State Sen. Joe Negron announces plans to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee

Negron suggests buying 1 of 2 parcels of land
Posted at 7:39 AM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 18:41:59-04

Senator Joe Negron says he’ll push for the state to buy one of two 60-thousand acre parcels of land south of Lake Okeechobee.

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He claims the sites would provide the maximum amount of water storage, and the ability to clean it.

“Their geographical location allows us to take advantage of existing canals and other conveyances to get the water there," said the incoming Senate president.

The price tag is $2.4 billion to be split evenly between the state and federal government.

Environmentalists say the time for talk is over.

“Doesn’t mean we’re going to stop storage north of the lake or east or west of the lake but we need storage south of the lake," said Mark Perry with the Florida Oceanographic Society.

The senator admits the land buy is not going to be easy.  Sugar giants US Sugar and Florida Crystals own some of that land and land buys have often been met with the cold shoulder in Tallahassee.

“I think as the details become available and get developed, I’m optimistic the governor will work with us," said Senator Negron.

For people like  Frank Urbanik, it’s hopefully good news for the future.  The diver hasn’t had regular work for months… and brought his two girls to hear the plan.

“But they do want to see something done so they can get back into the water," said Urbanik.   

The senator says this potential land buy will be his top legislative priority.