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Below, in the time order published, are four consecutive reports spawned by a water quality forum co-sponsored by Last Stand, of Key West, and Everglades Law Center at the Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, April 22, 2014. This is not pretty reading.
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Right now, most of what I publish daily is at www.goodmorningkeywest.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on that link. That’s because I live down there now and am running for mayor. Sometimes I put something new on this website, too.
This past Tuesday night, I attended a water quality symposium at Eco-Discovery in Key West, co-hosted by Last Stand and Everglades Law Center
Here’s the Key West Citizen report on the symposium:
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Add to Facebook Add to Twitter
Everglades restoration will benefit Keys, say experts
BY TIMOTHY O’HARA Citizen Staff
Experts in the field of water quality and coral reef ecology made their case Tuesday night why major ongoing Everglades restoration projects will benefit the Florida Keys environmentally and economically.
The Florida Keys environmental group Last Stand and the Everglades Law Center scheduled two public forums in the Keys this week to better explain the importance of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project.
The panel of experts gave an overview of how the Everglades restoration projects will bring more and cleaner fresh water into Florida Bay, benefitting Keys waters, “one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the Caribbean,” said panel member and National Marine Sanctuaries Program Regional Administrator Billy Causey.
Decades of water management policies redirected the natural flow of fresh waters away from the southern end of the Everglades and Florida Bay, essentially to benefit the agriculture industry and residential development in South Florida. Those practices led to a collapse of Florida Bay and its seagrass ecosystems in the early 1990s, as half of its fresh water influx was removed, said panel member Tom Van Lent, director of science and policy for the Everglades Foundation.
State and federal government projects to fix the water flow began in the early 2000s, and continue today.
The road to Everglades recovery must include more clean fresh water; remove barriers to natural water flow; and restore the historical flow, Van Lent said.
One of the biggest Army Corps of Engineers projects currently ongoing is the Central Everglades Planning Project, which will restore the flow of water across hundreds of acres in the center of the Everglades, according to Van Lent’s presentation.
“It’s not as easy to put it back to what it was, but that is Everglades restoration,” Van Lent said. “It won’t heal itself.”
Florida Bay encompasses the Upper Keys backcountry waters, and is frequented by nearly all of the Upper Keys flats and backcountry fishing guides.
The ocean, reefs and backcountry waters off the Keys alone generate more than $140 million a year directly through fishing and diving, according to NOAA statistics.
The Florida Keys is also the highest grossing commercial seafood hub in the state, in terms of revenue, and third largest in the country, bringing in more than $100 million a year, according to the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association.
For every $1 the government puts towards Everglades restoration, there is a $4 return to the South Florida economy, said panel member Jerry Lorenz, Audubon of Florida’s director of research at its Tavernier Science Center.
Lorenz, who actively conducts bird and fish counts in the Everglades and Florida Bay, argued that the health of key species of commercially and recreationally fished marine life — such as spiny lobster, stone crab, redfish and snook — depend on healthy water flows out of the Everglades and into Florida Bay and the Keys.
“It’s not just about the ecosystem, it’s about the economy,” Lorenz said. “This is what we sell. This is what we are.”
I saw Tim leave the auditorium during the symposium. Or perhaps he went to the bathroom and came back into the auditorium and I did not see him return. Perhaps while Tim was away was when the Everglades Law Center lawyer informed Billy Causey and the scientists that the Army Corps of Engineers, earlier yesterday, had announced they will not participate in restoring the flow of water into the Everglades. The scientists’ sighs of disappointment were intense.
Here’s my report on the symposium:
I learned lots about Everglades history and nitrates and phosphates and corals. I learned coral reefs have been declining world-wide for some time, and the main cause seems to be global warming. I was not persuaded, however, by Billy Causey’s comment that nitrates and chemicals are not why much of our reef died off, because, Causey said, there is no evidence those chemicals ever reached our reef. The scientists, who spoke behind Causey, said phosphates and nitrates are bad for coral, sea grass, etc. And, a chart Causey put up on the screen showed some nitrates and phosphates on the reef
Causey and the scientists focused heavily on too much salinity in Florida Bay caused by the lack of normal freshwater flow out of the Everglades. And on sewerage pollution coming off the Florida Keys. And on global warming.
Brian LaPointe, PhD was not there – he might have had a stroke and dropped dead. His view is nitrates are what killed most of our reef, and nitrates are still coming down here from the mainland, through Florida Bay. Brian’s satellite photos of that happening, which he presented in a slide show to the Key West City Commission maybe two months ago, at the request of City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, were shocking and compelling. I felt Causey’s remarks were aimed dead and LaPointe, without saying so. I felt LaPoint should have been there, to provide his view. I tried to get Last Stand to do that, and was not successful. Cause told me after the symposium, after I told him that LaPoint first had schooled me, that that was my problem. I told Causey he is the problem.
