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Mark Perry of Florida Oceanographic Society says this all better than we could. Scientists estimate that the Everglades reservoir plan needs another 6,500 acres to work properly, and the sugar industry warns any expansion better come from public land. This is after Florida turned 60,000 acres into filtration for the industry's pollution and invested billions to help it meet legal requirements. Despite some Florida lawmakers' push to extend corporate welfare to billionaire sugar families, more people are asking whether it's finally time to wean the industry off public assistance.
People around the country are watching Florida. They know about our water issues. They know our estuaries are collapsing. They know the Everglades are dying. And they want to help.
These are amazing places we’re fighting for.
Sugarcane growers added to the failed legacy of “shared adversity” with their role in June’s Everglades flood. But is it realistic to expect the industry to voluntarily sacrifice to protect wildlife or tourism or even public safety?Read more
Did sugarcane growers flood the Everglades last week?
Few reporters seemed curious about how much of the wildlife emergency in their headlines was preventable. No one asked what it cost to keep fields dry in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Or how much water came off sugarcane fields.Read more
Americans pay billions to help sugar growers buy politicians. We should stop.
The US sugar program is a sprawling, complex federal handout that too few people know about. As a result, it quietly skates by, largely unquestioned, leaving a trail of destruction and tax bills. The following Q&A is just the first step toward understanding and eventually stopping the damage this massive government subsidy enables.
Sugar Program Q&A
Q: Is the sugar program actually a subsidy?
A: Absolutely. Although not a direct payment to growers, the program sets artificially high prices, guarantees buyers, guarantees profit, and blocks competition. Growing sugar is a zero-risk business thanks to US taxpayers.Read more
by Allie Preston
Leaders generally don't answer a crisis with, "Let us do nothing."
A week after the Economic Council of Martin County sponsored a robot telemarketing blitz urging residents to do nothing to support legislation to cut toxic discharges, Martin Health System’s leadership broke with the group and demanded action. As the area’s biggest employer, Martin Health System took a stand for the Treasure Coast economy and public health, demonstrating how community leaders and medical professionals respond to emergencies.
As sugar lobbyists fought with lawmakers in Tallahassee over revisions to weaken Joe Negron’s SB 10, CEO Rob Lord stood behind Martin Memorial Hospital, on a dock overlooking the St. Lucie River, and declared support for the Now Or Neverglades principles of the bill to stop toxic cyanobacteria blooms from destroying the fragile waterway. Amid rounds of applause, he voiced the need to purchase land in the Everglades Agricultural Area to store, treat, and send clean freshwater south to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, and not to coastal estuaries.
Lord and Dr. Steve Parr, director of emergency medicine, described last summer’s increases in emergency room visits when toxic algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee were at their worst. The spike in cases potentially linked to the toxins convinced them there was no other option than to treat the bloom as a public health crisis. They spoke of precautions similar to “the Ebola situation,” and warned residents of the remaining dangers lurking in the muck beneath the surface, and of effects that people who were exposed to cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) may still be years away from seeing.Read more