The most prominent target of his speech was the sugar industry and the influence it exerts on policy making in Florida, especially when it comes to efforts to restore water flow from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades. Massive sugarcane fields currently dominate the landscape south of Okeechobee, and separate the lake from the Everglades.
“The Everglades is starved for water,” Judah said, and later explained that a great deal of the water the Everglades currently gets is from heavy rainfall. Two-thirds of the water overflow from Okeechobee now flows east and west through the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. This causes problems not only for the everglades, but for the estuaries themselves, as the nutrient-loaded runoff causes havoc with those ecosystems.
Judah, a former Lee County Commissioner, also warned of the inadequacy of current projects in addressing water storage needs. He stated that reservoirs such as C43 will fill up in a span of about ten days, and would not alleviate pressure on estuaries from water releases.
However, little help seems to be coming from the legislature in Tallahassee, who have introduced several bills and amendments that could severely undercut restoration efforts. This includes amendment SB918, which would eliminate the deadline for pollution reduction. Judah also says that the amendment would implement a weaker Basin Management Action Plan..