Florida Rep. Brian Mast (R) may have landed himself in hot water after Florida lawmakers directed a letter to him, arguing that he is politicizing Lake Okeechobee. A number of Florida Mayors signed on to the letter, expressing that “over the past few years, we have watched with tremendous concern as you have politicized issues and advocated for policies that would harm our communities, all while ignoring real solutions to help Lake Okeechobee, the liquid heart of our state.”
As lawmakers hurry to answer the environmental concerns of Lake Okeechobee, Florida Rep. Greg Steube (R) has also directed a letter to “the Army Corps of Engineers to reject calls to drastically lower the level of water in Lake Okeechobee or to develop a regulation schedule that does not fully implement the authorized purposes of the federal project.ƒ”
Steube and Mast have been at odds regarding the proper response to solving the Lake Okeechobee issue. Rep. Mast argues that the Corps should lower Lake Okeechobee’s water level while Rep. Steube has remained firmly against the move.
“A drastic reduction in Lake Okeechobee operational levels would result in the Army Corps operating the Lake outside of its authorized purposes of flood control, water supply, navigation, and preservation of fish and wildlife,” Steube writes.
Furthermore, the Florida Mayors argue that Mast has “advocated for a delay in northern storage and treatment projects, which are essential to stopping future Lake Okeechobee discharges and slowing the flow of water” in the Lake.
They add that “the northern storage and treatment projects enjoy broad support from a variety of key stakeholders including Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, the South Florida Water Management District, scientific experts, and environmental groups.”
Ultimately, Steube expressed that “the Lake is our shared resource in Florida and our shared responsibility,” so he is calling for the Corps to not “cave to political pressure.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed SB 2516, a measure that would expedite the northern storage reservoir, which many Floridians believe would solve the algae problems in Lake Okeechobee.