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Response to Judah commentary

February 12, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Former commissioner Judah's latest letter is more of the same, tired extremist rhetoric-- always whining and complaining. Even as he lists $130 million in approved new projects that have broad support and that will "significantly increase" water storage in South Florida, provide for additional bridging of Tamiami Trail to enable more water to be moved south, and build reservoir projects on both the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers to assist the estuaries, Judah still isn't satisfied.

He'd rather waste additional time and resources continuing his personal campaign against sugar farmers.

Every state and federal agency involved in South Florida ecosystem restoration have repeatedly reviewed and rejected the concept of a flow-way south, or Plan-6.

Most recently, agency and scientific testimony before the broad-based 2013 Senate Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin rejected the notion that a Plan-6 flow-way would solve the Lake Okeechobee discharge issues. The Southwest Florida Water Management District already has purchased more than 118,000 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area for water projects that are approved and ready to go.

No single plan or project, in and of itself, is the perfect solution to preventing heavy discharges from harming our coastal water resources. However, as part of a comprehensive plan, each project can and will provide some relief. The answer then is moving forward quickly -while there is momentum and support from both Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature- to authorize, fund and build these projects.

With more than 100 years of drainage and flood control projects that have enabled development and encouraged more than seven million people to move into our area, there are no "silver bullets" or quick fixes. Recognizing that, most reasonable people support the current list of proposed projects that will start providing relief for our rivers and estuaries.

Ray Judah needs to get over his personal issues with Florida sugar farmers and help the effort to save our coastal water resources by supporting consensus projects that can and should be built now!

Judy Clayton Sanchez


-- Judy Clayton Sanchez is the senior director of corporate communications and public affairs for the United States Sugar Corp. She joined U.S. Sugar in 1994, transferring from its South Bay Growers vegetable operations. She is responsible for U. S. Sugar's media and public relations activities and its public education/information programs, and coordinates all external and internal communications functions, acts as corporate spokeswoman and assists with the company's public affairs efforts. She serves on the board of directors for the Agriculture Institute of Florida, Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau, Sustainable Florida and the Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic Alliance of Palm Beach County. Sanchez serves on the Public Education Advisory Committee for The Sugar Association and the steering committee of the Lake Okeechobee Regional Initiative, Collins Center.



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