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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Winner of Florida's U.S. Senate race could influence progress of Everglades work

These grasses in the Everglades off of Coopertown on Tamiami Trail were likely to be submerged as water managers began dumping water from Lake Okeechobee, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.

Walter Michot / Miami Herald file photo

These grasses in the Everglades off of Coopertown on Tamiami Trail were likely to be submerged as water managers began dumping water from Lake Okeechobee, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.

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October

For all their differences on national issues, how Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy handle one uniquely Florida issue — pollution from Lake Okeechobee — could have a profound impact on the future of the state.

The two U.S. Senate candidates both say they’re committed to Everglades restoration — and boast of accomplishments in Congress to prove that dedication — but they differ on how the problem should be solved.

The issue has been teed up as a pivotal one in the next two years as incoming Florida Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, announced in August that buying land south of the lake in the heart of the Everglades Agricultural Area is essential to solving what he called the state’s “environmental emergency.”

Negron said it will be his top priority to get state and federal approval for $2.4 billion to buy the land so it can store and clean the lake water and prevent harmful, phosphorus-laden discharges.

Whoever is elected Florida’s junior senator in November could greatly influence the congressional debate when Negron makes that pitch.

More here.

[Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2016 9:51am]

    

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