CCA Florida has been engaged in the discussions and efforts to find lasting solutions to the complex problems resulting from the heavy rain levels in South Florida, the discharges from Lake Okeechobee by the Army Corps, and impacts on the marine resources and wildlife, the potential for flooding, the risk of devastation on agricultural businesses, tourism, and a huge risk of major economic loss in Florida.
Last Friday, Governor Scott declared a State of Emergency in a three County area of South Florida and he warns of even greater destruction if the Hubert Hoover dam is not repaired. We will continue to be involved in the discussions regarding solutions at every level of local, regional, state and federal government. The emergency declaration is attached for your review and it demonstrates the serious nature and the complexity of this major and potential environmental and economic disaster if not corrected.
For Immediate Release
February 26, 2016
Gov. Scott Declares State of Emergency in Lee, Martin and St. Lucie Following Heavy Rainfall and Record Army Corps Discharges
Governor calls on Obama to fund Herbert Hoover Dike repairs
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 16-59 which declares a state of emergency in Lee, Martin and St. Lucie counties following heavy rainfall which has resulted in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers frequently discharging water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. This is a result of inadequate funding by the federal government. Governor Scott also today called on the Obama Administration to fully fund the more than $800 million in needed repairs to the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike which would safely hold water to prevent these discharges. To date, the state of Florida has invested $880 million more than the federal government is required to provide for clean water to the Everglades. To view the Executive Order, click HERE.
Governor Rick Scott said, "The negative effects of flood waters and harm to wildlife we are currently witnessing in these counties is only the beginning if the President doesn't fund the more than $800 million in needed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike. Our communities are in imminent danger of prolonged flooding and environmental devastation if the dike is ever compromised. Not only is the well-being and health of our families at risk if the Obama Administration doesn't immediately begin funding repairs to their federally operated dike, but our housing market, tourism industry and agricultural community will fail if the dike is not repaired and properly maintained.
"We need President Obama to get engaged immediately on this issue and fully fund the needed repairs to their dike so massive U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' discharges are no longer needed. With heavy rainfall and record discharges, we have no choice but to declare a State of Emergency in these counties today and hope President Obama will pay attention to this crisis."
The State of Florida has invested nearly $2 billion in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and $1.8 billion in providing clean water to the Everglades. Governor Scott's 2016-2017 Florida First budget includes an additional $5 billion dollars over the next 20 years to substantially complete the CERP and ensure that clean water is sent to the Everglades.
Since the CERP was passed in 1999, the State of Florida has invested $880 million more than the federal government on implementing the 50/50 cost-share plan. This funding, in addition to the $800 million needed for the Herbert Hoover Dike repairs plus the $5 billion contained in Governor Scott's Florida First budget, means the federal government needs to invest $6.7 billion to keep up with Florida's commitment to the greater Everglades ecosystem over the next 20 years. President Obama only asked for $155.5 million next year, less than half of what the federal government should be investing annually.