Big Sugar Summit: Stephen E. Davis III PHD, Wetland Ecologist, The Everglades Foundation

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This presentation will available thru the Sierra Club, Florida in full with all the slides. So enjoy this preview.

Stephen E Davis Wetland Ecologist  The Everglades Foundation

Stephen E Davis
Wetland Ecologist
The Everglades Foundation

http://www.evergladesfoundation.org/what-we-do/science/

“The Foundation employs a team of scientists to serve as technical expert sources for the environmental community.  These resources include providing sworn expert testimony in legal proceedings, testimony at public hearings, and general education and training for environmental partners. The Foundation also provides fellowships and internships to graduate students from regional and national universities working on Everglades projects, all to ensure that the next generation of Everglades experts will be well-trained to face the mission in front of them well into the first half of the century. Areas of fundamental interest in the science program are: hydrology, natural resource planning, water quality and ecology”

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Check this out! It’s so cool!

Leading Science Initiatives

Hydrology

Water is the key to understanding the Everglades and the built environment. One in every three Floridians relies on the Everglades for their water supply and the native flora and fauna are finely tuned to the seasonal water cycles.  Part of what we do at the Everglades Foundation is discover  how the Everglades works, convert that to mathematics, and then program it on a computer. Once you do that, you can run “what-if…” scenarios that help decide what can and should be done to restore the Everglades. Hydrology and engineering allow us to look for solutions to restore the “River of Grass.” Thomas Van Lent, Ph.D., Senior Scientist

Ecology

Ecological research at the Everglades Foundation is centered on understanding how human impacts such as the introduction and spread of exotic invasive species, urban development, off-road vehicle (ORV) use, oil and gas activity, water management and nutrient inputs have affected plant and animal life across the Everglades. To do this, we partner with agencies, academic institutions and environmental organizations across the region to tap into the extensive body of scientific information and peer-reviewed research. We analyze data and provide input regarding various social and political issues that may offset the current ecological balance of the Everglades or thwart progress of Everglades restoration. Stephen E. Davis, III, Ph.D., Wetland Ecologist

Water Quality

Restoring the Everglades will take more than just putting the right amounts of water back. It will also require that the water be clean. We conduct research on what causes imbalances in native flora and fauna, and then determine what actions are needed to correct those problems. The survival of the Everglades depends on the quality of its water. Melodie Naja, Ph.D., Water Quality Scientist

Planning and Project Implementation

Research and ideas alone will not restore the Everglades.  These ideas must be converted into specific actions and projects.  The science team at the Everglades Foundation works with government agencies and stakeholders to implement science-based solutions. We contribute modeling information, review scientific research and analyses, provide scientific and engineering input to restoration and water quality projects, and work to educate decision makers and the public on the issues. This helps to build consensus and get things done.  Hong Xu, Environmental Engineer and Aida Arik, Ecological Engineer

Synthesizing Everglades Research

“No single entity is tackling or can tackle all of these issues,” Van Lent says. “It’s actually a concerted effort on the part of government agencies, non-profit organizations such as ours, and research entities to get this accomplished.” The single most important project being accomplished by Foundation scientists is not in-the-lab, test-tube science. It’s the synthesis of all scientific work conducted on the entire Everglades ecosystem from the Kissimmee River through Lake Okeechobee and into the southern Everglades and Florida Bay.

“The project combines all the available information and seeing which is most likely to get us to the goal,” says Van Lent. “This will guide us to recommend public policy that will lead to decisions to fix the ecosystem.” The initiative, financed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, involves explaining the work of 15 top scientists in Everglades-related fields for the past decade and making their work understandable to decision-makers and the public. “We’re taking the reports off the shelf and making them useful,” says Van Lent. “We’re the bridge between the laboratory and the real application of the science. We make the science useful.”

Science!

Stephan has a bunch of studies. I tried to get an account to read but I’m not with an institution.

Check these and other research by Stephen.

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/274638205_Sea_Level_Rise_in_the_Everglades_Plant-Soil-Microbial_Feedbacks_in_Response_to_Changing_Physical_Conditions

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/259195457_Biogeochemical_effects_of_simulated_sea_level_rise_on_carbon_loss_in_an_Everglades_mangrove_peat_soil

Here is one my favorite song writer/singers/comedians/philosophers Tom Lehr teaching us “The Elements.”

Thank you Stephen for your great presentation.

Traveling Florida Back Roads: Fort Basinger and the Lockett estate

Traveling Florida Back Roads: Fort Basinger and the Lockett estate.

Yesterday Jules and I drove out there.  This is right on the corner of 98 and 721.

Lockett estate, Basinger, Fl

Lockett estate, Basinger, Fl

http://fortwiki.com/Fort_Basinger

“Fort Basinger (1837-1850) – A U.S. Army post established in 1837 by Colonel Zachary Taylor during the Second Seminole War in present day Highlands County, Florida. Named after Lieutenant William E. Basinger, 2nd U.S. Artillery, who was killed at the Dade Massacre 28 Dec 1835. Abandoned in 1850.”

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/fl/basinger.html

“Ft. Basinger was a fort, named after a lieutenant killed in the Dade massacre, from the Seminole wars during the 1830’s. The Kissimmee river fort site is on the Lockett homestead however, there are no remains. Basinger, on the Okeechobee side, is literally the seat of civilization since it was the first part of present-day Okeechobee county where white settlement is recorded. The first settlers moved here after the civil war and by the turn of the century Basinger was a “bustling” cowboy community. The town boasted of two hotels, a general store, clothing stores, and a post office. There were two town periods, one during the 1800’s and another during the early 1900’s. The majority of the settlers were cattlemen, who also hunted alligators and “coons”. The chief weapon of the Florida cowboy was a strong whip, 12 to 18 feet of braided buckskin fastened to a handle of 12 – 15 inches long. The pop or crack resulting from its use sounded like a rifle shot and is claimed to have resounded for several miles. The name “cracker”, applied to natives of Georgia and Florida, is said to have originated as a cattle term for those who used the whips. Early, 1870, settlers to the area were Parker, Holmes, Raulerson, Chandler, and Underhill. Settlers on the Highlands County side were the Daughtreys and the Pearces. There was a steam boat business that traveled up and down the Kissimmee river from 1894 to 1920. It died when the highway system went in. When the railroad past up the area for the town of Okeechobee the town slowly disappeared. Submitted by: Mike Woodfin”

