By: Max Chesnes
Feb 17th, 2022
The Florida Senate Thursday approved an amended water supply bill, despite opponents’ claims that it still prioritizes Big Sugar getting the irrigation water it wants to siphon off Lake Okeechobee over the Everglades ecosystems’ health.
The Senate voted 37-2 on SB 2508, which prioritizes farmers getting water — even when drought conditions approach — over sending it south and west to the thirsty Everglades and Caloosahatchee River.
Some critics worried that keeping these rules, which haven’t been updated in over a decade, also prioritizes farming over decreasing Lake O discharges and toxic algae blooms to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.
The Senate did not allow public comments from an estimated 100 opponents who filled the chambers after some drove about six hours to Tallahassee to speak on the issue.
Fishing guides with nonpartisan nonprofit Captains for Clean Water, who rely on good water quality, traveled from all over Florida to oppose even the amended bill.
“Make no mistake, our opposition to (the bill) remains,” the organization said in a statement to TCPalm. “Even with this late-filed amendment, (the bill) is still a net negative for Florida’s environment and waterways.”