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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Florida’s Governor Clueless showed up the other day for a photo-op at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam.

The mission was to display concern over the billions of gallons of cruddy water being dumped from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie River, a criminal act of pollution that’s poisoning the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon.

Hundreds of demonstrators, many worried about their jobs, showed up at the dam. Rick Scott didn’t stop to talk to them.

He spoke for a short time to the media, saying he wants to spend $40 million on a reservoir to filter some of the runoff before it can reach the estuary.

He blamed the Army Corps of Engineers for moving too slowly to upgrade the old Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee. He also blamed Congress for failing to release the money committed for Everglades restoration projects.

The governor wasn’t so chatty on the subject of Big Sugar, which has donated a pile to his political action committee with the goal of getting him re-elected.

A major reason all that lake slop is being pumped toward the residential areas of both coasts (the Caloosahatchee River carries it west) is that the cane growers don’t want it pumped in their direction.

Fearful that the dike will give way, the Corps drains Lake Okeechobee when water levels get high. Last week, the outflow was reduced from 3.1 billion gallons a day to about 1.8 billion gallons a day, still a massive deluge from what is basically a giant latrine for agricultural waste.

Since the most recent discharges from Lake O began in May, more than 1 million pounds of nitrogen and 260,000 pounds of phosphorus have been flushed into the St. Lucie River and on to the estuary.

Now we get to watch Scott, another Republican whiner about federal spending, bash the feds for not spending enough and not spending it fast enough. Somewhere in the folds of the governor’s brain has stirred a fuzzy awareness that clean healthy water is really important to Floridians, and also essential to the economy.

Ask the commercial fishermen in Stuart, the marina operators, the boat builders, the hotel owners and the restaurateurs. Ask the real-estate agents who are trying to sell waterfront lots on smelly, discolored water.

Already in crash mode is the Indian River Lagoon, which runs north from Jupiter Inlet to beyond the Kennedy Space Center. Algae blooms have decimated vast acres of sea grass, and experts suspect the outbreak was triggered by accumulated fertilizer runoff and leakage from septic tanks in Brevard and Indian River counties.

Sea grasses are the nursery for juvenile game fish and shrimp, without which the food chain collapses. At least 280 manatees have died in Brevard during the last year, along with an unusually high number of pelicans and bottlenose dolphins.

Scientists haven’t pinpointed the cause, but there’s no disagreement that the last thing the lagoon needs is a nonstop gusher of foul substances from Lake Okeechobee.

Scott isn’t wrong when he says the federal government is way behind on Everglades funding. Restoration was supposed to be a 50/50 deal with Uncle Sam, but for many years Florida has been spending more than its share.

The main obstacle is Congress — particularly Scott’s own party.

  • TZToronto

    The problem is that many of these voters will believe Scott about the failure of Congress (i.e., the Democratic President, of course) to fund the necessary improvements. They’ll fail to see the incongruity between Scott’s smaller government/get-the-feds-out-of-my-life stance (like most red-state governors) and his complaints that the feds aren’t giving enough money to the state of Florida–and they certainly won’t notice that it’s their own representatives in Congress who are standing in the way of the required funding.

  • midway54

    Florida’s hairless cipher was clueless before he assumed office. He is a dedicated tool of the plutocracy. Like Rubio he was elected to office mainly by the large community of redneck yahoos and teabaggers. At the same time, the crazed Allen West was elected to the U.S. House, and now is mercifully gone after his defeat in the last cycle. Right now, West is where he belongs: One of the crackpot contributors at Fox “News”. At this time, it seems assured that Scott won’t be re-elected, and it is to be hoped that Rubio will not be, as well.

    • idamag

      I don’t know, some of the things that happen in Florida doesn’t show a lot of confidence that they can learn from mistakes. Boycott Florida.

    • TheSkalawag929

      “it seems assured” and “it is to be hoped that ” Isn’t that what got Florida the representation it has today?
      It’s going to take hard work to undo the electoral mistakes made in the last election. Are you and your fellow Floridians willing to put forth the effort to correct them or are you content to just sit back and complain?

  • Dominick Vila

    In all fairness, this specific problem began long before Gov. Scott was elected and it has little to do with recent legislation. Until the great recession began the problem was caused by out of control housing development and agricultural priorities. The operative words are greed and environmental irresponsibility. The status quo is further aggravated by the fact that Florida does not have enough heavy industry to support its population and that it relies heavily on tourism, seniors moving to Florida, and agriculture to maintain its fairly high standard of living. Until a balance between growth and preserving our patrimony is reached, this problem will persist and will probably get worse than it already is. Needless to say, Gov. Scott has done absolutely nothing to solve the problem, other than trying to entice corporations to move to Florida by giving them tax breaks to create jobs.

    • TheSkalawag929

      It may be that Florida’s problems existed before Gov. Scott and the current legislature took office but as you point out “Gov. Scott has done absolutely nothing to solve the problem…”.

  • Buford2k11

    My only question to this toad is…”How long can you tread water?” This Koch puppet has done much to destroy any sort of sane governing…

  • idamag

    Rick Scott is as dumb as he looks.

    • Dominick Vila

      Not when it comes to finding ways to cheat the public and our government. In that case, he is a genius.

  • Lovefacts

    And all the Republican administrations from Reagan forward have gutted the EPA. So, don’t count on the Feds stepping. Although, when Florida no longer has clean drinking water nor the freedom to swim without fear of that brain-eating amoeba, Scott along with the Republicans will attack the Democrats. God forbid Scott and his ilk take responsibly for their decisions. But then, bullies and those out for number one never do.

  • howa4x

    Scott is no different than other redub governors. the all run on smaller government, break public unions and defund environmental projects. It is in their playbook given to them by the Koch bros who are no fans of environmental protection. Potential candidates like Rubio looking for Tea party support want to show they are no fan of spending, even if it is to provide clean water in their home state.. But it not only in the south that is the problem. Christie vetoed a gun bill that he put forward banning 50 calb guns. Why would he veto his own bill? Because the new Hampshire republicans told him that would not support him if he signed any restriction on gun ownership. This is what happens when the tea party gets in the way of governing. They can since they own the republican nomination machine. So look for more foolishness from republican elected officials. The fun is just beginning !

  • Landsende

    Texas and Florida have a lot in common. They are both red states run by governors that can be bought by special interests. Here in Texas many cities and towns are running out of water because Texas is in one of the worst droughts in decades yet they are allowing fracking all over the state which uses tremendous amounts of water. This water cannot be recycled for human use since it is full of chemicals and sludge so it is stored underground producing more pollution. Governor Perry and the elected officials of these towns couldn’t care less about the long term effects of fracking they just see the revenue that is being generated. Once the fracking is done and these oil companies pull out when there is no more water, what happens to these cities and towns which will whither and die because of their greed? They will go running to the federal government, which they claim to hate, wanting to be bailed out by the taxpayers because of their shortsightedness.

  • Allan Richardson

    That’s why Florida and other states try to suppress the vote. If they could get away with it, they would enact a literacy test — IN REVERSE. If you’re too educated they won’t let you vote. Of course, the way they fund the public schools in those states, there would not be any local high school graduates who would “fail” (by passing) that test.

  • Barbara Morgan

    Why is staying in office more important than people’s health, jobs and the environment? It would poetic justice if Governor Scott and Senator Rubio had to drink the water that they are allowing to be contaminated by their actions or in actions and only that water, Wonder how long it would be before they were both deadly sick? Would that make them think about what they are allowing to happen to their state?