http://www.abandonedfl.com/lockett-estate/

“Today the Lockett Estate and Basinger are just shadows of what they once were. There are no remains of the fort and the hotels and general store are long gone. Neglect and age are starting to take a toll on the buildings of the estate. The main house has rotting floors and roof. The barn is barely standing and several other smaller building are beginning to fall from neglect. There are several concrete lamp posts lining the originally drive, but some have fallen over and the boat house along the river is showing signs of the river’s rise and fall. One of the most important features is the Pearce family cemetery which is nestled under oak trees along Hwy 98. While the property is not being maintained, the cemetery has been secured to prevent wild hogs from destroying the headstones and disturbing the plots.

The site is currently in the hands of the South Florida Water Management District was part of the flood control plan. However, it is now considered excess property and may go up for public auction. Attempts to find a group to take control and keep the estate open to the public have failed. U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Florida Parks both backed out. Highlands County had the site briefly, but their plan to turn the historic location into a golf course prompted SFWMD to take it back. For now, the site is closed to the public. ”

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

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Pearce-Lockett Estate

In 1993, SFWMD acquired the Pearce-Lockett Estate through a donation as part of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. The site was donated by the family on the condition that it wold be open to the public.
The Florida Park Service evaluated the property in 2002 and concluded that the site met or exceeded the qualifications for a State Park but due to constraints prevented them from accepting title from the District.
The Pearce-Lockett Estate is historically significant, but not designated as a State Historic SIte.
Source http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/lass_portfolio_kissokee_kissriver.pdf

This beautiful place could definitely benefit from Amendment One money.

Big Sugar Summit: Dr Gail Hollander, “Raising Cane in the Glades.”

#bigsugarsummit

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Big Sugar Summit: Dr Gail Hollander, “Raising Cane in the Glades.”

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So excited hear this lecture. As I said before there will a final video with all the bells and whistles and slides professional done by some else. This is only part of the lecture so I hope when the video is done you’ll watch.

The title of the lecture was

“The History of Big Sugar in the Everglades Agricultural Area”

Dr Gail Hollander is an Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University. She is the author of “Raising Cane in the Glades: The Global Sugar Trade and the Transformation of Florida.

raisingcane

The book is available on Amazon.

Over the last century, the Everglades underwent a metaphorical and ecological transition from impenetrable swamp to endangered wetland.  At the heart of this transformation lies the Florida sugar industry, which by the 1990s was at the center of the political storm over the multi-billion dollar ecological “restoration” of the Everglades.  Raising Cane in the ’Glades is the first study to situate the environmental transformation of the Everglades within the economic and historical geography of global sugar production and trade.

Using, among other sources, interviews, government and corporate documents, and recently declassified U.S. State Department memoranda, Gail M. Hollander demonstrates that the development of Florida’s sugar region was the outcome of pitched battles reaching the highest political offices in the U.S. and in countries around the world, especially Cuba—which emerges in her narrative as a model, a competitor, and the regional “other” to Florida’s “self.”  Spanning the period from the age of empire to the era of globalization, the book shows how the “sugar question”—a label nineteenth-century economists coined for intense international debates on sugar production and trade—emerges repeatedly in new guises. Hollander uses the sugar question as a thread to stitch together past and present, local and global, in explaining Everglades transformation.

Here is the video.

Who owns U.S. Sugar?

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We know who U.S. Sugar owns but who owns them?

“US sugar is owned 30% by the Mott Foundation. 30% is owned by the Mott Children’s Health Center. “They don’t put their money in Florida” Mary Barley told us at the Big Sugar Summit. “The other 40% is owned by their pension fund and the employees.”

mott

We even know some of these people!

mbw sanchez-full coker-full

“Funny because one of the top four things that the Mott Foundation does is the “environment and clean water.”

“US Sugar are convicted Felons” said Barley. “They plead guilty to knowingly putting hazardous waste in the water. In our water. Then backpumping it back into Lake Okeechobee. ”

“Why should we allow convicted criminals to buy our politicians?”

“Big Sugar add .01 percent to Florida’s economy. If that.”

http://www.mott.org/

http://www.mott.org/FundingInterests/programs/environment

http://www.mott.org/news/news/2015/20150612-Great-Lakes-St-Lawrence-Leadership-Summit

This year’s summit also will mark the 10-year anniversary of a landmark agreement between the United States and Canada to protect and manage the Great Lakes region’s shared freshwater resources. Those efforts were further advanced in 2008 with federal passage in the United States of the Great Lakes Compact, a first-of-its-kind legal framework that is helping to preserve the lakes as environmental and economic assets.

Mott grantees were among those who helped shape and inform the Compact’s creation, and they continue the hard work of protecting freshwater for future generations.

– See more at: http://www.mott.org/news/news/2015/20150612-Great-Lakes-St-Lawrence-Leadership-Summit#sthash.YHAvG4P2.dpuf

???? I’m so confused. How can this even be?
How can these people destroy us, pollute us and be like la de da on their website?
Apparently It’s Complicated.
or the Mott Children’s Health Center, a corporate takeover offer to buy U.S. Sugar for $293 a share could have meant a payday of $125 million — enough to care for 12,000 children a year for more than 14 years.

Last year, the offer was taken off the table. Then this spring, U.S. Sugar suspended its dividend. That has left the charity with a big block of paper that, for the purpose of financing its operations, is essentially worthless. There is no market for the stock in U.S. Sugar, a private company, and the medical center cannot make the company buy back the shares.

