On February 9th 2022, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee voted to pass a bad bill Senate Bill 2508 (SB 2508) that threatens to reverse the last several years of progress in Everglades restoration. In jeopardy are: construction of the vital EAA Reservoir and the balanced approach to water management reached through the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM).
Many of you were with us during the fight to advance the EAA reservoir with Senate Bill 10 in 2017. You know it was a hard-fought battle. Now, SB 2508 seeks to undo that success. The EAA reservoir is the crown jewel of Everglades restoration. We cannot allow it to be jeopardized. There’s too much at stake. The Everglades Foundation will continue to fight to construct the EAA reservoir and reduce harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
For nearly three years, The Everglades Foundation has closely followed the rewriting of LOSOM. Last fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a plan that provided significant balance across the watershed. The plan will reduce harmful discharges by nearly 40% to both coasts and will send significant lake water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay, and will even improve agricultural water supply. This action, by the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee, threatens to upend the balance reached in LOSOM. SB 2508 jeopardizes your water supply and the strides made in the LOSOM process to combat toxic discharges and, instead, this bill protects the sugar industry.
Everglades restoration is essential, and the state of Florida must stay the course. Florida's water should be managed for the benefit of the public's water supply and environment, not for the benefit of the sugar industry. This bill could lead to an increase in harmful discharges to our precious coasts. We could see another summer lost to toxic algae blooms. We cannot accept more economic and environmental devastation resulting from short-sighted water management decisions.
The Everglades Foundation is vigorously and vocally fighting this bill. We will keep you apprised of important developments.
We must continue the progress and momentum we’ve built together to restore America’s Everglades.