Two Republicans who scored big wins in Florida this week–incoming Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast–called on the South Florida Water Management District to delay a vote on “extending the land lease with New Hope Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, for land authorized to be used for the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir.” The two Republicans insisted that the lease could undermine efforts to restore the Everglades and battle toxic algae.
DeSantis and Mast weighed in on the matter on Wednesday night, even as the South Florida Water Management District scheduled a vote on the matter on Thursday.
“Given that the current lease does not expire until March and because we did not receive enough advance notice on this proposed vote to ensure that this extension would not delay construction of the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir, we urge the South Florida Water Management District to delay their planned vote tomorrow,” DeSantis and Mast said in a joint statement released on Wednesday.
“The EAA Southern Storage Reservoir is a critical component of Everglades Restoration and our joint efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms. We will not support any lease extension that could delay the construction of the reservoir in direct contradiction of the intention of both the United States Congress and Florida Legislature,” they added.
DeSantis edged Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum on Tuesday and will take over as governor at the start of the new year.
Now finishing up his first term in Congress, Mast was a top target for Democrats on Election Day but he beat back the challenge of Lauren Baer. During his first term, Mast often focused on the fight against toxic algae and Everglades issues.