“If you feel the water is acceptable for our children to play in, for us to fish in and for our endangered animals to live in, then it should be good enough for you to swim in also.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today again called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately cease discharges from Lake Okeechobee and invited the senior leadership of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to swim in our waterways if they refuse to prove the water is safe prior to discharges.
Rep. Mast also blasted the discharges during a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:
The full text of the letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is attached and below:
June 14, 2018
LTG Todd T. Semonite
Commanding General and Chief of Engineers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters
441 G Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20314
Dear Lieutenant General Semonite:
As you know, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently discharging nearly four billion gallons of water per day to the east and west of Lake Okeechobee without regard for toxins in the water or the health effects for every man, woman and child.
Our community cannot afford to continue being used as the septic tank for Lake Okeechobee. Therefore, as I wrote in my letter dated June 7, 2018 to Assistant Secretary James, I urge you to cease the discharges immediately until the water quality is deemed safe or an imminent threat to life exists.
Like you, I was an Army soldier. We have worn the same uniform. I have to believe that we share the common drive to protect life. But I would never sacrifice the health of an entire community in the name of what might happen sometime in the future. Our ethos as warriors says we never leave a fallen comrade behind, but right now you are leaving our community to die.
If you think this is hyperbole, then I’m extending an open invitation to the leadership team at the Army Corps to stand by your policy: come to Stuart, Florida for a swim in our increasingly toxic water. If you feel the water is acceptable for our children to play in, for us to fish in and for our endangered animals to live in, then it should be good enough for you to swim in also.
I appreciate your immediate attention and response to this life-threatening issue for our community.
Member of Congress