On Monday, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., weighed in as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to change the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS).
Mast offered his take on LORS “which dictates when and in what volumes the Army Corps discharges water from Lake Okeechobee to the coasts” and took the gloves off.
“LORS has been a total and absolute disaster. Under the false pretense of ‘shared adversity,’ the entire system was designed to benefit certain water users at the severe detriment of the east and west coasts of Florida,” Mast insisted. “My constituents have seen their animals killed, their personal health put at severe risk, their surrounding environment destroyed and their businesses decimated — in large part due to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s deeply flawed operations system.”
Mast noted last year he wrote Section 1106 of the “America’s Water Infrastructure Now Act” which is also called the “Water Resources Development Act.” The act “directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to re-write the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule” which includes the Corps “accepting public comment to determine the scope of the new regulation schedule, which will be called the Lake Okeechobee System Operation Manual (LOSOM).”
In his comments, Mast offered six proposals for LOSOM.
“LOSOM should include maximum flows south of the lake,” Mast insisted. “LOSOM should include added flexibility at the high end of the operational band. LOSOM should include added flexibility at the low end of the operational band. LOSOM should aim to operate at routinely lower levels than LORS. LOSOM should incorporate human health and safety protections. LOSOM should accomplish all these priorities with zero discharges to the St. Lucie estuary and beneficial dry-season flows to the Caloosahatchee.”