On today’s Everglades story, WLRN is factually incorrect … by gimleteye
NOTE: I posted the following before realizing the WLRN report was generated by a news feed/ service. I do not know the source of the report, but it would be interesting to know.
Listening to WLRN public radio’s factually incorrect news report this morning, my jaw would have dropped, if I had any jaw left to drop after the serial indignities passing for Everglades restoration.
Two assertions, among others, that are wrong. The reporter stated that the $880 million dollar commitment by state government was the “first time” for a water pollution standard in the Everglades. Wrong. The ten parts per billion water pollution standard was established by a federal court nearly twenty years ago. The sugar industry has successfully fought that standard through changes to state law, also judged to be illegal in the 2000’s.
The reporter also stated that the $880 million was the result of an “unusual collaboration” between the state, federal government, and sugar industry. Also wrong. The money was not a “victory” for Gov. Scott in any sense except that his administration succeeded in arm-twisting the federal EPA down from its original assessment that the cost would require $1.5 billion.
The $880 million was hardly a collaboration. It was the result of litigation brought by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians and the organization I represent, as president of the board of directors, Friends of the Everglades.That litigation took many years and a significant investment by our small group of volunteers.
In key respects, the negotiation between the state and federal government on the details of the $880 million plan has omitted environmental organizations with the capacity to track complex science. That’s a collaboration?
A spokesperson from Florida Audubon, Eric Draper, put a bright face on the investment while noting, for the generalist audience, that a key requirement of restoration — getting water into the central part of the Everglades — remains to be implemented. He didn’t add, Big Sugar is fighting tooth and nail at every step of the way. Audubon might have mentioned, but didn’t, that it is deeply mired in its own administrative court proceeding against Big Sugar for the industry’s failure to adopt strict best management practices. The bottom line is that Big Sugar still calls the shots. Anyhow, THAT is the story that deserves to be told, although it can’t be told in twenty seconds.
WLRN does a great disservice cramming this issue into a sound bite for listeners, who are lead to believe exactly what Big Sugar wants: everything will be fine in the Everglades if the industry is just left to its devices.