Gov. Rick Scott wants Lake Okeechobee water diverted from coasts

Army Corps of Engineers flushing water east, west of lake


MIAMI – Authorities say they're looking "anywhere that can hold water" to relieve high water levels in Lake Okeechobee and Florida's Everglades.

The El Nino weather phenomenon has drenched South Florida during what's normally the dry season. Rains over the state's largest freshwater lake and neighboring basins have swelled water levels over 16 feet within its aging earthen dike.

To reduce the risk of a breach, the Army Corps of Engineers is flushing water east and west of the lake.

Coastal communities say the discharges pollute local ecosystems, harming wildlife and the economy. Gov. Rick Scott asked the corps Thursday to divert water south and away from the coasts and flooded conservation areas.

David Guest of the environmental law group Earthjustice says the pollution stems from the state's lax regulation of agricultural operations around the lake.