A lot of red herrings are swimming around Lake Okeechobee these days as opponents of what Sierra Club and others think is the best path to Everglades restoration use misleading statements and sometimes outright lies to undermine the effort and divide the public
If you hear these claims, there are some facts you can use to respond.
CLAIM: The plan is looking at the wrong pollution culprit. The real problem is septic tanks in coastal communities.
RESPONSE: While septic tanks–especially poorly maintained ones–are not good for water quality, the volume of the pollution coming from septic tanks in the St. Lucie estuary areas make up about 4 percent of the pollution loading. The rest is lake and farm discharges.
CLAIM: The environmentalists’ plan will make the condition of endangered species such as the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow and the Snail Kite worse.
RESPONSE: Actually the main threat the sparrow faces is the delay by SFWMD is getting more fresh water into its habitat. The kites are being hurt by water level manipulation that hurts reproduction of apple snails, their primary source of food.
CLAIM: Environmentalists are trying to kill the sugar industry, which will wreck the local economy.
RESPONSE: What environmentalists are advocating is that the sugar industry become a better neighbor by reducing its air and water pollution. Additionally, increased mechanization is putting residents out of jobs and the health of those who depend on subsistence fishing to supplement their diets is threatened by fish-consumption advisories.
CLAIM: The solution is to pump the polluted water underground into injection wells.
RESPONSE: That’s a wasteful plan that deprives natural areas of water they need to restore freshwater ecosystems and counteract encroaching tidal influence and hypersalinity in Florida Bay. It’s a matter of dispute on whether permits will be approved for this approach.
CLAIM: The plan is set in stone and cannot be revised.
RESPONSE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contend this is a living document that can be reviewed to reflect changing conditions and new information.
CLAIM: The environmentalists’ plan will flood out Everglades residents.
RESPONSE: Absolutely false.