By; Katrina Elsken, Okeechobee News
OKEECHOBEE — Can the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir be built on land the state already owns? South Florida Water Management District officials are moving ahead with a plan to do just that. Senator Joe Negron has expressed doubts.
“I have a concern that the initial modeling may be unnecessarily constrained by using a limited footprint or that utilizing the A-1 parcel might trigger the need to renegotiate the restoration strategies consent decrees,” wrote Sen. Negron in a Dec. 14 letter to SFWMD Executive Director Ernie Marks.
“What I hope to see from the district is a proposal that is workable, that we can make a reality as expeditiously as possible to decrease the need for harmful discharges to the estuaries. If the district needs to be flexible with the footprint to put an effective reservoir plan into action, I hope it will consider using any additional land available, if necessary,” he wrote.
In a Dec. 21 letter to Sen. Negron, Mr. Marks pointed out SFWMD is complying with the requirements and the timeline established by Senate Bill 10, which was signed into law earlier this year. He explained that the district has looked for the “willing sellers” that SB10 requires, and has not had much luck in that area.
SB10 does not allow SFWMD to take land for the project by eminent domain…