Angry former employees of U.S. Sugar say that the needy children of Flint are the victims of the same financial maneuvers that have undercut the workers’ retirement plan. The Children’s Health Center was carrying the U.S. Sugar stock on its books at $153 a share in 2005, they say, when the offer emerged for $293 a share.

The “offer thus presented the opportunity to receive 91 percent more,” the former employees say in a lawsuit against the company and some other shareholders. A no-brainer, they say: The children of Flint would have been much better off, had the health center sold its shares.

so check this out!

http://www.mlive.com/flintjournal/business/index.ssf/2008/12/us_sugar_deal_not_the_sweetest.html

Gov. Charlie Crist is proposing that Florida buy all of U.S. Sugar’s land — roughly 181,000 acres — for $1.3 billion, then lease it back to the company for seven years so that farming can continue while the state starts building systems to restore the flow of water to the Everglades.

After seven years, the company would sell off its extensive sugar milling and refining assets, and production would cease. Control of the company would remain with the current shareholders.

U.S. Sugar’s Chief Executive Officer Robert H. Buker Jr. has estimated that shareholders could receive $365 a share during the course of seven years under these arrangements.

The board of U.S. Sugar on Monday recommended the state’s buyout proposal over the rival proposal, an offer of $300 a share in cash for all of the company’s stock, made by the Lawrence Group, a large and reclusive father-son agriculture concern.

Robert E. Coker, a senior vice president at U.S. Sugar, has said that a letter from the Lawrences summing up their offer was insufficient and did not amount to a firm proposal. He also called it a hostile offer that could not be compared with the Florida bid.

The Lawrences dispute that, insisting that their offer is complete and hostile only to the company’s management, which does not want to be replaced.

The board is expected to send its recommendations to U.S. Sugar’s shareholders for a vote. But no matter what the board recommends, the major shareholders of U.S. Sugar may have no choice. Some of the biggest ones are philanthropic institutions in Flint that long ago signed confidential agreements that they would not sell their shares to anyone trying to take over the company.

That would appear to preclude them from accepting the Lawrence Group’s offer, even if it proves superior — which could set the stage for a legal showdown. The boards of public charities are required by law to maximize the value of the assets under their control, on behalf of their beneficiaries. In this case, the beneficiaries include thousands of impoverished children in Flint.

U.S. Sugar’s shares are a big part of the portfolio of the Mott Children’s Health Center, a charity that provides low-cost care to needy children in Flint. Another major shareholder is the Mott Foundation, named for the Flint industrialist who was once the biggest shareholder of General Motors. The Community Foundation of Greater Flint also owns a block of U.S. Sugar shares.

There have been estimates that Mott Children’s Health Center and the Mott Foundation would get $100 million each from a deal while the Community Foundation of Greater Flint would get $33 million.

These institutions have not had a chance to sell their shares until now, because there has been no market for the stock since U.S. Sugar went private in 1983. That was not an issue for years, because U.S. Sugar was profitable and paid the charities dividends they could use to finance their operations.

and this

https://philanthropy.com/article/Leader-of-Mott-Foundation/167127

Leader of Mott Foundation Charged in Lawsuit by Sugar-Company Employees

Descendants of Charles Stewart Mott, the industrialist who created the foundation that bears his name, have been accused of cheating employees at a sugar company out of an opportunity to sell shares in their retirement plan at an attractive price…

and this from SFWMD when they used to be mensches.

http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/rog_2009_0814.pdf

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation gave away more than $100 million
in 2006. Among the 545 grants were $100,000 to the Civil Society
Institute in Druzhby Narodiv, Ukraine, and $300,000 to the Genesee
County Land Bank Authority in Flint, Mich. Is it too much to ask that next
year’s grants include employment assistance to Belle Glade and
Clewiston?
The Mott Foundation. Kings of Pollution and Poverty.
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So that’s the Mott Foundation and there seems to be an issue with the pension fund. It’s look like from the articles that everyone was on board with deal Charlie made for the land. What happen?
No. really maybe those three on the top can fill us – Robert Coker, Judy Sanchez or Bubba Wade. What happened? Why the hold out?
Are you just holding out to make more money on that land for the pension fund? Is this what is destroying our chances of clean water and no more discharges?

Throwback Thurs: What was penny a pound and make the polluter pay?

Throwback Thurs: What was penny a pound and make the polluter pay?

As always, if you have something to add please add it.

What was penny a pound?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoration_of_the_Everglades

“Restoration of the Everglades, however, briefly became a bipartisan cause in national politics. A controversial penny-a-pound (2 cent/kg) tax on sugar was proposed to fund some of the necessary changes to be made to help decrease phosphorus and make other improvements to water. State voters were asked to support the tax, and environmentalists paid $15 million to encourage the issue. Sugar lobbyists responded with $24 million in advertising to discourage it and succeeded; it became the most expensive ballot issue in state history.[62] How restoration might be funded became a political battleground and seemed to stall without resolution. However, in the 1996 election year, Republican senator Bob Dole proposed that Congress give the State of Florida $200 million to acquire land for the Everglades. Democratic Vice President Al Gore promised the federal government would purchase 100,000 acres (400 km2) of land in the EAA to turn it over for restoration. Politicking reduced the number to 50,000 acres (200 km2), but both Dole’s and Gore’s gestures were approved by Congress.

http://aec.ifas.ufl.edu/agcommcase/sugar.html

The purpose of this case study was to examine the impact that environmental activism can have on agriculture by focusing on the Florida sugar industry’s reaction during the 1996 “sugar tax” amendment campaign. During the campaign, proponents and opponents of the three proposed Everglades-related amendments to Florida’s constitution spent more than $40 million to sway the public. As a result of the public relations and political campaigns, communicators from Florida agricultural industries realized that they must increase their efforts to project a positive public image.