That aside, Causey and the scientists and the environmental lawyer are on the right track saying the water flow through the Everglades needs to be restored. No kidding. Blocking the natural flow of water through the Glades was what screwed up the Glades and Florida Bay, which became more saline after much of the fresh water stopped going through the Glades into Florida Bay. One of the scientists said they hope to be able to restore 80 percent of the original water flow into the Glades, and to reestablish the old southward central water-flow pathway into Florida Bay near the Florida Keys.
The speakers said a great deal of water now is being jettisoned out of Lake Okeechobee into an east-west canal, through which the water heads to the west and east coasts of Florida and comes into Florida Bay far to the west. It was said the people on the east and west coasts are Florida are furious about all that water being dumped on them, large street protests against that water have happened. Not said last night was why the east and west Floridians are furious about receiving that dirty water.
After the meeting ended, I asked the lady lawyer if she had interviewed the people on the east and west coasts about why they are so upset about that water being sent to them from Lake Okeechobee? She said she had interviewed them. I said, then she knows they are up in arms over that water being dirty, full of nitrates and phosphates, which kill the sea grasses the manatees eat, and cause the red weed (algae, the red tide algae) to blossom. Losing their food source, the manatee starve. They eat the red weed, which is poisonous to them. They get sick, then they die.
The lady lawyer said, yes, that is happening. I said I wished they had told the audience that. For that is the same water they want to bring from Lake Okeechobee down through the Everglades into Florida Bay. Of course, that water must be cleaned up, before it can be released into the Glades. That’s why the dirty water had been diverted from the Everglades years ago, into Lake Okeechobee, because it was damaging the Glades and Florida Bay. The lady lawyer agreed, and said the scientists have designed a filter system, which they had hardly explained, after I told them from my seat that the filter system is critical, the most important thing, which they hope will clean up that dirty water. She said the dirty water cannot be allowed into the Glades.
I thought Causey had said during the meeting that Okeechobee water released through the Glades would be cleaned up by the time it reached Florida Bay. And I thought one of the scientists had said the dirty water had to be cleaned before it reached the Glades, because it would not be cleaned by passing through the Glades. Brian LaPoint told me a year ago that the dirty water would not be cleaned up by passing through the Glades. He also told me about the dirty water’s effect on the manatees on the east and west coasts, and how it grew a lot more red weed.
If I had not been schooled by LaPoint, I would not have known about the manatee dying, I would not have known of the dirty water coming out of Lake Okeechobee.
After speaking with the lady lawyer, I found Causey and covered most of that same ground with him. Then, I said, Governor Scott is up for reelection this year. His opponent, Charlie Crist, is an environmentalist, or so is said. The Republicans very much want Scott to be reelected this year. The Keys low number of voters is meaningless to Governor Scott. The east and west coast of Florida voter numbers are great, probably in the millions. Governor Scott wants to stop those east and west coast Floridians from demonstrating against that dirty water being sent to them and killing their manatees, but the Army Corps of Engineers wants to keep killing all those manatees and doesn’t want the restore the natural water flow though the Everglades! Imagine what FOX News CNN would do with that!
I told Causey that where he lives, on Big Pine Key, bio-hazard grinder pumps are widely being installed. Causey said he didn’t know about that situation. I said it is a big problem, and he should be all over it. I had told him the same thing maybe three months ago in the Marathon Government Center during a Marine Sanctuary meeting on polluted Florida Keys canals.
I then covered much the same ground, except for grinder pumps, with the scientists, one at a time.
When I told the last scientist that it looks to me their only mission is to try to get the water turned back on into the Glades, and to make sure that water is clean, he said they have only one valve they can turn, and that is the valve bringing all that water going east-west back down through the Glades. I said, I sure do hope they will be able to clean up that dirty water. He said he thinks they will will be able do it. That’s a heck of a lot of dirty water running out of Lake Okeechobee into that east-west canal, and then to the east and west Florida coasts.
I sat beside Al Sullivan during the presentation last night. Al used to be President of Last Stand. I said all day I was feeling something toxic coming into me, making me feel lousy, and I couldn’t figure out what it was, because I didn’t see anything concerning Key West, which would have that effect on me yesterday. And now here I was in the water quality symposium, seeing and hearing about what was making me feel so bad.
photo taken last year by Jolly Benson’s brother Will, a Key West tarpon guide, of cruise ship leaving Key West
Sitting on the other side of me last night was William Benson, Jolly Benson’s father. Jolly led the charge to defeat the bigger cruise ships calling on Key West referendum last year. William asked me what did I think the lady lawyer, Causey and the scientists felt about dirty cruise ships? I said I doubt they have any interest in that, I brought cruise ships up in Marathon a few months ago, and Causey looked at me like I was a lunatic. That might have been due to my also having quoted Brian LaPointe during my citizen comments.
Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry, retired (sort of), also environmental activist, living in Key Haven just above Key West, wrote to me yesterday:
Sloan: the water quality in our canal was healthy, clear, clean, full of marine sea life —-that is a span of over 30 years. When the Cruise polluters arrived it deteriorated rapidly, fiercely, perversely, into a nightmarish horrible smelly unhealthy mess. That is indisputable fact.
Reminding people, as you have done from time to time, about deadly MRSA has been a profoundly good service –critical in fact. best regards !! Jerry
MRSA is pandemic in Key West and the Florida Keys. Some pretty photos of MRSA.
Because of this mutated flesh-eating bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics, modern medicine has a hard time treating it. Usually MRSA is associated with staphylococcus aureus bacteria, but other bacteria can produce similar results. Fatal, if not treated. Best I nearly died from it in 2003, in Key West, and had later bouts with it.
Best remedy I found is to mix the red liquid iodine with petroleum Jelly (obtainable in drug stores), until the concoction is pink. Apply that several time daily to erupting MRSA sore. Also, apply oil of oregano, obtainable in health food stores, over the petroleum-iodine remedy. Applying oil of oregano directly to the lesion may be to hot and will destroy flesh. As will applying straight iodine to a MRSA sore destroy flesh.
Physicians do not recognize these remedies and continue to try to treat skin MRSA with antibiotics.
Physicians in the Florida Keys treat MRSA ongoing. They know the ocean is polluted and is a good place to contract MRSA. Divers in the Keys know entering the ocean with a scratch or nick on their skin, say from shaving, or whatever, or cutting their skin while in the ocean, can easily lead to contracting MRSA.
After a local surgeon carved three nasty MRSA sores out of tender areas of my hide in 2003, he told me I could do anything I wanted to do but go into the ocean.
When I left Last Stand and Everglades Law Center’s water quality symposium Tuesday night, I felt a huge disturbance in the Force. I was really upset, too. As time passed, the unrest continued to torment me, and I continued to feel a great disturbance in the Force.
Yesterday afternoon, out of the blue, something came to me. I didn’t like seeing it, but it created a shift inside of me and I felt myself moving through the torment, into a really sober state of being.
Perhaps some history is needed, before I get down to the bones.
When I first learned of the water quality symposium from Last Stand’s President Naja Girard, to be held at Eco Discovery Center on Truman Waterfront last Tuesday night, I wrote to Naja asking if Dr. Brian LaPointe, a Big Pine Key part-time resident,
would be one of the presenters? Naja replied that he would not be there, his views were widely known and he had recently presented them at a KW city commission meeting. I wrote back that I was not happy to hear that, please invite Dr. LaPointe to also present at the water quality symposium. He was not invited.
As I wrote in the recent 2014 Last Stand and Everglades Law Center water quality symposium in Key West report post at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, Billy Causey, of the Marine Sanctuary, a Big Pine Key resident,
without naming LaPointe, told the water quality symposium audience that there is no evidence phosphates and nitrates ever reached our reef. LaPoint’s view is that is exactly what happened, and that was the heart of his compelling slide show presentation to the KW City Commission. Had LaPointe been at the water quality symposium, he would have disputed Causey’s remark. Had LaPointe been at the water quality symposium, the audience would have gotten a far different perspective.
As I wrote in the 2014 Last Stand and Everglades Law Center water quality symposium in Key West report post at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, I felt Causey made a couple misstatements of fact during the symposium.
La Pointe would have disagreed with Causey saying diry water could be released into the Everglades and it would be cleaned up by the time it reached Florida Bay. LaPointe would have explained the havoc that dirty water would wreak in the Everglades en route to Florida Bay.
Causey doesn’t agree with LaPointe. Causey told me that himself after the symposium ended. Causey told me that’s where I went wrong, listening to LaPointe. Maybe Causey would not have participated in the water quality symposium, if LaPointe had been there. Maybe the scientists would not have been there, if LaPointe had been there.
My take was, at the symposium, without saying he was doing it, Causey attacked La Pointe, by saying there was no evidence of nitrates and phosphates having reached our reef, which Causey did not tell the audience was LaPointe’s position. Yet the a chart Causey put up on the screen showed nitrates and phosphates on the reef. One of the scientists said that coral reefs grow where there are no nutrients.
LaPointe told me about a year a go that the chemicals reached our reef years ago; killed about 90 percent of the reef. He showed the City Commission that the chemicals are still being dumped into Florida Bay, mostly on its west side, and those chemicals are making their way down to us and our reef.
Now for the woo woo part of this report.
