Disagreement over Lake Okeechobee discharge-reducing projects

U.S. Sugar in on board with the plan to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

They oppose giving up any of their farmland.

There's agreement on where the pollutants are coming from into Lake Okeechobee.

There's disagreement on where to store and clean the water so it does not eventually pollute the St. Lucie Estuary.

Judy Sanchez with U.S. Sugar Corporation says she agrees there's a need for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee on state land only.

"We'll have an improved reservoir in the southern EAA," said Sanchez.

Kimberly Mitchell with Everglades Trust is optimistic about this, but she says sending the water south into the Everglades should be a top priority.

"Incredibly important getting this done," said Mitchell.

Sanchez says the top priority is storage north of the lake.

"We need to find solutions that stop the water from ever getting into Lake Okeechobee," said Sanchez.

Mitchell would like to see more land used for the reservoir to make the project more effective, but again, U.S. Sugar and other farmers will not give up their land.

"If we don't have farmland, we don't have farmers and we don't have food," said Sanchez.

The South Florida Water Management District continues public meetings on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Wednesday in Clewiston.

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