Gov. Scott signs Lake O reservoir bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that includes money to speed construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

The initiative drew heavy support from clean-water advocates in Southwest Florida and along the east coast but was criticized by agricultural interests, including U.S. Sugar, which expressed concern the reservoir would come at the cost of valuable farmland.

Scott, in a statement on the signing, doubled down on his plea from earlier for state funding to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike that surrounds the lake.

“Everglades restoration is a top priority and that’s why I’ve been extremely clear that in addition to SB 10, the Legislature should include $200 million in the budget to help fix the Herbert Hoover Dike,” Scott said.

Water flows from the lake have been blamed for murky water and blue-green algae in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.