Bill would expedite southern reservoir to curb Lake Okeechobee discharges
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast will file a bill Thursday to expedite Everglades restoration projects, including a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, he said in a news release Tuesday.
His Everglades FIRST Act — it stands for Flow Increases Rely on Storage and Treatment — directs the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite work on reports needed for projects to increase water storage around Lake O and minimize discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, and the harmful algal blooms they cause.
"The federal government needs to step up and do its part to get this project done as quickly as possible,” the Palm City Republican said, anticipating Gov. Rick Scott's signature on a bill the Florida Legislature approved last week to fund the reservoir. The state agreed to pony up $800 million for a 78.2 billion gallon reservoir on land called the A-2 parcel, where the Corps currently plans to build a much smaller water-cleaning project.
So it's up to the Corps to change its plans — and match the state's $800 million for a bigger, deeper reservoir.