DeSantis slams Florida’s Lake O water supply bill, says could harm Everglades

One day after a Florida Senate committee approved a controversial water supply bill, Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed it as an attempt to circumvent the public process.

Critics say SB 2508 could dilute funding for the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir and guarantee agriculture gets the irrigation water it wants to siphon off Lake Okeechobee. The bill also could harm Lake O and its connected estuaries by keeping the lake level higher in the dry winter season, reversing years of clean-water policy.

“Rather than advancing legislation seeking to affect a major change in policy, SB 2508 is being rammed through the budget process, short-circuiting public engagement and leaving affected agencies in the dark,” DeSantis said in a news statement Thursday.

Bill passes:Florida senate committee passes controversial water supply bill

Background:Could the bill jeopardize EAA reservoir, increase Lake O discharges?

Senate president:Wilton Simpson said EAA reservoir construction should stop

The EAA reservoir, one of DeSantis’ top priorities, is designed to curb Lake O discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers that can spark toxic algae blooms and kill oysters as well as seagrasses that starving manatees rely on for food.

“I have been a champion for Everglades restoration and oppose any measure that derails progress on harmful reducing discharges and sending more water to the Everglades,” DeSantis said in the news release. “Moreover, I reject any attempt to deprioritize the EAA reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee.”

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