On October 3, 2013 at 2167
Rayburn House Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Congressmen Patrick
Murphy and Trey Radel held a joint Congressional Briefing on the plight
of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers and the Indian River Lagoon.
It had a lot of ups but a couple of very notable downs:
Let's start with the “Ugly” (I mean that in a good way):
The many color photosgathered by Rep. Murphy from concerned
residents used to paint a clear picture of the extreme devastation
wrought by nutrient pollution-fed algae – the slime, goo, muck and gunk
were successfully used to make our point: Ugly, sick water is no tourist
bi-partisan nature of the briefing;
raising of the issue to a national level – Members of Congress from inside
and outside of Florida were present, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi;
many local government official panelists;
Mark Perry, Executive Director, Florida Oceanographic Institute, as a
just “good” but the BEST: the
busload of activists that put their daily lives aside to travel to D.C.
to bring their stories and demands to the powers that be.
The “Bad” is what was not discussed.
was no panelist, no Member of Congress, who talked about how the State
of Florida, with EPA’s blessing, has adopted a water quality rule that:
written by polluter lobbyists;
promoted by the state’s biggest polluters; and
two-thirds of all Florida’s flowing waters (including ALL canals, ALL
tidal creeks, ALL of South Florida flowing waters, and the majority
of the tributaries that flow into LakeOkeechobee) without
Our coastal estuaries are getting
hit with POLLUTED water from Lake “O” – it is not just the quantity, but
the very poor quality of the discharged water that is wreaking the
Until Florida politicians
have the guts to take on the state’s biggest polluters – make them pay
for pollution prevention at the source of the problem – we taxpayers
will have to pay for the cleanup.
Kudos to Jennifer Hecker of
the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for asking Representatives Murphy and Radel what Congress can do about the weak Florida pollution
rule. We will see if she gets the right answer. To see the video of the whole
proceeding click here – Hecker’s question is at 3:56:51 on the clock).
U.S. Sugar land purchase deal was all but ignored in the briefing.
We know that in order to restore the Everglades, in order to handle the large amount of water that makes its way to Lake “O”, we must send the water south – that cannot be accomplished without the land for a flow way.