In 1996, the issue finally was contested when a small, but well-funded environmental activist group named Save Our Everglades Committee authored three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, collected enough signatures to get the proposals on the November 1996 ballot, and began a campaign aimed at voters in support of the amendments (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997). The Florida sugar industry spent $24 million and the Save Our Everglades Committee (SOE) spent over $14 million on the most expensive public relations campaign in the state’s history (Marcus, 1997). The three proposed amendments were as follows:

• Amendment Four: if passed, this amendment would put a penny-a-pound tax on all sugar grown in Florida. If passed, it has been estimated that sugar farmers would have had to pay $1 billion (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).
• Amendment Five: this proposed amendment, commonly known as the “polluters pay” amendment stated that those in the Everglades Agricultural Area “who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection area or the Everglades Agricultural area shall be primarily responsible” for paying the costs of clean-up (Kleindienst, 1997).
• Amendment Six: this amendment was designed to establish a state trust fund reserved for Everglades clean-up.

The fight

For several months before Election Day in November, Florida voters were the targets of television and radio advertisements, direct mail pieces, persuasive phone calls, and door-to-door campaigning — all related to the proposed amendments. The sugar industry, which is comprised of two large corporations, a farming cooperative, and numerous small, independent farmers, was unprepared to face a serious challenge from a well-organized activist group. In addition, the industry was surprised by early polls that indicated widespread public support for the measures.

The sugar industry considered the proposed amendments a threat to its very existence. Seldom if ever before had a single agricultural commodity been singled out as “primarily responsible” for nonpoint-source pollution (pollution that is not the result of a direct, detectable environmental accident or contamination). One sugar industry statement said that “there are few times in the life of a business when one event can have a literal life or death impact; for U. S. Sugar and the Florida sugar industry, the threat of the $1 billion tax was such an event” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).

For two months, the public relations battle continued, with each side of the argument accusing the other of distorting facts and deceiving the public. On November 6, Amendment Four was defeated, while Amendments Five and Six passed. Although the second two amendments passed, the sugar industry claimed the victory since the penny-per-pound tax was voted down.

Over the course of the campaign, the sugar industry responded to being referred to as “Big Sugar” (a derogatory term) by attacking the founders of SOE. The industry referred to chairperson Mary Barley as “a millionaire land development heiress” and to financial supporter Paul Tudor Jones as a “mega-wealthy Connecticut commodities broker” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997). In addition to attempting to promote a negative image of SOE, the sugar industry also aired television and radio advertising portraying employees of the South Florida Water Management District (the regulatory agency with primary jurisdiction over the Everglades) as bureaucrats with a reputation for squandering public money on luxuries such as limousines and jet planes. This particular advertisement provoked then-Governor Lawton Chiles (who had remained quiet about the amendments issues thus far) to write a letter to the sugar industry chastising it for intentionally damaging the reputation of the water management district’s employees (Marcus, 1997).

saveeg

The sugar industry also distributed a number of press releases geared toward informing the public about the progress the sugar industry had already made toward cleaning up farm run-off. The message conveyed in several of the releases (that phosphorous levels in farm water had been reduced by 68% in just three years of voluntary management practices) was well-received by the mass media. In addition, just two weeks before the election, the start of the sugar harvest was delayed so that almost 2,000 employees could go door-to-door and personally ask communities to vote “no” (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).”

An amazing effort by Save the Everglades!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polluter_pays_principle

In environmental law, the polluter pays principle is enacted to make the party responsible for producing pollution responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment. It is regarded as a regional custom because of the strong support it has received in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Community (EC) countries.

http://www.everglades.org/2012/02/enforce-polluters-pay/

(Miami Herald LTE, Jan 31, 2012) For 15 years Florida taxpayers have been carrying dirty water for the sugar billionaires. When Florida’s voters passed the Polluters Pay Amendment to Florida Constitution, the sugar industry was supposed to pay 100 percent of their pollution cleanup costs. In one of the most cynical abdications of governance in history, the Legislature has refused to implement Polluters Pay. In doing so, they have dumped billions in extra property taxes on the homeowners of South Florida and enabled Big Sugar to dump millions of tons of excess pollution on the Everglades.

So not only do the sugar billionaires get unearned taxpayer dollars through unnecessary federal import quotas and subsidies, but they get their pollution cleanup costs paid by the taxpayers of South Florida. Our legislators need to swear off their addiction to sugar campaign money and make them pay all their cleanup costs.

Albert Slap, Key Biscayne

Fast forward to our present legislators and Rick Scott and you’ll hear in the video they changed the law.

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-make-polluters-pay-in-everglades/2109203

The measure, HB 7065, would rewrite the state’s plan to clean pollution flowing from farms in the Everglades’ agricultural zones to the protection areas in the south. Supporters say the legislation is needed to codify the agreement between Scott and the federal government that calls on Florida to spend $880 million over 12 years to build storm water treatment and water storage to intercept runoff from the farms, preventing further pollution of an ecosystem that is vital to the state’s economy, environment and drinking water needs.

The legislation, though, does far more than that. It would roll back the enforcement of water discharge permits, clearing the way for farming operations to pollute regardless of how much the state erred in issuing them a permit or policing it. That opens a door for polluters and increases the pressure on regulators at the South Florida Water Management District to follow the Legislature’s lead in going soft on the industry. Even the district opposes that measure. It would rather keep the permitting process intact than create a public impression that the system is corrupt.

The measure also caps the industry’s financial obligation for funding the cleanup. While the legislation would extend the $25 per acre agriculture tax until 2024 — eight years longer than under current law — it holds that those payments and improved management practices would “fulfill” the industry’s obligation for the cleanup under Florida’s “Polluter Pay” requirement in the state Constitution.

That is an outright sellout. Extending the agriculture tax generates less than $7 million per year — pennies compared to the $880 million that taxpayers will spend to treat the polluted water. The very governor who forced the water management districts to cut their budgets now intends to ask Florida taxpayers to commit $32 million a year for 12 years for this program — all in addition to the money that will come from property owners in South Florida. Meanwhile the industry responsible for two-thirds of the pollution entering the Everglades walks away from any long-term obligations even before the new water projects are in place.