During the symposium, the Everglades Law Center’s lawyer informed the scientists and the audience, perhaps Causey already knew of it, that the Army Corps of Engineers earlier that same day had announced they would not go along with bringing more water into the Everglades, which was the entire thrust of the Marine Sanctuary, Causey and the scientists’ presentation, and the only possible cure for what ails the Everglades, high salinity in Florida Bay, and the downstream effect of that on our reef. The scientists were visibly and audibly distressed to to hear that awful news at the symposium.
Years ago I also learned about timing, which some people call synchronicity. The timing of the Corps’ decision not to participate on the same day as the water quality control symposium put on by Last Stand and the Everglades Law Center, without LaPointe being there, is all one bundle; all one downstream event, dating back to my attempt to get Naja to include LaPointe in the symposium, and she declined.
Perhaps if a second water quality symposium is held in Key West and on Key Largo, which includes LaPointe, that will take care of the disturbance in the Force and help get the Army Corps of Engineers involved. The scientists will have to convince the Corps, though, that their filter system will clean up the dirty water before it is released into the Everglades.
Dear Mr. Bashinsky,Following our discussion at the conclusion of the water quality and South Florida Ecosystem Restoration forum at the Florida Keys EcoDiscovery Center, Tuesday night and my review of your column in GoodMorningFloridaKeys.com the next morning, I wanted to send you the attached annual water quality report. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program is managed by EPA, NOAA and the State of Florida, with local governments, various stakeholders and others that serve on a Water Quality Steering Committee. The committee meets twice a year.The Florida International University has been contracted by EPA, the State and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor the water quality and the seagrasses of the Sanctuary. In past years, the South Florida Water Management District and the National Park Service has also contracted for water quality monitoring with the same FIU scientists.The water quality information that I presented on April 16 and 22nd came from the 16 year old FIU monitoring program and the various reports of the data they have collected over the years.The latest report is attached for your review. All of the reports can be found at their website, which is: http://ocean.floridamarine.org/FKNMS_WQPP/pages/wqmp.html .I would like to encourage you to review the reports and the FIU website.Finally, I have a book that was edited by Dr. Bill Kruczynski, EPA retired, who attended and was introduced at the forum Tuesday night. I would like to give you a copy of his book titled:Tropical Connections. The book has nearly 200 peer-reviewed papers written by over 160 authors. Bill managed the FKNMS WQPP for EPA, the State and NOAA for over 15 years and is very knowledgeable about water quality issues in the Florida Keys.If you will give me your mailing address, I will send you a copy of Tropical Connections.
Sincerely, Billy CauseyBilly D. Causey, Ph.D.Regional DirectorSoutheast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean RegionNOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries33 East Quay RoadKey West, Florida 33040Office: 305 809 4670 (ex 234)Mobile: 305 395 0150Fax: 305 293 5011Email: Billy.Causey@noaa.govWill Our Grandchildren Remember Us For What We Conserved and Protected or For What We Let Slip Away?
www.fau.edu/hboi/meh/hab.php?Florida Atlantic University
Mar 6, 2014 - save our seas plate. This research is funded by proceeds from Florida’s Save Our Seas specialty license plate. Brian E. Lapointe, Ph.D.
This research is funded by proceeds from Florida’s Save Our Seas specialty license plate.
Brian E. Lapointe, Ph.D.
www.floridaoceanscouncil.org/members/bios/causey.htm CachedBilly Causey is the Southeast Regional Director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Whether or not there is nothing new at this website, there is something new each day atwww.goodmorningkeyswest.com.
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This post today continues an email discussion with NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries District Director Billy Causey
reported in the next previous word to the wise, Big Sugar, et. al., it’s not smart to mess with Mother Nature post at this website, which was prompted by my report in the next previous 2014 Last Stand and Everglades Law Center water quality symposium in Key West report post at this website. The two earlier posts provide the background for this post today, so if you have not yet read them, you might wish to click on those links and get the back story before reading what follows, which is a bit less tame than those two posts.
Billy Causey wrote to me:
The organizers of the Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here forum were Last Stand and the Everglades Law Center. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary merely provided the space in the EcoDiscovery Center. It was not a sanctuary event. The organizers put together the list of invited speakers and I even had to squeeze my way on to the panel.
It is my understanding that Brian Lapointe asked to speak before the City Commission a month or so ago and he went it alone, not inviting another viewpoint. I wish we could have had more questions last Tuesday evening, I would have liked to have heard from Joel and some of the other Reef Relief members that were present. And by the way, I worked with Deevon and Criag when they first started Reef Relief. John Halas and I helped them with their first 100 mooring buoys and I have been a member (except maybe a few years in the mid-1990?s) since the formation of RR. In addition, when I managed Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary I funded Brian Lapointe to conduct several research projects with his colleagues.
