U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today released the following statement: [Read more…] about Mast Statement On South Florida Water Management District
south florida water management district
Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis called for the immediate resignations of all governing board members of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The announcement was made during a stop in Stuart to discuss the Governor’s major water policy reforms to protect and improve Florida’s water resources.
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) yesterday released the following statement applauding Governor Ron DeSantis for his action requesting the resignation of the entire South Florida Water Management District Board:
Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis and U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) tonight issued the following statement after learning that the South Florida Water Management District plans to hold a vote tomorrow, November 8, 2018, on extending the land lease with New Hope Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, for land authorized to be used for the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir. [Read more…] about DeSantis, Mast Urge South Florida Water Management District to Delay Decision on Extension Of EAA Southern Storage Reservoir Land Lease
SFWMD Submits Plan to Army Corps For Approval
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18), who has been a longtime proponent of the S.B. 10-authorized EAA Storage Reservoir, is pushing a plan to expedite federal authorization and construction of the reservoir. South Florida Water Management District submitted its plan to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approval today.
“The water being discharged from Lake Okeechobee onto the Treasure Coast is destroying our community, putting people out of business, killing sea life and even making people sick. This reservoir is a critical step forward to restore our lagoon and beaches, and we cannot afford to wait another two years as it drowns in federal bureaucracy. This exact moment is why I fought so hard to be named Vice Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we get this project started without any further delays.”
The Army Corps must review, approve and submit the project to Congress prior to Congressional authorization and construction work beginning, but there is a substantial timing issue that could delay the project by another two years. Federal authorization of projects like the reservoir occur as part of the Water Resources and Development Act, which Congress considers only every other year. Congress is expected to consider the 2018 Water Resources and Development Act this spring, but the Army Corps is not expected to approve the project prior to the bill’s consideration. S.B. 10 set a deadline of October 1, 2018 for this to occur.
To avoid a 2-year bureaucratic delay, Rep. Mast has been pushing a plan to conditionally authorize the project as part of the 2018 Water Resources and Development Act contingent on the Army Corps’ approval. Under Rep. Mast’s plan, the EAA Storage Reservoir would be automatically authorized as soon as the Army Corps signs off on the plan, expediting the overall completion timeline by more than two years. Rep. Mast’s letter to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster pushing this plan is attached.
Rep. Mast also joined a bipartisan group of his Florida Congressional colleagues on a letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (who oversees the Army Corps) supporting the EAA Storage Reservoir proposal and urging expedited review.
South Florida Water Management District’s press release announcing submission of the project to the Army Corps can be found here.
Army Corps Requested 30-Day Extension to August 1 Deadline
to Begin Working with South Florida Water Management District
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
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released the following statement regarding the South Florida Water Management District’s announcement that for the Water Year 2017 monitoring period, the Everglades Water Quality Program achieved a 70-percent phosphorous reduction.
“We continue to make headway in restoring the health of the Everglades, and the Everglades Agricultural Area has, yet again, exceeded state-mandated goals with its phosphorous reduction achievement. This phosphorous reduction is a testament to the fact that Best Management Practices, which are science-based and implemented by farmers throughout Florida, are working and protect the quality and quantity of our water.”
The Everglades Agricultural Area is comprised of 470,000 acres of agricultural land south of Lake Okeechobee.