Just two weeks into the legislative session, HB 7065 has sailed through two committees and is headed for the House floor. This bill has leadership’s blessing, which is why Scott and the Senate are likely the last defense. Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-New Port Richey, who is shepherding the Senate bill, which is much better, needs to do what the House and several of his bay area counterparts failed to do and insist that the polluters pay their share. Shifting these costs onto the public is unfair, and every dollar the state spends on behalf of polluters is a dollar it won’t have for police, schools and other legitimate priorities.

http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=13332

Audubon and other organizations have objected to these changes to the Everglades Forever Act. We are hoping for some serious discussions about increasing the amount of money sugar growers pay to clean up the pollution coming off their land. We have also objected to the part of the bill that nullifies enforcement of discharge permits. This section of the bill seems deliberately written to eliminate the basis of a recent legal challenge to three discharge permits for the dirtiest Everglades farms.

The Senate companion bill – SB 768 – has none of the offending provisions.

Why Your Voice is Important

The sugar industry has dozens of lobbyists.Money has been given to legislators and political committees. Many members of the Florida House have already made up their mind on this bill. Some have been, by their own admission, heavily lobbied by the sugar industry.

– See more at: http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=13332#sthash.Lbu29sfm.dpuf

 hypocracy

“Back when he first ran for governor of Florida as a self-styled outsider, Rick Scott lambasted his opponent in the Republican primary for taking campaign money from U.S. Sugar, one of the worst corporate polluters of the Everglades.

Scott indignantly squeaked that Bill McCollum had been “bought and paid for” by U.S. Sugar. He said the company’s support of McCollum was “disgusting.”

“I can’t be bought,” Scott declared. Seriously, that’s what the man said. Stop gagging and read on.

Four years later, the governor’s re-election campaign is hungrily raking in money from U.S. Sugar, more than $534,000 so far.”

 So to review, and please if I got this wrong help me out!
In 1996 the Save the Everglades Committee authored three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, collected enough signatures to get the proposals on the November 1996 ballot.

Amendment Four: if passed, this amendment would put a penny-a-pound tax on all sugar grown in Florida. If passed, it has been estimated that sugar farmers would have had to pay $1 billion (U.S. Sugar Corporation, 1997).
Amendment Five: this proposed amendment, commonly known as the “polluters pay” amendment stated that those in the Everglades Agricultural Area “who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection area or the Everglades Agricultural area shall be primarily responsible” for paying the costs of clean-up (Kleindienst, 1997).
Amendment Six: this amendment was designed to establish a state trust fund reserved for Everglades clean-up.

We lost the penny-a -pound tax but we got polluters pay and the Everglades trust. Then under Rick Scott, The measure, HB 7065, would rewrite the state’s plan to clean pollution flowing from farms in the Everglades’ agricultural zones to the protection areas in the south. Supporters say the legislation is needed to codify the agreement between Scott and the federal government that calls on Florida to spend $880 million over 12 years to build storm water treatment and water storage to intercept runoff from the farms, preventing further pollution of an ecosystem that is vital to the state’s economy, environment and drinking water needs.

What it ended up doing was rolling back the enforcement of water discharge permits, clearing the way for farming operations to pollute regardless of how much the state erred in issuing them a permit or policing it. This opens a door for polluters and increases the pressure on regulators at the South Florida Water Management District to follow the Legislature’s lead in going soft on the industry.

Then, the very governor who forced the water management districts to cut their budgets now intends to ask Florida taxpayers to commit $32 million a year for 12 years for this program — all in addition to the money that will come from property owners in South Florida. Meanwhile the industry responsible for two-thirds of the pollution entering the Everglades walks away from any long-term obligations even before the new water projects are in place.

So we went from polluters paying to us paying, the voters.

Remember us.

Slick.

Sick.

Slicky RIcky

omg

But don’t forget folks your getting ten bucks back on your inflated cell phone bill and no taxes on your textbooks.

Where was the news when this happened?

So it all comes down to one thing really. We have to make sure that we have legislators that cannot be bought off by an industry that pollutes, that really does nothing for our economy and fills the pockets of corrupt politicians. We have to pay attention and we must vote.

 

Our Fairy Godmother Mary Barley

Our Fairy Godmother Mary Barley

Mary Barley

Mary Barley

For some great amazing reason there are many of us that walk around with our water issues in our head. All day long. In our dreams. It’s what we think about when we are driving the car and when we wake up in the morning. It’s what has brought us together. The overwhelming need to fix this.

Way before we were doing this Mary Barley was on the case.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_godmother

Fairy Godmothers are magically-gifted women who monitor magical forces across the kingdoms. Whenever events are right for a fairy tale to recur, the relevant Fairy Godmother steps in to make sure that the tale in question runs its course with as few fatalities as possible.

Mary Barley has been watching out for our clean water for a long time. She has fought the dragons. She has the vision of the Everglades, of clean water, of no more discharges.

http://www.upperkeysfoundation.org/advisory-board/mary-barley/

Having served as Chairperson of The Everglades Foundation since her husband’s untimely death in 1995 in a plane crash while on Everglades business, Mary Barley currently serves as vice chairperson of the Foundation. She is also President of The Everglades Trust, and serves on the Boards of the National Coalition for Marine Conservation, World Wildlife Fund Marine Leadership Committee, Atlantic Salmon Federation (U.S.), and the Sierra Club Foundation.

In her fight for Everglades restoration and taxpayer equity, Mary has crisscrossed not only the State of Florida but the nation, to bring the plight of America’s Everglades to the public’s attention.

As one of the nation’s preeminent Everglades conservationists, Mary spearheaded the passage of two Everglades protection amendments to the Florida Constitution.

http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/2008/1105/mary-barley-crusades-behind-the-scenes-for-the-everglades

For more than a decade, Barley has waged a campaign to save the Everglades, one unprecedented for engaging all the region’s power players (some of them grudgingly, to be sure) to work for real change across a collapsing ecosystem. A self-described “environmental rabblerouser,” Barley is a millionaire widow who took up her husband’s cause after his death in a 1995 plane crash that occurred as he was on his way to meet with the US Army Corps of Engineers about the Everglades.

