Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to nix underground Everglades pumping schemes

Does this look like Everglades Restoration to you?
Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Donald Trump's U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rick Scott's appointed South Florida Water Management District are moving fast on radical underwater pumping schemes to benefit Big Sugar at the expense of the Everglades. You can stop them.

Email Federal Officials now to: OkeechobeeWatershedRestoration@usace.army.mil to oppose the use of Deep Injection and Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells in Everglades Restoration.

Talking points:

-- Using fossil-fuels to pump billions of gallons of tainted water into our aquifer is inconsistent with the goals of Everglades Restoration.

--- Deep injection and ASR well schemes threaten underground drinking aquifers with pollution.

-- Deep injection and ASR well schemes waste billions of gallons of water needed for Everglades Restoration.

-- Deep injection and ASR well schemes divert millions of dollars needed to buy land and build reservoirs on sugar land south of Lake Okeechobee so water can be stored, cleaned and sent south to the Everglades.

Read more about these Everglades well schemes in Sierra Club's testimony below)

Email your comments to: OkeechobeeWatershedRestoration@usace.army.mil

After you've submitted your comments to the Army Corps, send an email letting us know to: diana.umpierre@sierraclub.org

Sierra Club’s Statement to SFWMD Governing Board on February 9, 2017 

Yesterday you [SFWMD] sent a news release urging South Florida families and businesses to save water, to cut down on irrigation, to get through the dry season. You said “water conservation is important all year but especially now to help sustain the regional water supply”. You told us of the historic dry month we had this past November, driest since 1932. You stated that District water managers are “operating the system to save as much water as possible”.

Well, we are glad the District feels that conserving water is important. Sierra Club certainly agrees. Therefore, we cannot understand why a few days earlier you sent a news release about a so-called “historic plan” that includes throwing away billions of gallons of freshwater away permanently. That is NOT water conservation and that is certainly NOT leading by example.

Sierra would like to restate its opposition to using high-cost, energy-intensive ASR wells as part of Everglades Restoration, as these do not help restore the natural flow of clean water over the Everglades ecosystem.  And, every dollar spent on ASRs takes away a dollar away from restoration of the Everglades.  But today, let us delve into the notion of using deep injection wells as part of what should be a restoration effort.

We have a broken Everglades system with two big inter-related water problems:
- Too much Lake O water wasted, sent to tide, harming coastal estuaries; and
- Not enough going south were it used to flow to replenish aquifers, the Everglades and Florida Bay.

Algae blooms and seagrass die-offs make easy headlines, but that is not the only water crisis we have. Besides a starving Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, we simply do not have enough water flowing south to replenish the underground source of water for millions of Floridians and tourists and to help them fight saltwater intrusion that pollutes and shuts down water wells. This contributes to higher costs for public water utilities forced to look for alternative water supplies and treat salt-polluted wells to meet their water demands. These costs are passed down to all of us.

Therefore, we find it appalling that while urging us to conserve water, you seem willing to throw valuable freshwater away permanently from the water budget.

Do NOT waste OUR water and stop blocking or delaying a key CERP project that calls for additional storage and treatment in the EAA to convey more clean freshwater to the south.