Florida Congressional Delegation to convene on water quality challenges
Image via St. Johns River Water Management District.

St Johns River Water Management District
Vern Buchanan and Debbie Wasserrman Schultz want bipartisan cooperation on red tide, Everglades.

The Florida Congressional Delegation will meet in Washington next week to discuss water issues challenging the state.

Reps. Vern Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, jointly announced the 29-member state Delegation will hear from many of Florida’s leading voices on the environment.

“Florida relies on clean water and white sandy beaches to support our economy and our way of life,” Buchanan said. “I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panelists about how we can best address the state’s water issues. It’s essential that Florida’s bipartisan congressional delegation work together to maintain Florida’s natural resources while also protecting our economy and our environment for generations to come.”

The delegation will convene in the Rayburn building on Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Wesley Brooks, the federal affairs director for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will attend.

So will Col. James Booth, district commander for the Jacksonville District of the Army Corps of Engineers. Booth just recently took over at the district and comes on as the Army Corps considers an update to the discharge schedule as part of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual.

In non-governmental testimony, Mote Marine Laboratory President and CEO Dr. Michael Crosby will also speak to the delegation. The Sarasota-based institution, headquartered in Buchanan’s congressional district, have received millions in federal funding to study red tide in the Gulf of Mexico.

And Michael Messmer, federal policy manager for Oceana, will also speak. The national group formed in 1999 after a nonprofit study found that less than 0.5% of all resources spent by environmental nonprofit groups in the United States went to ocean advocacy.

As for subject matter, red tide research, Everglades restoration, offshore oil drilling and wildlife conservation all have a place on the agenda. Members of the delegation this year have focused on harmful algae blooms, manatees’ place on the endangered species list and other water quality issues on a number of fronts.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


One comment

  • Randy Edwards, Ph.D.

    October 31, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Jason,

    You apparently have fallen for the Crosby/Mote propaganda campaign. Yes, Mote has received around 9 Million Dollars, thanks to the pork served up by former Mote Board member Galvano.

    I dare you to honestly assess what Mote has accomplished with all that taxpayer money. I was a strong advocate of state funding for red tide research, but on a competitive grant proposal basis — not on a pork-barrel basis.

    What has Mote shown so far for $9 million? The have shown practically nothing. All they/Crosby has shown are two impractical, and even-yet unproven approaches. Both of them, clay spreading and ozone treatment, have almost zero real practical application to the normal large blooms of red tide, and they both are decades-old technology. Yet Crosby tries to make the public believe that they are evidence of accomplishment achieved from the pork that Mote received.

    Similarly, and on another topic, Mote/Crosby has been promoting Mote for its so-called achievements in saving corals and coral reefs. If one were to read only Mote’s propaganda, one would think that Mote is almost the only hope that is left for coral reefs. However, if one reads in depth, one would find that there are dozens and dozens of organizations that are working on and making some progress toward coral conservation. But Mote wants to be seen as the coral savior.

    Back to red tide. If you will think about it, you would see that Mote has made no efforts or even discussion of the real causes of red tide increasing frequency and severity. That is the impact of population and coastal development on the marine ecosystem with regard to nutrient input, and pollution.. It is the increased nutrients that allow red tides to be more frequent and more devastating.

    Why does not not want to be involved in that> Why, because its supporters and funders (like Galvano) support and benefit from increasing development. If Mote were to acknowledge that well-established scientific fact, it would lose the support and funding that the pro-growth, pro-development, wealthy and politically connected provides.

    On the other hand, it may be entirely appropriate for Mote to be in Sarasota — after the Circus was lost. It was P. T. Barnum who said that “A sucker is born every hour.” Mote is now adopting that idea.

    However, you as an objective reporter should not allow yourself to be a sucker to the Mote circus illusions.

    FYI: I am a Ph.D. scientist who spent almost a decade and half as a researcher at Mote before its circus days. I have followed Mote for another 1.5 decades to sadly see it devolve into a 3-ring circus of red tide, coral reefs and snook stocking that is mostly illusion, but expensive.

Comments are closed.


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