Hundreds of people packed a town hall meeting in Pahokee Friday with Florida Senate President Joe Negron. They say his proposal to build a 60,000-acre reservoir on prime farmland would be a plague to their region.
“The devastation from the loss of jobs is unimaginable at this point,” said lifelong Pahokee resident Lynda Moss. Her family owns a trucking business in the region.
“In the Glades, we go to church on Sundays, and answer to the same god as the residents in the coastal communities,” said Hendry County Commisioner Janet Taylor, of Clewiston. “Please don’t make this about saving one area of your district at the expense of another.”
Negron has proposed building the $2.4 billion reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. He says it would store and clean contaminated water from the lake, helping to prevent toxic algae blooms.
“It’s unsustainable, long-term, to have situation that when the lake gets to 16 feet, we are just going open up flood gates and have discharges hundreds of billions of gallons of water east and west,” said Negron.
Negron’s bill is working it’s way through the Senate.
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Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.