Everglades Foundation to Come Back Tuesday with Its Own Reservoir Economic Study
Bruce Ritchie of Politico reported Monday the Everglades Foundation will release its own study Tuesday on the economic benefits of building a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.
The study comes in response to the release last week of James Madison Institute's report, "Sticker Shock," which shows the proposal would cost Florida's economy $695 million a year and 4,148 jobs, and wouldn't solve the problem it was created to solve.
Senate President Joe Negron proposed in August a 50-50 partnership, the state and federal government to share the $2.4 billion cost of a 60,000-acre reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The idea is to divert discharges from Lake Okeechobee so they don't send damaging fresh water into rivers east and west of the lake.
Negron and Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg don't accept the JMI study. They say it hasn't considered the loss in particular to tourism that algae blooms cause.
Negron's proposal, Senate Bill 10, passed its first committee stop on Feb. 7 unanimously, but several committee members said they want a closer look at the real cost of the project.
At the moment, the plan looks to be going nowhere in the House. Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, told reporters SB 10 is up against "a real challenge." The governor and many in the House oppose bonding for the state's share and plunging the state in debt. That's separate from the other losses the JMI story enumerates.