November 02, 2016


Some Lake Okeechobee Locals Damning Reservoir

Jim Ash


A non-profit group is launching what it calls a grass-roots campaign to fight incoming Senate President Joe Negronís 2.4 billion-dollar plan for a massive reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

The Port St. Lucie Republican says itís necessary to fight water pollution, but the Lake Okeechobee Business Alliance says it will destroy the local economy.

Alliance founder Julia du Plooy describes herself as a stay-at-home mother of an 8-month-old daughter and a concerned citizen.  U.S. Sugar opposes the plan, but du Plooy insists her non-profit group is not an industry front.

ďItís mom and pop farmers that farm there, thatís their livelihood that heís looking to purchase. Yeah, itís owned by a large company, but these small farmers are who farm there and who makes a living there.Ē

She says hundreds of jobs and a way of life are at stake. The group is kicking off the opposition campaign with a protest rally this weekend at Civic Park in Clewiston. 

The protest comes as the Everglades Foundation mounts a 12-day bus tour promoting the reservoir. Proponents hope the storage area will divert phosphorous-laden water that is causing toxic algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee and Port St. Lucie estuaries.