The next year Barley faced off with the region’s potent sugar industry herself, helping win a state constitutional amendment requiring polluters to bear the brunt of cleanup costs. In 2000, she was there when President Clinton committed to an $8 billion restoration effort.

The Everglades Foundation

The Everglades Foundation was formed by a group of outdoor enthusiasts, environmentalists and residents of Florida who were concerned over the decline of the Everglades and the resulting damage in the nearby natural and protected areas such as Florida Bay. The original founding members, George Barley, a wealthy Orlando developer, and billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, spearheaded the organization’s growth, and shared the same concern over the steady decline of the environmental balance in this unique and delicate ecosystem, due to poor water management and pollution.[2]

The Foundation was created and founded in 1993, and is currently operated as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. This organization is supported by noteworthy performers, professional athletes, and business persons. Included in the list is Jimmy Buffett and golfer Jack Nicklaus.

George Barely unfortunately died in an airplane crash on the way to meet to acoe.

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/06/25/obituaries/george-barley-61-everglades-protector.html

Published: June 25, 1995

MIAMI, June 24— George McKim Barley Jr., a real estate developer and leader of efforts to preserve the Everglades, died on Friday morning in a plane crash near his home in Orlando, Fla. He was 61.

Mr. Barley, Florida’s leading opponent of price supports for the sugar industry, was on his way to Jacksonville to meet with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the restoration of the Everglades when his chartered twin-engine Beechcraft 58 went down. The Federal Aviation Administration said engine failure might have caused the crash.

Mr. Barley was widely known for his statewide campaign to levy a penny-a-pound tax on Florida sugar to help pay for pollution damage to the Everglades.

Mr. Barley, who was born in Jacksonville and graduated from Harvard University in 1956, founded George Barley Inc., a real estate brokerage and consulting company, in 1961.

Mr. Barley is survived by his wife, Mary, and three daughters, Lauren, Catherine and Mary, also of Orlando, and five grandchildren.

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1995-11-21/news/9511200586_1_air-orlando-beechcraft-baron-barley

Mary Barley is the President of the Everglades Trust.

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2015/06/it-is-time-for-every-state-legislator.html

Mary Barley, president of the Trust whose husband, George was a founding member of the Everglades Foundation, said in a statement: “As toxic algae and pollution threaten our waterways, we draw attention to the hypocrisy of politicians who claim to care about our environment, but instead protect the corporate interests, like Big Sugar, that contribute tens of thousands of dollars to their campaigns.”

http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2011/07/when-did-mike-collins-start-taking.html?m=1

I read somewhere that Mary Barley put a big billboard near Mike Collins house. LOL That is so awesome.

Here is Mary Barley’s video from the Big Sugar Summit.

Thank You Mary Barley for caring about the Everglades and our water and caring about us up in the Treasure Coast!

Then this Happened: Amendment One Lawsuit!

So last week I wrote this

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/06/20/stealing-amendment-1-money-should-be-a-crime/

The legislature taketh and then they taketh some more.

“How do I know the funds will be spent wisely?
Florida’s conservation programs have a great track record of spending these funds wisely. Amendment 1 ensures that funds are used solely for conservation purposes and cannot be used for any other purpose by the Legislature. Using the state’s existing successful programs as a model, objective criteria will continue to determine how funds are spent in order to keep politics out of the process.

Now that Amendment 1 has passed, who will be in charge of the money?
While citizens can dedicate funding for water and land conservation in the state constitution, we cannot appropriate funds via the constitution. Appropriations are solely the Legislature’s responsibility.”

Citizen Amendments explained by the University of California.

http://www.iandrinstitute.org/Florida.htm

“FLORIDA

Florida’s constitution of 1968 allows citizens to amend the constitution by initiative. The initiative provision was first put to use in 1976, when voters adopted an amendment sponsored by Governor Ruben Askew requiring public disclosure of campaign contributions. During the period 1968-2006, voters over 80 percent of initiated amendments, the highest approval rate among active states. Most amendments have been placed on the ballot by the legislature — of the 110 amendments approved through 2006, 22 were initiatives and 88 were legislative measures.

The state legislature and courts have frequently sought to curtail citizen lawmaking. In response to passage of the first initiative in 1976, the legislature approved bills that banned the collection of signatures at polling places, and imposed a 10-cent-per-signature “verification fee” on submitted petitions.

In 2000, environmentalists won a major victory with passage of an initiative mandating creation of a high-speed rail system capable of speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour, and in 2002 voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a minimum living space for pregnant pigs, an amendment that was ridiculed by some officials as trivializing the constitution. Unhappy with these amendments, in 2003 Governor Jeb Bush vetoed funding for the high speed rail project and in 2004 led a successful initiative campaign to repeal the high-speed amendment. In 2006 the legislature placed an amendment on the ballot requiring a 60 percent affirmative vote to approve initiated constitutional amendments. With the passage of the 60-percent majority amendment, Florida became one of only two states in the nation to require a supermajority for constitutional amendments, and the only initiative state with such a requirement.

In recent years, state courts have been very aggressive enforcing the single subject rule, striking several measures from the ballot after signatures had already been collected.”

Remember the part about the single subject rule.

Our legislature is making is harder and harder for us to have a voice.

muchness

Anything to gag us. Because we elected kings, queens, lords apparently they feel like they have no responsibility towards us. Only for their corporate welfare.

Any group of people that have taken away my right to free speech have got to go.

a room full of voters

a room full of voters

My friends worked really hard for amendment one. Then they worked hard begging for land to build reservoir only to have our water management district, our legislatures and rick scott kicked us and our water in the heads.

The legislature are unable to follow directions.

Then today this happened.

http://postonpolitics.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2015/06/22/breaking-enviro-groups-sue-legislature-over-amendment-1-spending/

Three environmental groups filed a lawsuit this afternoon against the Florida legislature, claiming lawmakers misappropriated funds intended for land and water conservation and land purchases to protect the environment.

