Stuart City Commission votes to move slowly toward suit with ACOE
Stuart, Fl (treasurecoast.com)- Stuart city commissioners called it one of the most important things they might ever vote on.
In a unanimous vote Monday night, commissioners approved taking the next steps to sue the Army Corps of Engineers in order to prevent future potentially harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Estuary. But they also decided to go after the federal government at a slower pace.
Commissioner Merritt Matheson pushed for the lawsuit, saying he wants to see more summers like the one in 2019, which did not have toxic algae blooms plaguing in the St. Lucie River.
Dozens of people packed city hall to support taking legal action.
The Army Corps of Engineers also has to balance the need for keeping enough water in the lake to sustain agricultural needs, water supply needs and recreational needs. Last summer the lake was kept low and everyone got their water despite many people on social media insisting the sky was falling. The St. Lucie river is recovering. Lake O is flourishing bringing many fisherman to area for recreation.
Stuart city leaders want the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the water level lower going into the rainy season like the Army Corps did in 2019, which helped reduce the need for releases to the St. Lucie Estuary.
County Administrator for Martin County said county staff is not supporting Stuart’s potential lawsuit. (no surprise there)
Commissioners voted to have a thoughtfully drafted lawsuit, which they will review before filing.
They want to include input from other legal experts and scientists who are up to the challenge of determining the best way to take on the federal government.