Controversy surrounds the future of the $1.4 billion reservoir construction

The calls for resignation, which are aimed at the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District, are growing louder and now they are headed to Washington.

“It’s very obvious that their actions and their policy and the way they go about it warrants them being completely replaced,” Daniel Andrews said, a co-founder of Captains for Clean Water.

It started back in November, when the district voted to extend a lease with sugar company, Florida Crystals, on land south of the lake. It is the same parcel of land where a $1.4 billion reservoir is slated to be built.

Portions of the plan. Photo via WINK News.
Portions of the plan. Photo via WINK News.

But in a statement, the management district insisted construction of the reservoir will still proceed normally.

“Florida law clearly states that agricultural operators shall be continued to farm on a field by field basis,” the statement reads, “until such time as the agricultural operations are incompatible with site preparation.”

Still, the Captains for Clean Water founders Chris Wittman and Andrews are skeptical of the board’s motives since the lease extension was only added to the meeting agenda at 9 p.m., a couple hours before the meeting.

Leaving almost no time to notify the public or hear counterarguments.

“They had this meeting at a remote location,” Andrews said. “It was definitely done in malice. And the district created a narrative try to hide their true intent from the public.”

Andrews and Wittman have now taken their fight to Washington where they are meeting with lawmakers about the future of the reservoir.

“Because of corruption at the Water Management District and their malicious vote in November,” Andrews said, “we’re now having to deal with trying to figure out how we’re going to negotiate around these leases and still go forward and get this project built as soon as possible.”

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has not weighed in yet. Many are waiting to see what will happen next.

Reporter:Oliver Redsten
Writer:Michael Mora
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