“Why was Clemons [sic] one of 3 senators voting no on SB10 a huge step toward send [sic] Lake O [Okeechobee] water south and fixing the Alger [sic, “algae”?] problem by creating a southern reservoir. Is Clemons [sic] not for environment and on Bullsugar’s [sic, s/b “Big Sugar’s”] side? Really confused.”
State Senator Jeff Clemens responds:“Hi Allen Falk. Yes, in previous campaigns I have received campaign contributions from companies that grow and process sugar, as well contributions from funders of Everglades restoration efforts and environmental activists. I am term-limited, so I am not raising any more dollars for my own campaigns.
The content in SB10 has changed significantly since its inception and is likely to change again, so there will be future votes I very well may support. In other words, this is not over.
The answer to why I’m not supportive of the bill quite yet is complicated, and involves planning for some 40-something projects across the spectrum, but I will do my best to summarize.
SB10, as it has been amended several times, has improved from its original form. But there are still many questions that are left unanswered.
There is no agreement between the state and our federal partners to execute this plan. It is hasn’t been vetted by state, water management district or University scientists as being the best way to increase flow and store water south. None of these scientists have concluded that this particular plan will reduce the blue-green algae issues faced in the counties to the north of us.
The bill bonds for $1.2 billion dollars for an unvetted plan that elevates one potential project above 30-something other important environmental projects, again without any evidence that the project(s) in the bill will solve the problem, or that they will do so in a manner that is more effective than currently approved environmental projects.
My opinion is that this bill will not result in a fix for the problem. Instead of using this bond money to accelerate planned and approved environmental projects, it is dedicated to projects that have not been appropriately studied, because the push for southern storage has become more political than science-driven. [emphasis added]
FYI, the bill also potentially privatizes water that will now be moved to the C-51 [canal], and also bans any potential future use of eminent domain in the Everglades Agricultural Area. And for those who want to take sugar land out of production, it doesn’t do any of that either.
There are many projects currently on the CERP* list that would have a more positive environmental effect on the problems we’re experiencing, including work in the C-43, the C23/24 reservoirs (north and south) and STAs [stormwater treatment areas], and projects in CEPP.†
I believe those things would be a better approach.
Again, the good news is that the bill is not finalized, and depending on changes that are likely to be made moving forward, there is a good chance I could support the final product in the future.
All the best.”
To learn more about State Senator Jeff Clemens, including contact information for his staff in Tallahassee and office in the City of Lake Worth, use this link.
From Wikipedia: “Jeff Clemens is a Democratic member of the Florida Senate, representing parts of Palm Beach County since 2012. He currently represents the 31st district, which includes Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Greenacres. He previously served one term in the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 89th district from 2010 to 2012.”‡
*Use this link for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) explained by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).
†Use this link to learn about the goals of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District.
‡FYI: Jeff Clemens was the mayor for the City of Lake Worth prior to being elected to the Florida House of Representatives.