WPTV News: Florida Senate bill seeks to control Lake Okeechobee water, brings fierce opposition from Gov. Ron DeSantis

February 10, 2022
By: Scott Sutton, Matt Sczesny
Feb 10th, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A bill filed in the Florida Senate has environmental groups and Gov. Ron DeSantis vehemently sounding off in opposition.

The surprise move by Republican senators has sparked anger across the state.

The measure, SB 2508, could discharge more water from Lake Okeechobee to the Treasure Coast and the St. Lucie Estuary.

Opponents believe if it is passed, less water would be directed south of the lake, which is a major part of Everglades restoration.

“This was sort of a sneak attack ambush,” said Scott Wagner, vice-chair of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board. “This ties our hands in terms of how we can recommend to our partner at Army Corps of Engineers, management of the lake.”

The bill is designed to give Lake Okeechobee water priority to agriculture. It is a last-minute maneuver that many say will undermine the new plan for managing water releases.