Florida Congressional Candidates Are Standing Up to Big Sugar

It’s no exaggeration to call this a tectonic shift in the district that is home to U.S. Sugar. Nine candidates pledge not to accept Big Sugar money. Traditionally, few Florida candidates or public officials on either side of the aisle have been willing to stand up to Florida’s notorious sugar industry. But in the race for U.S. House District 20, we’re witnessing a tectonic shift. Not only are some politicians willing to buck “Big Sugar” — they may be gaining ground for it. Last week the Sun-Sentinel newspaper endorsed Omari Hardy, a first-term state representative from West Palm Beach, for the seat formerly held by the late Alcee Hastings. Hardy checks many of the progressive boxes in the deep-blue district, [...]

2021-10-06T13:34:55-04:00October 8th, 2021|Uncategorized|

When east fights west, Big Sugar wins

Earlier this year as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considered options for its new Lake Okeechobee “playbook,” Florida’s east and west coasts stood united. Together they said: Damaging discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries must be curtailed. And more water must go south — as Mother Nature intended. The unanimity helped move the needle, as the Corps selected “Plan CC” as its baseline model for the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). It was the most balanced plan overall and a good starting point for further optimization. But then the finger-pointing began. Some on the west coast insisted more water must go east. East coast interests protested. Talk of sending water south seemed to go out [...]

2021-09-23T17:04:57-04:00September 24th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Omari Hardy was right about sugarcane burning

In April, then-state Rep. Omari Hardy did the right thing. As the Florida Legislature rammed through a new law expanding the "right to farm" — and indemnifying the powerful sugar industry from lawsuits related to sugarcane burning — Hardy stood in the way. In subcommittee hearings, the Palm Beach County representative sponsored a series of amendments — all of them voted down — that sought to strip the bill of its many bad elements. Hardy objected primarily to Senate Bill 88’s addition of "particle emissions" to the list of protected farming practices. The black ash and smoke that wafts over the Glades communities when Big Sugar is burning the fields to prepare for harvest is suspected of contributing to health [...]

2021-08-18T16:09:24-04:00August 19th, 2021|Uncategorized|

When cane burns, Glades communities struggle to breathe

When the sugarcane burns, many in the Glades communities struggle to breathe. But mounting evidence points to the need to extinguish those fires for good. For decades Big Sugar has plagued the Glades with “black snow” and health problems caused by the burning of the cane fields to prepare the crop for harvest. And earlier this year when the Florida Legislature passed new “right to farm” legislation it looked like the industry was being given a green light to continue the harmful practice for as long as it wants. But thanks to a blockbuster new investigation and a major lawsuit wending its way through the courts — along with support from Bullsugar supporters — the toxic tide may finally be [...]

2021-07-22T10:53:47-04:00July 22nd, 2021|Uncategorized|

If toxic algae is killing dogs, what’s it doing to people?

When Pam McAfee’s dog, Bella, died suddenly May 24, vets were stumped. But Pam thought the boxer’s death might have something to do with the blue-green algae coagulating in the C-51 canal behind her West Palm Beach home. The day before, Pam and her husband Rob had lifted their boat out of the canal to clean it, and now she wondered if the 78-pound dog had ingested some of the algae. After Bella hemorrhaged on an operating-room table and died, Pam sent samples of the dog’s vomit to Greenwater Laboratories in Palatka for testing. Greenwater officials said microcystin, a toxin in blue-green algae, was definitely present in the dog’s vomit, at a level high enough to cause intoxication — and [...]

2021-06-17T12:07:42-04:00June 17th, 2021|Uncategorized|

The Big Sugar-COVID connection

Did Sugar add to the COVID-19 body count? CLICK HERE TO BECOME A BULLSUGAR.ORG MEMBER As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to ease in the United States — though it continues to rage in India and other countries — Americans have breathed a sigh of relief and counted their blessings. And the casualties. More than 585,000 Americans have died as a result of the virus, many of whom suffered from health conditions that made them more vulnerable. The list of “comorbidities” is long, but two of them are directly related to the increasing amount of sugar in the typical American diet — diabetes and obesity. While people with diabetes are not necessarily more likely to contract COVID-19, if they get it [...]

2021-05-18T13:32:19-04:00May 20th, 2021|Uncategorized|

TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. DeSantis to Veto Senate Bill 88

For Big Sugar, it was party time. Last Thursday lobbyists for the powerful sugarcane industry were seen having lunch at the swanky Governor's Club in Tallahassee, popping champagne and exchanging high-fives to celebrate the passage of Senate Bill 88 in the Florida House and Senate. The bill effectively protects Big Sugar — namely U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals — from legal action related to its harmful impacts, including sugarcane burning, which is linked to long-term health problems. Though smoke from the burning cane fields can travel for upwards of 20 miles, SB 88 stipulates that only those who live within half a mile of the agricultural operation could challenge its harmful impact on property values in court. No wonder the [...]

2021-04-28T10:48:04-04:00April 28th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water…

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A BULLSUGAR.ORG MEMBER A visit to the eastern shores of Lake Okeechobee this Earth Day should be accompanied by the ominous tones of the "Jaws" theme song. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, a blue-green algae bloom on the lake is growing. On April 13, satellite imaging showed a potential bloom covering about 150 square miles of the lake. The day before, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection tested cyanobacteria — commonly called blue-green algae — near the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam and measured the toxin microcystin at 22 parts per billion. That's nearly three times the level deemed hazardous by the federal government. Microcystin can cause skin [...]

2021-04-21T14:20:20-04:00April 22nd, 2021|Uncategorized|

Water Quality Standards Needed to Protect Coastal Estuaries

ABOVE: Recent capture of a widespread bloom in Lake Okeechobee near Clewiston. Image by Ralph Arwood of LightHawk Conservation Flying, shared first on Facebook by the Caloosahatchee Waterkeeper. Congressman Byron Donalds should be commended for recently filing a bill requiring that the federal government continue to monitor our waterways for harmful algae blooms, even in the event of a government shutdown. Continuous monitoring of the presence of red tide and blue-green algae is important to inform the public of potential health and safety risks. Unfortunately, there is no threshold that the federal or state government have established for harmful levels of cyanobacteria in blue-green algae or specific focus on managing the source of nutrients that increases the frequency [...]

2021-04-12T11:28:28-04:00April 15th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Fix the FLO

The following article is set to appear in the April edition of Florida Sportsman Magazine. It is reprinted with permission here. Send Lake O water south, before the rainy season,to prevent harmful discharges to the coasts: How it can be done, now. By Blair Wickstrom, Publisher Significant plans to restore the Everglades and stop the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries have been forged with hope and promise over the last three decades. But here we are, looking at the prospects of another disastrous year for the estuaries—and still very little water flowing into the ‘Glades. It’s time to act. Too much water has been kept in Lake Okeechobee. We need to demand that all efforts are made to begin [...]

2021-04-01T10:19:08-04:00March 29th, 2021|Uncategorized|

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