Boaters oppose Florida water bill that threatens Everglades conservation

The bill aims to protect the water supply to the sugar industry around Lake Okeechobee.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – South Florida boaters and captains rallied at the state capitol Thursday to voice their concerns with a new proposal that could affect Florida waters.

The concerns over the water and lack of Everglades restoration are from a late-filed budget bill. The bill is written to protect the water supply to the sugar industry around Lake Okeechobee.

Captain Tony Digiulian describes how he and his fellow boaters have tried to reach out to Florida lawmakers.

“We flooded them with emails and phone calls. Thousands not only from South Florida, but around the world,” Digiulian said.

In addition to the concerns with the waters, boaters also fear the return of discharges and toxic algae blooms.

The bill gives control of Lake Okeechobee’s water levels to the state and pulls funding from Everglades restoration.

Boaters are hoping the control will return back to the districts instead of the state so they can regain control of the discharges.


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."