October 24, 2016
advocates launch 'NoworNeverglades' tour to win support for land buy
the Florida Everglades become a political weapon? The Everglades Foundation, a
non-profit that is banned from campaigning, hopes to find out this week as it
launches a 12-day bus tour to drum up public support for its No. 1 priority:
the purchase of sugar land south of Lake Okeechobee to be used for water
a shrink-wrapped bus emblazoned with the words NoworNeverglades, the
organization is hoping to seize on the public's election-year focus and
crisscross the state to win support for the post-election policy -- Everglades
restoration, said Eric Eikenberg, director of the
that season and everybody is focused on the election,'' he said. "People
are tired of toxic algae in the water and we are calling attention to the role
clean water, and our water supply has on economics and tourism."
foundation is urging people to sign the #NoworNeverglades Declaration
in which people "affirm their support for added water storage in the
[Everglades Agricultural Area] to help alleviate damaging discharges into
coastal estuaries, increase the flow of clean fresh water to the Everglades and
Florida Bay, and protect the drinking water supply for 6 million
bus will begin its tour Wednesday at Gramps Restaurant in Miami's Wynwood
district and the make its way north, through South and Central Florida. Events
include stops at the University of Central Florida, Rollins College, Zoo Miami,
the Naples Zoo, Bass Pro Shops the Audubon Assembly Conference and even the
Halloween on the Mile event in Coral Gables.
bus will be stopping at football games along the way -- from the University of
South Florida's match with Navy on Friday to the Miami Dolphins v. Jets game on
Nov. 6. The foundation will be collecting the names and social media
contacts of its supporters as it prepares to enlist legislative support for the
land buy in the March legislative session, Eikenberg said.
want an army of people to weigh in on buying the land when the Legislature
starts and decides whether to get the money in the budget,'' he said.
"Everybody wants to protect the Everglades. The question is, how are they
actually going to do it?"
President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, as said he is going
to make buying the land, using money already available through environmental
preservation funds, a top priority.
sugar industry, however, has vigorously opposed the land buy as unnecessary and
considers it an attempt to undercut the future of the industry in
“Surely there are
better ways to advocate for the environment than driving a fossil fuel-powered
luxury bus 12 days across South Florida while spreading half-truths about how
our water system operates and how to manage Lake Okeechobee discharges,'' said Judy Sanchez, U.S.
activists would be better off meeting with the farmers in the EAA that have
worked to reduce phosphorus by an average 55 percent over the last two decades
and see the hard-working people of the Glades they are trying to ignore. They
should also stop to consult with the water quality experts and scientists at
the South Florida Water Management District, Department of Environmental
Protection, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who have thoroughly discredited
the ‘buy the land, send the water south’ bumper sticker science.”