Army Corps Requested 30-Day Extension to August 1 Deadline to Begin Working with South Florida Water Management District
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting an "immediate meeting with you to discuss the options the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are considering” to implement Florida State Senate Bill 10 (S.B. 10). He also requested monthly status updates on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ involvement in the project.
The letter follows a request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a 30-day extension to respond to South Florida Water Management District’s June 24, 2017 invitation to participate in the development of a post authorization change report for the southern water storage reservoir authorized in S.B. 10. The legislation set a deadline for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District to start working together by August 1, 2017.
The text of the letter is below:
July 27, 2017
Colonel Jason A. Kirk
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
701 San Marco Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Dear Colonel Kirk:
Last summer the Treasure Coast experienced environmental disaster firsthand. As a result of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ discharges from Lake Okeechobee, guacamole-thick algae plagued our community, threatened public health, decimated local businesses and killed wildlife.
Since the moment I was sworn into Congress, I have been working to ensure this does not happen again. In addition to my work in Congress, I advocated passionately for the passage of Florida State Senate Bill 10 (S.B. 10) to construct a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The passage of S.B. 10 was a landmark achievement for our community. You can understand, therefore, why I was disappointed to learn of your request for a 30-day extension in responding to South Florida Water Management District’s request to work together on the project.
I respect the importance of exploring all possible options before reaching a decision, and I appreciate your desire to be thorough. From my time in the Army, however, I also understand the importance of meeting deadlines. The bottom line is our community has waited long enough.
In your July 24, 2017 letter, you stated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is “working through multiple options for the next steps.” Therefore, I am requesting an immediate meeting with you to discuss the options the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are considering and the issues you are working through. Furthermore, I request a monthly status update on the progress of this project for the duration of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ involvement.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this issue. I look forward to working together on this supremely important project.
Brian J. Mast
Member of Congress