I just thought I would share a little of my history with Reef Relief with you.
Will Our Grandchildren Remember Us For What We Conserved and Protected or For What We Let Slip Away?
Hi, Billy -
Yes, the organizers of the Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here forum were Last Stand and the Everglades Law Center. I understood that from promos I had received by email from Naja [Naja Girard], which is what prompted me to ask her to invite Brian Lapointe
to the water quality forum. City Commissioner Jimmy Weekly had sponsored Brian presenting to the City Commission. I don’t know how it came about, but it didn’t receive preliminary fanfare of which I was aware. I was there, it was announced that Brian would make a presentation. I was surprised, but pleased. I reported that the next day at www.goodmorningkeywest.com.
It was because Naja had seen Brian’s presentation in Old City Hall, that I wrote to her asking if she had invited Brian to the water quality conference? I was taken aback by her curt and also defensive response. She was Last Stand’s President! I published those emails. Spin it anyway you wish, Billy, you will not convince me that you were not the reason Brian was not invited to the water quality conference. Nor, I doubt, will you convince Joel and Erika Biddle that you were not the reason Brian was not invited.
You came across to me during the water quality conference as disingenuous, and you continued to come across that way when I spoke to you after most everyone had left Eco-Discovery Center. You presented an affect of an addict, during your presentations, and when speaking with me afterward. I talked with Joel and Erika about that at their home last night. They said, yes, you come across like you are on something. I said booze was my guess, based on your body shape and weight, and skin coloration, and your way of speaking and relating. They said your red cursor danced and jerked on the screen when you presented, and all but one of the other scientists’ red cursors did the same.
Joel said the nutrient spikes and valleys in one of the charts you presented, which spikes you said should be ignored, are hugely important, indicating large infusions of nitrates into the water, followed by rapid grown of nitrogen-eating organisms, which knocked the nitrogen back. Joel, mild-mannered as he is, seemed thoroughly unhappy with your presentation and the entire conference. And, he agreed, the Army Corps of Engineers indeed are concerned about water laden with nitrates and phosphates again being dumped into the Everglades, and there not being a way to clean that water up beforehand.
When you said during one of your presentations, that passing through the Everglades will clean up the dirty water before it reaches Florida Bay, I nearly fell out of my seat. A scientist who spoke behind you said passing through the Everglades will not clean up that dirty water, it has to be cleaned up before being put into the Everglades.
Joel said, eventually the Corps will come around, after pressure comes from higher up, and the dirty water will be sent back into the Everglades, unless your filtering system cleans it up, which Joel said will not happen; as things now stand, you don’t have the capability of cleaning up that huge amount of dirty water.
Reef Relief, by the way, for which Joel gave his life for a number of years, has fallen from the heavens, and now is headed by people who like cruise ships far more than they like Mother Nature. Joel is quite disturbed about that, too. As is Erika. Your friends. I remember Joel telling me Reef Relief came around to agreeing with Brian Lapointe about what killed most of the reef down here.
They both said NOAA and other environmental agencies, including Brian Lapointe, are more concerned about getting federal funding, getting paid your salaries paid, than anything else. I said, Brian gets some business from foreign countries and is not as dependent, perhaps, as you, Billy, and other environmental agencies are on federal funding.
Joel said all the environmental activist organizations, Last Stand, the Sierra Club, Everglades Law Center, others I don’t recall which he named, sold out to the high salinity theory. I said, well, sure, if fresh water coming out of the Everglades was reduced, then Florida Bay would become more saline as a result. But that would not translate to the ocean around the reef becoming more saline. The ocean already was more saline, the upper Florida Bay was an estuary body, more brackish than the ocean.
Billy, if you want to keep batting tennis balls at me, go head; I will keep batting them back.
I told two of the scientists after speaking with you following the water quality symposium, that you, Billy Causey, are not their friend. They said you are very much their friend. I said, no you are not.
From there, I went to speak to the only scientist I had not conversed with, and I asked him why you all had dragged stopping global warming into the conference, when there was nothing any of you could do about stopping it? I said your mission is to restore the water flow into the Everglades, if you can clean up all that dirty water. He pushed back, tried to defend trying to stop global warming. I didn’t budge. He finally conceded, yes, there is only one valve you might be able to turn, and that is the valve which can release all that dirty water back into the Everglades, if it first can be cleaned up.
That’s when I left, feeling like a great fraud had been attempted during the conference, and you, Billy, were the main instigator, although you had plenty of active help from Naja and Last Stand, Everglades Law Center, and the scientists, who, Joel and I both were convinced from what they had said during the conference, darn well knew they did not have the capability of cleaning up all that dirty water you and they want released back into the Everglades.
