With Hurricane Nicole causing flooding in our community, it’s clear that we’re going to have plenty to clean up in the coming days and weeks. One thing is for sure: we don’t need to add toxic discharges to the list of things we’ll be dealing with.
Not only would discharging water potentially make flooding worse, but it could result in toxic algae outbreaks and cause long-term damage to the St. Lucie Estuary. If the Army Corps decides to release water right now, it would be a colossal betrayal of our community.
This also shows why it’s so important that the Army Corps manage Lake Okeechobee responsibly year-round. The wet season comes in the summer and fall every year, so if the Army Corps manages the lake at a lower level coming into the wet season, the lake is able to absorb the increased rainfall and our community doesn’t get dumped on. On the flip side, when the Army Corps holds the lake artificially high, increased rainfall inevitably results in harmful discharges.
That’s the fight that I’m in 365 days per year. Today, we fight to make sure the Army Corps doesn’t pull that lever, and tomorrow we fight to make sure that Lake Okeechobee is not just treated as a private reservoir for the sugar industry.
You can read my letter to the Army Corps here: