Sunday, May 7, 2017

Chris McVoy, PhD, a former Lake Worth commissioner gets quoted in the Tampa Bay Times.

Two excerpts from reporter Craig Pittman’s article are below and McVoy is quoted twice about a reservoir in Palm Beach County to “Send The Water South!”. A future reservoir is not looking so promising now (more about that below). The Tampa Bay Times, by the way, is the winner of 12 Pulitzer Prizes.

Don’t expect to see any quotes from McVoy in The Palm Beach Post any time soon.

Prior to city elections this year in Lake Worth the editor at the Post called McVoy an “ineffective gadfly” as an elected commissioner. The Post endorsed a young newcomer to politics who went on to win. In 2016 no doubt many here in the City questioned the need having a scientist on the Commission following the now-famous “inglorious demise of Consent Agenda item 9C”:
Resolution No. 38-2016 - implement a solution to long standing water discharge issues plaguing the City.
Within the first 2 minutes of that Commission meeting “Resolution No. 38-2016” was pulled from the agenda never to be seen again. All the people who came down from Martin County in support of that agenda item were quickly ushered out and sent back home. The whole thing was well. . . let’s say it was indeed inglorious.

Not even a week has gone by and already supporters such as McVoy of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee see the reality: chances are it’s never going to be constructed. And even if it is, it probably won’t work. For 1½ days after SB10 passed and Gov. Scott signed the bill there was much jubilation by supporters of a reservoir — then the celebration stopped — apparently they all got around to reading what the bill actually does.

Without further ado, use this link for the article in the Times; here are the two excerpts:

     In horse-trading with the House, the reservoir that [State Sen. Joe] Negron got is a smaller entity than he one he originally wanted. It won’t provide the full range of benefits for the entire Everglades as the original one would have.
     And instead of being built on property now planted in sugar, it will be on a former sugar plantation called Talisman that was bought by the taxpayers in 1996 — to become a reservoir.
     “Twenty years later we’re still talking about the same parcel,” Eikenberg [President, Everglades Foundation] said.
     If Congress says yes to the project too, then figure five to seven years for construction, based on the Army Corps’ track record for building similar projects.

and. . .

     McVoy [Chris McVoy, PhD] also questioned how the new reservoir will release unpolluted water into the Everglades when the state’s current treatment areas for stormwater are already at capacity.
     He noted that Negron’s bill didn’t specify where the water will flow out of the reservoir, and pointed out that both the Everglades and the sugar companies may wind up fighting over who gets that flow in dry times.
     “That’s a barn-door size loophole,” McVoy said. [emphasis added]
     The thing to remember about the reservoir in particular and Everglades restoration in general, he added, is that “this whole thing is part science and part what you can get politically.”

On the subject of “what you can get politically”* you may be interested in reading what State Sen. Jeff Clemens wrote as SB10 moved through the State Senate prior to being signed by Gov. Scott:

     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.

“[T]he push for southern storage has become more political than science-driven”, wrote Sen. Jeff Clemens.

*Also on the topic of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, read an editorial in the TCPalm that calls all this work a “cusp of a fix.”
     The word cusp means, “a point that marks the beginning of a change”. Residents in the cities of Pahokee, South Bay, and Belle Glade may have a problem with that choice of words. Also note that septic tanks leaking along the IRL was not addressed in the TCPalm editorial.