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Water Quality Position Statement, 2019-2020

  1. We support developing policies that effectively deal with stormwater and wastewater pollution at the source.
    1. Septic to sewer conversions
    2. Sewer discharges
    3. Basin management
    4. Agricultural runoff
  2. We support sustained funding levels to accomplish Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) projects and critical infrastructure projects north and south of Lake Okeechobee.

“Savings Clause” Position Statement

The leadership of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce opposes adding language to the 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that would make the “Savings Clause” from section 601(h)(5) of Public Law 106-541 (WRDA 2000) applicable to the Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual (LOSOM) and direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to use the December 2000 lake regulation schedule as the basis for updating the schedule.

It is our understanding that the Savings Clause only applies to Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects.  The lake regulation schedule is not a CERP project, and the Savings Clause was never intended to apply to lake operations.

Applying the Savings Clause and an outdated and unsuccessful lake regulation schedule to current planning efforts will undermine Everglades restoration and prevent the Corps from balancing current and future water needs, resulting in continued negative environmental and economic consequences for Southwest Florida businesses and residents alike such as harmful algal blooms, tourism depression, and various health side effects.

It is more important than ever to abandon outdated water regulation practices and adapt to current challenges to protect Florida’s water for all who depend on it. Lake management strategies must be adopted based on sound science and a balanced approach that does not prioritize one water supply interest over another.

Success!

This language was left OUT of the 2020 water bill. This issue is now complete and turned out to be a great success, which included the Greater Fort Myers’ Chamber of Commerce connecting with partners and intended parties and advocating for the exclusion of the edited language.

Articles

Special interests attempt to reconfigure Lake O schedule to their benefit
Including a video to discuss their thoughts on the savings clause, Captains for Clean Water shares what they see as disastrous consequences should the savings clause language be edited to force the December 2000 regulation schedule. They also include a discussion with Congressman Brian Mast and some options on how you can fight against it.

Florida environmental groups oppose water-savings clause in Lake Okeechobee plan
In an effort to keep the water levels in Lake O higher during the dry season, U.S. Sugar and others are proposing adding language into the 2020 water bill that would force regulations based on data and recommendations from 2000. This would be a detriment according to many environmental groups in the region.

Documents

Savings Clause Letter
This is a letter written to the South Florida Water Management District Board to request edits to the savings clause in the bill. This is the request that the Chamber is advocating against.

Letter Opposing Proposal
This letter, to the Florida Congressional Delegation, is the request to reject the proposal of edited language. This is what the Chamber supported and advocated towards their benefit.

WRDA Objection
This letter was written to explain the details and legal objections as to why people should oppose the savings clause edits.