The 10-page lawsuit was filed by EarthJustice, a non-profit public interest law firm that has represented environmental groups in more than 20-years of lawsuit over restoration of the Everglades. The groups who launched the lawsuit are the Florida Wildlife Federation, St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation.

“The constitutional amendment is clear,” said Earthjustice attorney David Guest. “A third of the tax on real estate deals is to be used to prevent every last inch of Florida land from getting chewed up by development. But most lawmakers are simply not listening. That’s why we have to go to court.”

The lawsuit was filed in Leon County Circuit Court in Tallahassee.

I just have one word. YAY!

Here is the brief. It’s like poetry.

http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/Complaint%20Concerning%20Constitutional%20Challenge%20To%20Statute%20Or%20Ordinance.pdf

This past weekend we got to listen  both David Guest and Manley Fuller.

Who does this stuff? Hero’s do.

So who is David Guest?

http://earthjustice.org/about/staff/david-guest#

Personal Story

As managing attorney for the Earthjustice office in Tallahassee, I have savored waging litigation wars with big corporations and their friends in government agencies. In courtrooms around Florida I have tried environmental cases for almost 30 years. In one way or another, they have been mostly about water. Before development, half of Florida was under water during the wet season and its 1,500 miles of coastline were teeming with life. But its beauty invited its consumption. Millions of acres were drained and converted into agricultural, industrial, and urban developments. As a result, rivers and lakes are being polluted and closed off to the public, ground waters are being depleted by uncontrolled withdrawals from aquifers, and the ecosystems that depend on water are threatened.

Most of my career has focused on going to court to fight for everything that can still be saved. Protecting rivers and lakes has not just required many weeks of bitterly contested trials against big corporations in their hometowns. It has also meant late nights poring over ancient maps, military records, and 150-year-old handwritten diaries. It has meant interviewing hundreds of witnesses in dingy restaurants and motels. (One interview was interrupted while the witness removed a 4-foot Black snake from the living room and chased it out the screen door with a broom.) And it has meant many hot days wading waist-deep in alligator infested rivers, marshes, and swamps, finding relief only with the driving rain of the late afternoon.

In the course of my work for Earthjustice, I have moved to the cities of the phosphate mining district of Southwest Florida for trials long and short. I once moved my whole office to a town of 3,000 on the shore of Lake Okeechobee for a six-week jury trial. And I have spent weeks at a time living out of motel rooms in small coastal towns while trying cases to protect manatees from speeding motor boats, estuary sea life from marina development, and sea turtles from the destruction of their nesting beaches.

My earlier water pollution cases were against the EPA, pulp mills and sugar companies. Now, I have come to realize that water contamination is an increasingly serious public health threat to disempowered people. My new cases are trying to halt the growing number of algae outbreaks in Florida lakes, streams and estuaries that kill wildlife and sicken humans.

Solving the hardest environmental problems by taking on the worst actors head-to-head can change people’s attitudes about what is possible. That’s why I’m with Earthjustice.

and here is a good article about Manly Fuller, President of the Florida Wildlife Federation.

http://www.floridasprings.org/protecting/help/good/citizen_wakulla/

Manley Fuller has a history of speaking out for rivers. First, in 1982, there was the battle over the extent of protections offered by the North Carolina Wilderness Act — he succeeded in getting a tract of wetlands and rare coastal peat forest protected. Then there was the controversy over the proposed dam on the New River along the North Carolina-Virginia border — the dam was never built. Then there was the dam on Alligator River . . . and many others

I’ve been involved in land conservation and battles over wetlands and rivers for twenty years now,” Fuller tells me over the phone, “But this time I wasn’t actively looking for a local conservation issue. This problem I just couldn’t avoid because it was right in front of my face.”

IMG_1732

Here is the video from Saturday.

and this is a clip from our rally last summer.

In 1993, Fuller, who is president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, moved into a small ranch house two miles south of Wakulla Springs State Park. Like others, he was drawn to Wakulla County because it’s still quiet and rural and home to one of the most beautiful spring-fed rivers in the state. Wakulla Springs, however, also lies just eight miles from the sprawling interface of Tallahassee, and most residents knew it was only a matter of time before the developers began knocking at their doors.

Here is his video from the Big Sugar Summit

Our legislators may have lost their muchiness but the people who want clean water still have their humanity and for that I am thankful.

Sierra Club’s Big Sugar Summit a HIT! A Call to Action!

bigsugarsummit

Sierra Club’s Big Sugar Summit a HIT! A Call to Action!

Many thanks to Sierra Club, Florida  for an amazing day and the yummy food. Sierra Club Florida packed a day with every thing we really need to know to begin our journey to be experts on the subject of Big Sugar. You could done an entire day on each section but I think ( and correct me  if I’m wrong) this gave us the perfect overview as a place to start. I can see each part be broken down more because there is a lot information to get and loads of work to do.

Lucky for all of you there is loads of video. I shot a lot but there was an awesome videographer there who shot every single moment and that will be available soon. He will include all the bells and whistles and bless him for doing so. So consider this your very long teaser to when the big version comes out. A call to action!  I’m going to put all my video here and then I’m going to break it down.  When the whole video is complete you’ll be the first to know.

There are so many aspects to be interested in and I can see us picking the one or a few to really focus on. So I’m hoping we can put committee together to work on that special subject we were interested in. Saturday was was our associate degrees in Big Sugar. Now we need to work towards our BS, MS and PHD.

DSC_0013

a packed room

There were a lot of different people and I hoped you all walked away with the good feeling I did- a feeling of hope that we can find our way through this together. There are things that must be done and we need to find a way to do it. WE

The water must go south. We must stop the discharges, save our drinking water and stop the salt water intrusion. We must.

We must help our friends the Miccosukee’s to fix their water issues.

Not listening is no longer an option.

So here you go. This should keep you busy for a while and give you something to think about. Please share in the most positive way.

