Former commissioner leads charge to clean up Southwest Florida beaches
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
Holding signs with messages that read sweet poisen and save our beaches, these folks are calling to do battle.
"We need to save Florida," environmental activist Jeanne Emerick said. Jeanne is part of a local movement to save the water along local beaches called Floridians for Clean Water.
Former Lee County commissioner Ray Judah is leading the charge in his new role as head of the Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition.
"Tourists are saying, 'We're not coming back... thisdirty water is such that we are not going to invest our dollars to come back to Lee County," Judah said.
Judah and his supporters fear the water situation is only going to get worse now that the state missed a deadline to buy a chunk of sugar fields that could be converted into a water filtering system.
"It's surprising that the elected officials have not been more responsive to cleaning up our waterways," Judah said.
His solution is called Plan 6, which calls for the state to buy about a third less land than originally planned to still get the job done.
"The missing link, the 50,000 acres I was referring to is only 7 percent of the Everglades agricultual area and only 15 percent of the entire sugar cane land holdings in the everglades agricultural are,"Judah said.
The state can still buy the land, but now it could end up costing more per acre, according to Judah.
"They still have the next seven years to excercise another option, but they have to compete now with other buyers...and they also have to compete with the fact that since the sugar industry is federally subsidized that increases the valuation of the land, so they're going to end up paying more," Judah said.
Yet, when Four in Your Corner recently spoke to the governor about this issue, he didn't sound eager to pay for any of it. Even when the land Judah is referring to had a billion dollar price tag, considered a good deal at the time.
"We look at everything," Gov. Scott said after we asked him if buying the U.S. sugar land was a viable option.
The governor may be looking, but local activists want action.
"We're looking at our children... to where we're trying to fix this problem. We know it's not going to happen over night or any solutions come tomorrow but our goal is to have a solution for them to have a better quality of life for their children," activist John Heim said.