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Governor signs SB-10

May 10, 2017
Jessica Salmond - News Editor (jsalmond@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A week following a supportive approval by the Florida House, Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 10 into law.

The bill was signed Tuesday, May 10.

This bill authorizes $1.6 billion - half to be borrowed from the state in bonds - to begin planning and design for the A-2 storage area south of Lake Okeechobee.

SB-10 was born out of a $2.4 billion-plan to buy 60,000 acres of land south of Lake Okeechobee from agricultural companies unveiled by Senator Joe Negron last year. The bill itself was introduced by Senators Rob Bradley and Anitere Flores in January.

The bill has changed significantly from Negron's original plan. After several revisions in Congress, it's boiled down from its original language. Now, the bill's plan begins with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) first running modeling to see what state-owned lands can be converted to water storage, and how much more would need to be purchased from a willing buyer for storage and treatment. The bill will cost $800 million to create the reservoir south of Lake O, prioritizing the Everglades Agricultural Area, which is land the state is leasing to agricultural companies.

The bill also authorizes the SFWMD to begin negotiating the termination of the leases of state lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and authorizes negotiations for the C-51 Reservoir project.

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