Since 2008, water management operations surrounding Lake Okeechobee have been governed by a document called the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), which determines the “allowable quantity, timing, and duration of releases from Lake Okeechobee to the WCAs and to tide (estuaries).” Under the false pretense of “shared adversity,” the entire system was designed to benefit certain water users at the severe detriment of the east and west coasts of Florida. We have seen animals killed, personal health put at severe risk, the environment destroyed and businesses decimated — in large part due to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s deeply flawed operations system. In short, LORS has been a total and absolute disaster.
Last year I wrote a provision in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which became law, directing the Army Corps to immediately begin rewriting LORS, and earlier this year the Army Corps began accepting public comments on the re-write of LORS - now known as the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM).
As part of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Army Corps must consider the direct, indirect and cumulative effects on the human environment that would result from LOSOM. They will also need to consider the context and intensity of the impacts, both beneficial and adverse, including effects on public health and safety.
I wanted to share with you the public comment that I submitted to the Army Corps, which includes my recommendations to protect our communities from toxic discharges, scientific studies and comments that I received from people across our community about the harm being caused by the discharges.
You can read it here: