Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Press Release: Dozens of elected leaders ask Governor and Legislature to purchase sugar lands

For immediate release:

Dozens of elected leaders ask Governor and Legislature to purchase sugar lands

Senator Joe Negron praised at Stuart & Captiva events

(April 29, 2015) As toxic green algae once again spoiled the St. Lucie River, elected officials, community and business leaders, chamber of commerce officials, and environmental activists in Lee and Martin counties ratcheted up demands to stop dumping water to the coasts and buy sugar land to send it south to the Everglades instead.

At events in Stuart and on Captiva Island, advocates released letters signed by 25 municipal and county-level elected officials and resolutions approved by 11 counties and cities resolutions asking Florida Governor Rick Scott and Legislative leaders to fund the purchase of 46,000 acres of land owned by the US Sugar Corporation.  Signatories included mayors, council members and commissioners from Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Lee, Collier, St. Lucie and Martin counties, including the City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado .

Leaders also thanked Senator Joe Negron for his plan to introduce legislation that could fund the U.S Sugar purchase through Amendment 1 and urged him to keep going until the job is done.

The events focused on ecological and economic loss backed by a Florida Realtors study that showed that polluting the St. Lucie had resulted in millions of dollars in home value losses.

The Stuart event had 90 attendees. Participants waved signs and unfurled a banner saying “With Joe we stand, let’s buy the land” that was signed by rally attendees and will be delivered to the Senator once he is back at his district office between the regular and special legislative sessions.  Speakers included Martin County Commissioner Ed Fielding and City of Stuart Commissioners Troy McDonald and St. Lucie Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky.

Meanwhile,approximately 75 people attended the Captiva event highlighting the interconnection of clean water to the value of their businesses. Twenty business leaders spoke out from  businesses representing   the Sanibel Captiva Association of Realtors, Chambers of Commerce from Sanibel Captiva and Fort Myers Beach , Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau and  Jensens Twin Palms Marina, restaurant,tour boat operators,  hotel owners and fishing guides with a unified message to buy the land.

Last week, the Army Corps stopped dumping water from Lake Okeechobee because water leading to the St. Lucie was covered in green slime. It has since been tested positive for blue-green algae and health advisory signs have gone up.

There has been broad public support for exercising the 48,600 acre purchase option in the US Sugar contract, but Governor Rick Scott and the Legislature have so far failed to act. As polluted water is dumped to the coasts, the Everglades’ multibillion dollar restoration project is starving for water. The solution, according to the scientific community, is to pursue 48,600 acres of sugar land to store and clean the water. 


For elected officials' letters and county and municipal resolutions in support of the U.S. Sugar purchase, click here.

For photos of today's events, go to:

East Coast event: Cris Costello, 941-914-0421, (cell), Mark Perry, 772-486-3858. West Coast event, Rae Ann Wessel, 239-246-0100