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Mast at SFWMD: Advocates Lowering Lake Okeechobee Levels 

Mast at SFWMD: Advocates Lowering Lake Okeechobee Levels 

Stuart, Fla. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18)  spent more than an hour yesterday at the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Monthly Meeting continuing his fight to keep Lake Okeechobee at a lower level during the dry season to mitigate the need for discharges during the summer months.

South Florida Water Management District acknowledged that their currently authorized regulatory range is from 10.5 feet to 17.5 feet.  Rep. Mast has been pushing the South Florida Water Management District to commit to lowering the lake to 10.5 feet by May 15, 2019.

Statement on the Meeting :

“This morning I spent an hour at the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Meeting working to lower Lake O to prevent discharges.

This is what I was told: “We’re not in the business of picking winners and losers.”

But we know that’s just not true.

When the towns on the west coast ask for more water during the winter for the Caloosahatchee and are denied but then those same towns are sent toxic water during the summer, you are picking winners and losers.

When you artificially inflate the height of the lake because you have 5.5 feet worth of water permitted for agriculture and then discharge toxic water to the east and west each summer, you are picking winners and losers.

They say they have no choice because of emergency conditions, but their decisions are CAUSING the emergency conditions.

They push the blame to the Army Corps, saying they have no choice because LORS forces their hand, but today they again admitted they already have the authority to draw down the lake to 10.5 feet.

So, I’m still waiting for an answer: why won’t you work with us to keep the lake lower during the dry season?  I think the 5.5 feet of water permitted for agriculture speaks for itself.”

Oct 12, 2018

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