News-Press Mailbag

November 7, 2016


Save our water


I read your series on water quality and attended the Save Our Water event. Thank you for your efforts to inform the public. While you provided much useful information, I was struck by what you did not say. The missing piece is the structure of the US sugar industry. Since 1934 the sugar industry has been protected by a set of import quotas and tariffs that have us paying significantly more than the world price for sugar. The sugar industry is intent on preserving those counterproductive trade policies. According to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, sugar beet and cane farms accounted for one-fifth of 1% of US farms and 2% of the total value of crop production. But they accounted for 35% of the crop industries' total campaign donations in 2014 and 40% of lobbying expenditures in 2013. 
So when the News-Press talks about the challenges to improving water quality, the public needs to understand that the sugar industry is built on dispensing cash and favors to politicians at every level who maintain policies to protect the industry, not water. The science is easy, the politics are really hard.


Bob Holder, Sanibel