The Hispanic woman in the audience got that out of one of the scientists toward the end of the questions and answers, when she asked if the small fresh water release “test” area over toward the west coast, which worked out well restoring that small area, was a test for the main problem, and the scientist said no, that was different from bringing large amounts of water into the Everglades, if it first can be cleaned up.
Billy, if you and the other scientists had the ability to clean up all of that dirty water before releasing it into the Everglades, you and they would have lavished that filtering technology on the water quality conference audience. Instead, you and the scientists did everything possible to race through the filtering system, as if it was of no concern. That, Billy, was the smoking gun. Your and the other scientists’ Achilles heel. And the Corps stopped you, for now, from bringing into the Everglades a great deal of dirty water you and the other scientists do not have the ability to clean up.
Is that, Billy, what you want your grandchildren to remember you by?
“Will Our Grandchildren Remember Us For What We Conserved and Protected or For What We Let Slip Away?”
Is that what Big Sugar and the other big farm combines and the fertilizer companies want their grandchildren to remember them by?
They killed the Everglades, they killed the manatees, they killed the sea grasses, they killed Florida Bay, they killed the only living coral reef in North America.
I’m 71 years old, Billy. Hopefully, my days are numbered compared to my grandchildren’s days.
I told Joel and Erika at their home, hell, there are no environmentalists in the Florida Keys, it is not possible to be an environmentalist and live in the Florida Keys. If we truly are worried about the environment down here, we would move somewhere else. Down here we need our cars and trucks and motor scooters and motor cycles. We need our food and merchandise brought down here by trucks. We need airplanes and tourists and boats coming in and out of here all the time. We need coal and nuclear powered electricity. Of all places in North America, we should be totally solar. We suck our drinking water out of depleting mainland aquifers, and Key West sells that drinking water to biohazard cruise ships, which find it more convenient to get their drinking water in Key West, instead of on the south Florida coast.
Instead of fighting cruise ships calling on Key West tooth and nail, fang and claw, Reef Relief accepted donations from a cruise ship company and put one of its management employees on Reef Relief’s board of directors. Joel Biddle told me that, DeeVon Quirolo later told me the same thing. She and Joel said they had hoped to change the cruise ship company in that way. Not surprisingly, the cruise ship company was not changed.
The county and city governments in the Florida Keys allow as much new development as Tallahassee will allow. Redevelopment of old developments proceeds unbridled.
We delude ourselves in the Keys by saying we are going green. We are going brown as fast as we can. And I’m part of it. So are you, Billy. But I’m dead honest about it, which cannot be said of most people I know living down here.
When Joel and Erika got on the global warming alarm band wagon last night, I reminded them that global warming and cooling are part of the planet’s natural historical cycle. I said people down here smoke tobacco, Erika is one, and, pound for pound, smokers pollute the air as much as any factory, car, truck, tractor, airplane, boat, power plant. I said humans are aggravating a natural planetary warming cycle already under way. The seas will rise just because of the natural planetary warming; humans are making the seas rise higher. Joel and Erika agreed.
The atmosphere is dying because of humans. The oceans are dying because of humans. The land is dying because of humans. It won’t surprise me, Billy, if the planet gets fed up and defends herself and shakes the nasty fleas giving her all sorts of black plagues off of her skin. Yes, that will destroy a lot of other innocent life forms, but it will save the planet. Meanwhile, I imagine a Category 5 hurricane rampaging the Florida Keys from Key West to Key Largo, and then plowing into Big Sugar’s domain, will be a good start.
After writing to Billy, I remembered that I had told the Key West City Commission during citizen comments at a city commission meeting that they really should get to know Brian Lapointe, whose position was farm chemical runoff from the mainland was what had killed 90 percent of the reef, and that dirty water was going to be released into the Everglades again because it was killing the manatees on the Florida east and west coasts, and when those chemicals made there way down here again, they would kill the rest of the reef and the undersea coral farms Key West and Monroe County were funding in hopes the coral being raised on those farms would be transplanted on and restore the reef. I think it maybe was a month after that City Commission meeting that Brian made his devastating presentation at a city commission meeting, showing massive mainland chemical runoff into Florida Bay even now, mostly from the west side of Florida, which is making its way down to the Florida Keys and onto the reef. As I recall, no questions were asked of Brian by the mayor and city commissioners, and citizens in the audience were not given an opportunity to speak.
In early January 1995, the angels who run me told me, “Go to Big Pine Key, go as soon as possible, this is important.” I was living in Boulder, Colorado. I bought a round trip ticket from Denver to Miami and was on my way. On the 7th day of the trip, in the middle of the hump on No Name Key Bridge, facing the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by pelicans sitting on the bridge railing, flying above the bridge and diving into and sitting on the water below, I was seized by something HUGE. My heart felt like it would jump out of my body. I bust into heaving sobs and grabbed the bridge railing to avoid falling to the ground, as I heard, BECAUSE YOU LOVE THIS PLACE SO MUCH YOU WILL BE USED TO TRY TO PROTECT IT. That covenant the angels made with me is my dog in this fight.
