Archive for Everglades restoration

Removing people for speaking up just arouses suspicions

Environmentalist circles are buzzing about the removal of an EPA scientist from the Everglades restoration effort after he reportedly spoke against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to flush dirty water from Lake Okeechobee into Biscayne National Park, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Times writer Craig Pittman uncovered the details and also pointed out in the article that other scientists working on Everglades restoration have been removed from the project for offering alternative viewpoints or pointing out concerns.

State officials say they didn’t remove the scientist from the restoration project, according to the article.

It’s too bad when any group or organization is closed to differing viewpoints, and especially for something as important as Everglades restoration. Firing scientists and removing them from projects just for pointing out problems doesn’t solve anything — it just makes the public suspicious.

I suspect we’ll hear more about this in the future.

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Everglades projects should now get funding after veto override

Well, it has happened: the Senate approved to override President Bush’s veto of the water bill that will fund Everglades restoration and other water projects across the country, according to the Miami Herald and other reports. The House of Representatives already overrode Bush’s veto — now the Senate’s seals the deal for almost $2B in funding for Everglades projects.

Bush reportedly vetoed the bill because of the huge $23B price tag.

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A step closer to Everglades funding

Less than a week after President Bush vetoed a bill that would have funded Everglades restoration and several other water projects around the country, the U.S. House overrode that veto, according to the Sun-Sentinel and other reports. If the Senate also overrides the veto, that bill will provide funding for several projects for Everglades restoration.

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No federal funding for Everglades as president vetoes bill

The Everglades won’t be getting federal funding ($2B) as part of the Water Resources Development Act because President Bush vetoed the water restoration projects bill, the News-Press and other sources report.

In addition to the proposed Everglades funding, the bill would have given $600M to restore Picayune Strand State Forest (also in the Everglades, in southwestern Florida) and other water projects around the country.

President Bush objected to the $23B cost of the entire bill, but several legislators including Republican Senator Mel Martinez reportedly support the bill.

It’s possible we might see an override on this veto — or will we see a reworked bill with a smaller price tag?

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More water storage is needed to protect estuaries

Storing polluted water that flows out of Lake Okeechobee is one way to improve the quality of the water that flows into coastal estuaries, and that is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. But even more water storage than what the plan has prepared for is actually needed, according to an environmental conference, Naples Daily News reports.

In the article, the Everglades Foundation said it would like to see the sheet water flow south from the lake as it originally did, but that time and funding are running out so it might not happen.

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Miccosukee Tribe wants their Everglades land flooded again

Eager to see Everglades land returned to something closer to its natural state, the Miccosukee Tribe agreed to give up the chance to develop 7,900 acres of land so it could be flooded and wet again, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The South Florida Water Management District will spend $600,000 to plug a canal that drains the land. The tribe and the water district have often fought over water-flow issues in the Everglades.

There are so many things a person could say about this. One thing I could say is that it’s clear the Miccosukees are still in love with their land.

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Everglades restoration and pro ball

Watching what’s going on with the Everglades restoration is almost like watching a pro ball game. There’s lots of money involved, there are different sides volleying back and forth, and now we’re into overtime.

The latest news about Everglades restoration is keeping us on the edge of our stadium seats. The U.S. Senate recently approved of a bill that would fund the Everglades restoration, among other things, the Sun-Sentinel (and many other news outlets) reports. The Water Resources Development Act is a $23B measure to help restoration projects around the country. The White House could still veto the act, however; President Bush reportedly agrees with Everglades restoration funding, but doesn’t like that other pet projects have been added to the rest of the package, making it so expensive.

As the article points out, waiting on the funding is costing Florida, though — costing taxpayers who are footing the bill for Florida’s part in the restoration and also costing our environment. The article also says it’s possible Congress would override the president’s veto.

Yes, we’re in overtime, but when it comes to restoration, the price of the ticket just keeps going up the longer the game goes on.

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