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Lake Okeechobee reservoir proposal heads to Gov. Scott

Posted at 5:08 PM, May 02, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- With four days left in session, the Florida Legislature has passed a top Republican's proposal to divert toxic algal discharges from coastal communities.

The House and Senate both passed the measure (SB 10) on Tuesday, sending it to Gov. Rick Scott. The bill had previously gone through some Senate-approved changes in the House. Some of those changes included reducing the state's annual debt service from $100 million to $64 million.

In an effort to minimize impacts on agricultural workers, the measure also prohibits the state from taking private property to build the reservoir. The sugar and agricultural industries have welcomed this change.

The $1.5 billion project would build a 240,000-acre-feet (78.2 billion gallons or 296 billion liters) reservoir system south of Lake Okeechobee to keep harmful discharges from fouling coastal communities.