To be dead honest, I wish I still lived on my own little Walden on Little Torch Key, the next island below Big Pine – my heart is trying to jump out of my body, I’m bursting into tears, the angels have me in Key West on a different mission impossible, about which I write daily at www.goodmorningkeywest.com ; although today, at Danny Coll’s invitation.
I’m speaking about grinder pumps to the Lower Keys Rotary Club on Big Pine Key. Danny is running against County Commissioner George Neugent,
who proved in spades, by defending biohazard grinder pumps over environmentally-friendly gravity sewer systems in that part of the Keys, needs to be removed from office. It just ain’t smart, George, to mess with Mother Nature, which you just might learn even more about as this campaign season progresses, since I doesn’t seem Her attempts, so far, to get your attention have worked. I hope She leaves your sweet wife Susie out of it …
Billy Causey, who lives on Big Pine and glibly rebuffed my efforts to enlist him in stopping the biohazard grinder pump invasion of Big Pine and the lower islands, is in Her crosshairs, too.
As is Last Stand.
Causey, NOAA and Last Stand should have put Monroe County, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) into Federal Court as soon as DEP approved FKAA’s permits to install a sewer system in the Lower Keys, which relied heavily on biohazard grinder pumps, instead of on environmentally-friendly gravity sewer systems.
I am convinced somebody is getting paid off; there is no other explanation for using grinder pumps on individual private properties where gravity is feasible. Grinder pumps cost more to install and maintain. Grinder pumps break down frequently. Grinder pump lines spring leaks which spill raw sewerage into the eco-system. Grinder pump line leaks cannot be detected, therefore cannot be repaired. Grinder pumps require electricity to operate. Power outages are common in the lower Keys. Power outages for extended periods of time happen during and following hurricanes. Ocean tidal surges during hurricanes cover lower Keys islands with saltwater, further compromising grinder pumps. A New Jersey grinder pump subdivision was hit by Hurricane Sandy and Hazmat teams were sent in to clean up human feces off of yards and streets and out of homes.
Here’s what Mother Nature thinks of grinder pumps being used instead of gravity in the Florida Keys.
The Lower Keys Rotary Club will hear from Her today.
Brian Lapointe, PhD, esteemed salt and fresh water scientist living part of the time on Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys, sez there is absolutely no way NOAA/Federal Marine Sanctuaries, Central Everglades Planning Projects (CEEP) or any authority/outfit have the technology, proven by field-tests, to clean up the massive amount of dirty (nitrogen-contaminated) water that is proposed to be allowed into the Everglades
This post today is the fourth consecutive post at this website – www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com – spawned from a water quality forum co-hosted about two weeks ago by Last Stand and Everglades Law Center at the Eco-Discovery Center in Key West.
First below this introduction, read my email to Regena, assistant to Assistant Secretary (Civil) of the Army Corps of Engineers Jo-Ellen Darcy, and the two emails included in that email to Regina. That will give you the main theme.
When I spoke with Regena on the telephone, she gave me her direct email address on condition that I not disclose it for all the world to see, because, she said, they did not want to be blasted with emails from all over everywhere. I said I didn’t blame them.
Perhaps not entirely coincidence, Regena told me she has blood relatives living in Alabama, including Birmingham, my hometown.
Then scroll down and read my first email to Regena, and all the emails included.
What little confidence I still had in Last Stand before the water quality forum evaporated at the forum, which I left convinced was a sham, if not an outright fraud. Then, it got worse.
To: regena email@example.com
Subject: P.S. RE: Last Stand/Everglades
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 07:19:02 -0400
Subject: FW: Last Stand/Everglades
Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 14:05:16 -0400
Sloan Bashinsky, ex-lawyer on the lam from Birmingham (title to a new song, maybe, or a new book)
Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 11:15:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Last Stand/Everglades
thanks, sent to you from this email account, too, because sometimes my other email account firstname.lastname@example.org - is treated as SPAM and goes into junk mail.
