It will help with stopping the Lake Okeechobee discharges into the St Lucie River and Estuaries
- Speaker of the House of Representatives
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Stop the Sugar subsidies in the Farms Bill.
The American Sugar Alliance has found that since 2010, candy bar prices are up five percent, as well as cereal and baked goods, up nine percent, and ice cream, up twelve percent. Conversely, sugar prices have actually fallen by more than fifty percent since 2010.
Reforming sugar policy would help bring U.S. prices in line with global averages and would force U.S. producers to compete in a less protected market, just as food manufactures must.
Billions of gallons of polluted water are pumped off the sugar cane fields and collected in large canals running into Lake Okeechobee and when the level reaches 15 feet, the Army Corps of Engineers then drains the polluted waters into the St Lucie River and Estuaries.
Because of the pollution, the Indian River Lagoon continues to suffer from blue-green algae blooms which are very potent toxins.
The Indian River Lagoon has long been hailed as the most diverse ecosystem in North America. Its 156 miles of waterways boast more than 600 species of fish and more than 300 kinds of birds, all of which are now dying off due to these discharges. A series of algae blooms wiped out more than 47,000 acres of its sea grass beds, which one scientist compared to losing an entire rain-forest in one fell swoop. Then, beginning last summer, manatees began dying, and they haven't stopped. Soon afterwards dolphins and pelicans began dying, too.
The Army Corps of Engineers is the government entity which is responsible for approving the permits and allowing the discharge of Lake Okeechobee into these rivers. It is, in fact, the Army Corps of Engineers that release the polluted water from the lake into the St. Lucie Canal and into the St. Lucie River.
The Florida sugar industry might be willing to sell more land cheaper for additional flow way if it loses its Farm Bill subsidy, which artificially inflates the price of sugar by limiting cheaper imports.
Besides allegedly contributing 76 percent of the pollution and shoplifting your clean water, Big Sugar orchestrated the federal government to mandate caps on how much sugar can be imported. Because of federal law, domestic candy manufactures and food processors can only buy their sugar from a limited source inside the United States. The Agricultural Department further fattens the fleecing of the taxpayer by setting a price floor for the sugar. This all ends up in you and me paying twice the price for a pound of sugar than worldwide open-market prices.
But it doesn't end there. To make sure every last grain of sugar is sold the sugar producers get to sell any excess to ethanol producers through the Feedstock Flexibility Program. Big Sugar then gets to brag that their program doesn't cost the taxpayer/government anything. Sweet deal, no pun intended.
According to a study by a University of Michigan economist consumers are overpaying for sugar by $4.5 billion a year, which averages out to $15-$20 for every man woman and child in the United States. Let your congressman know your feelings before the Sept. 30 deadline for changes in the 2008 Farm Bill.
If you want clean water you're going to have to get off the couch and fight for it.
Stop the Discharges into our waterways, stop the subsidies to Big Sugar. Let the water from Lake Okeechobee flow south as nature intended.
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