Sierra Club’s Big Sugar Summit

Introduction by Frank Jackalone, Frank is the Sierra Club’s senior field organizing manager for Florida.

DSC_0002

frank

Here is Mary Barley. Our Fairy Godmother! Thank you Mary Barley for your wisdom and leadership!

DSC_0003

mary barley

Dr Gail Hollander ,Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University. Author, Raising Cane in the “Glades”: The Global Sugar Trade and the transformation of Florida.

Dr Stephen Davis is wetland ecologist at the Everglades Foundation.

Richard Grosso, Director, Environmental and Land Use Law Clinic, Shepard Broad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University

Julia Hathaway

Dr Enrique Cesar Santejo Silveira
Molecular Oncology Research Center
Barretos Cancer Hospital
Barretos, SP, Brazil

Jim Stormer
Retired Environmental Administrator, Palm Beach County Health Department

DSC_0038

David Guest, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice, Florida Office

Wolfram Alderson , Founding member of the Institute for Responsible  Nutrition.

Chairman Colly Billie, Miccosukee Tribe Keynote Speaker

Shelia Krumholtz
Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics

Daren Bakst
Research Fellow in Agriculture Policy, Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, The Heritage Foundation.

Manley Fuller, President Florida Wildlife Federation

Hope you all enjoy and get something from the many different views!

Stealing amendment 1 money should be a crime.

Stealing amendment 1 money should be a crime.

We need an amendment that says if lawmakers do not support our citizen amendments they get charged with a crime. After all it is stealing.

CSFTS logo

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article24812611.html

Instead, as Craig Pittman and Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times reported, that great pile of Amendment 1 money is going to pay for items that normally would have been funded out of the regular budget. For stuff like park maintenance.

But the legislators, in cynical disregard of their constituents’ intent, earmarked $13.65 million of the Amendment 1 money to bail out a water storage project that auditors from the South Florida Water Management District had found was wildly out of whack in terms of cost effectiveness.

That’s just $3.75 million less than what Florida Forever will be getting for new land purchases.

The $13.65 million will bail out agricultural outfits like Alico, with major Florida holdings in citrus, ranching, farming and the very lucrative operations known as “water farming.” Alico is the largest of landowners around Lake Okeechobee paid to store water behind earth berms, meant to keep it from exacerbating the problems of the polluted estuaries of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. As the Tampa Bay Times reported, a 57-page auditor’s report last year found these water farming contracts cost the public 10 times more if these than storage projects had been built on public land. Water farming is a massive boondoggle.

Which might have been beside the point, given that the South Florida Water Management District had run out of money to fund water farming anyway. But all that Florida Forever money presented the likes of Alico another fat funding source.

http://floridawaterlandlegacy.org/sections/page/faq

The money will be used for water and land conservation, management, and restoration in Florida. The funds dedicated by Amendment 1 will:

  • Restore, manage, and acquire lands necessary to protect Florida’s drinking water sources and protect the water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams;
  • Protect our beaches and shores;
  • Protect and restore the Everglades and other degraded natural systems and waterways;
  • Manage fish and wildlife habitat, protect forests and wetlands, and restore conservation lands that are an important part of Florida’s economy and quality of life;
  • Provide funding to manage existing state and local natural areas, parks, and trails for water supply, habitat and recreation.

All this will be achieved with no increase in taxes.

Why did we need to amend the state constitution? 

Since 2009, the Legislature has dramatically reduced funding for water and land protection, cutting key programs by more than 95%. Amendment 1 would ensure that water and land conservation projects are adequately funded – the funds cannot be diverted to other purposes – without increasing taxes. The only way to secure significant, sustainable resources for water and land conservation, management and restoration for the long-term is to take this issue directly to Florida voters through a constitutional amendment.

The legislature taketh and then they taketh some more.

How do I know the funds will be spent wisely?
Florida’s conservation programs have a great track record of spending these funds wisely. Amendment 1 ensures that funds are used solely for conservation purposes and cannot be used for any other purpose by the Legislature. Using the state’s existing successful programs as a model, objective criteria will continue to determine how funds are spent in order to keep politics out of the process.

Florida Forever and its predecessor Preservation 2000, for example, have been the most successful state land conservation programs in the nation, protecting more than 2.4 million acres of critical water resources, natural areas, wildlife habitat, parks, greenways and trails. Restoration of the Florida Everglades is the most comprehensive ecological restoration project in history. Florida’s land managing agencies and water management districts have done a tremendous job restoring degraded natural systems, including the state’s longleaf pine forests, the upper St. Johns River watershed and Rookery Bay. Amendment 1 ensures funding so that this critical restoration work will continue.

Now that Amendment 1 has passed, who will be in charge of the money?
While citizens can dedicate funding for water and land conservation in the state constitution, we cannot appropriate funds via the constitution. Appropriations are solely the Legislature’s responsibility. Fortunately, Florida has a number of excellent programs already in place for making project selection decisions. The state has a stellar track record of selecting conservation projects based on objective criteria and science, which includes review by citizens and oversight panels composed of experts from the appropriate fields. The existing Acquisition and Restoration Council is one good example. Amendment 1 does not change these existing project selection systems. So while the Legislature must appropriate the funds, the existing tried and true systems in place for project selection would not change now that Amendment 1 has been ratified.

Oh! Remember this?

https://cyndi-lenz.com/2015/04/15/pr-firm-plays-both-sides-of-the-road-makes-stupid-remarks/

One source for money to revive the water-farming contracts was money from the taxpayers from the rest of the state, via the Legislature. But the water district’s governing board, under state law, is not allowed to hire its own lobbyists to pursue funding.

Instead, Alico did it for them.

The company employed 16 lobbyists last year, and it turned them loose on the Legislature to get $13 million to pump new life into the project. Alico spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said the company was just helping out a state agency in need, and its lobbyists did not specifically ask for money for Alico’s own contract.”

Rebekah Jones

Geographer & Environmental Enthusiast

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