my cell, 305-4-7-4285See 3 most recent posts at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com
Good evening.I will send your comments along to Naja.Thank you for your concern and passion regarding the importance of clean water for the present and going into the future. It is certainly shameful that so much damage has been done.Respectfully,Susan ReutlingExecutive CoordinatorOn Mon, May 5, 2014 at 7:30 PM, sloan bashinsky <email@example.com> wrote:Naja:From Last Stand’s Action Alert:
The Solution: Good plans exist to clean Okeechobee’s water in the form of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), but funding for implementation of these critically important projects is stalled. CEPP needs to be included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) now being considered in Congress. But the Army Corps needs to act first.Is there a comprehensive explanation of these “good plans”? If so, where can it be seen? Have the “good plans” been test-driven? Are they just theoretical? What are they? What is their history? What scientists will stake their jobs and reputations, their lives even, that these “good plans” will work, if implemented? How much will it cost to build and implement the system to clean all that dirty water?I ask, because said “good plans” were not described at the recent water quality forum at Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, despite my repeated attempts to get the scientists to describe said “good plans”. Nor, after the forum, during your and my email back and forth, did you describe the “good plans”. In fact, you never once said the technology is there, or is doable, to clean all that dirty water before releasing it into the Everglades.Certainly, the fresh water flow needs to be restored into the Glades. It was heinous what was done to the Glades, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys and reef by fertilizer runoff, which led to the cut off of a great deal of water from going into the Glades. It was heinous sending that dirty water into Lake Okeechobee and from there to the east and west Florida coasts.I still don’t understand why you still don’t tell the powers that be the dirty water is killing manatee on the east and west coasts, by destroying the water grasses they eat – that’s about the same as killing whales, conchs, sea grasses, sea turtles, corals, key deer and people with WMD – chemical weapons.Maybe, instead, Last Stand should lobby the powers that be to buy up all the farms in the watershed above the Glades, then let Mother Nature clean up those farms as time passes, and then let the Glades go back to being how they were before the invasive species, and I don’t mean giant foreign snakes, walking catfish, killer lizards, etc. introduced into the Glades by the invasive species – humans.Sloan
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*** ACTION ALERT ***
Keys water quality is at risk
The health of Florida Bay is in jeopardy
Your help is needed now to get “CEPP” on the Army Corps’ front burner
The Problem: Last summer, releases of excess “dirty” fresh water from Lake Okeechobee to the east and west caused major water quality problems on both heavily populated coasts. The degraded quality created a clamor for any future excess fresh water to be released instead south into the Everglades. Without first cleaning that water, such discharge would surely harm Florida Bay.
The Solution: Good plans exist to clean Okeechobee’s water in the form of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), but funding for implementation of these critically important projects is stalled. CEPP needs to be included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) now being considered in Congress. But the Army Corps needs to act first.
How You Can Help: Today call or email the offices of two key DC policymakers (Senator Rubio and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen) and ask them to sign on to the letter that asks the Army Corps to approve the CEPP project. Remember to give your name, tell them where you live, and remind them that any funding delay is harmful both to Everglades Restoration efforts and to the people of the Keys who rely on good water quality for their livelihoods, recreation and health.
Senator Marco Rubio
DC office: (202) 224-304
South Florida office: (305) 418-8553
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
DC office: (202) 225-3931
South Florida office: (305) 668-2285
And thank you for all YOU do!
Please see the following Everglades Caucus letter signed by supportive representatives.
April 25, 2014
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
108 Army Pentagon, Room 3E446
Washington, DC 20310-0108
Dear Assistant Secretary:
We are writing to express our extreme disappointment with the Army Corps Civil Works Review Board’s decision to delay proceeding forward with finalizing the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) and to urge the Corps to reconvene as quickly as possible in order to finalize the CEPP Chief’s Report.
The importance of this project to America’s Everglades cannot be understated. Every rainy season, the Army Corps sends discharges of nutrient heavy fresh water from Lake Okeechobee out to our coastal estuaries instead of sending the water south to the critical habitats of Everglades National Park that desperately need fresh water. Discharges of nutrient heavy fresh water from Lake Okeechobee have plagued the coastal estuaries and communities of Florida for far too long. These releases contribute to an influx of fresh water harmful to public health, the fragile estuaries, and tourism-based economies of the area. The opposite problem exists south of the lake where fresh water is desperately needed to restore the natural ecosystem and crucial habitats of Everglades National Park. Delaying the approval and construction and implementation of CEPP is harmful to Everglades restoration efforts and to people of south Florida that rely on fresh water for their health and their livelihoods. Time is of the essence in moving forward with this critical Everglades restoration project.
We welcome members of the Review Board to witness first-hand the serious environmental problems that the completion of CEPP will help address, such as the damage that releases from Lake Okeechobee have on the coastal estuaries and the communities that depend on the water quality of their local waterways.
We again urge the Army Corps to move forward as expeditiously as possible. Please provide us with a written response that includes the upcoming dates and schedule for the Army Corps’ plans to finalize CEPP.
Patrick E. Murphy, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Bill Nelson, UNITED STATES SENATOR
Ander Crenshaw, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Ted Deutch, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Mario Diaz-Balart, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Lois Frankel,MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Joe Garcia, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Alcee L. Hastings, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Bill Posey, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Tom J. Rooney, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, MEMBER OF CONGRESS
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