Stuart, Fla. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today called on the Army Corps to reject a proposed management plan for Lake Okeechobee written by lobbyists for the sugar industry.  As a result of a law written by Rep. Mast in 2018, the Army Corps is currently writing the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), which will determine when discharges will happen from Lake Okeechobee to the estuaries for the next decade.  As part of this process, the Army Corps has narrowed their consideration to a final 5 remaining options, including a plan written by two lobbyists for the Florida Sugar Cane League.  A final decision is expected in July of this year.      

“Letting the sugar industry write the management plan for Lake Okeechobee is like letting the fox guard the hen house,” Rep. Mast said. “This is a brazen attempt by the sugar industry to skew the results of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual to put corporate profits ahead of the health of Floridians across the state.  This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Participation on the Project Delivery Team (PDT) for LOSOM is limited to representatives of government agencies. The public is not allowed to participate except during limited public comment periods during the meetings. Nonetheless, two lobbyists for the Florida Sugar Cane League—which “represents” the U.S. Sugar Corporation—are participating as members of the PDT and have written one of the remaining plans that is still under consideration (“Balanced Alternative BB”).  

The public can voice their opinion by emailing  A copy of Rep. Mast’s letter can be found below.   


  • In 2018, Rep. Mast passed a law mandating that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers update the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), which is the schedule that determines when discharges from Lake Okeechobee occur. As a result, the Army Corps undertook the process to create LOSOM. 
  • The Army Corps is scheduled to select a final plan by mid-July.  Currently, there are five remaining alternatives under consideration as part of “Iteration 2.”
  • One of these alternatives, called “Balanced Alternative BB,” was written and submitted for consideration by Tom MacVicar and Bill Baker, registered lobbyists for the Florida Sugar Cane League.  
  • The Florida Sugar Cane League “represents,” and is funded by, the U.S. Sugar Corporation, which has sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its operations of Lake Okeechobee.  Through this lawsuit, U.S. Sugar—in their own words—sought to “rein in the Army Corps’ rogues operations.”