Two hours north of us, in Stuart, toxic algae blooms have covered local beaches. Just last week, the once beautiful, crystal clear waterways were caked in a mat of gelatinous green-blue algae.
That’s because nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen that run off from the cattle and dairy farms up north are trickling into Lake Okeechobee. Whenever the lake gets too full, engineers open valves that send the water rushing east and west. Gov. Rick Scott went so far to declare it a state of emergency and sought federal funding to fix the problem.
But what ecologists and scientists say will fix the problem is sending that water south — straight through the Everglades Agricultural Area. Meaning straight through some 400,000 acres of sugar cane fields. That seems unlikely to happen, though, because the sugar industry has their hands in the pockets of local, state, and federal politicians, who have altogether accepted more than $50 million in contributions from Florida’s sugar industry for decades.
We followed the money to show you just how much a few key elected officials received from Florida’s sugar industry. You can follow the money yourself here. It only scratches the surface.
Money received: $28,250 in all election cycles
Contact: Call 850-488-7146
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture
Money received: $52,140 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or call: 863-537-7000.
*Of Note: Believed to be the GOP front runner to replace Gov. Rick Scott in 2018 .
Money received: $92,335 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or call: 202-224-3041.
*Of Note: Running for Senate
Money received: $46,900 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or call: 305-536-5999
Congressional District: 27
Money received:$15,400 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or call: Miami Office (305) 668- 2285; Washington DC Office (202) 225-3931.
Cities she represents: Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Florida City, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Layton, Miami, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Congressional District: 23
Money received: $59,450 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or Aventura Office (305) 936-5724; Pembroke Pines Office (954) 437-3936, Washington D.C.: 202-225- 7931
Cities she represents: Dania Beach, Cooper City, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Sunrise, Tamarac, Weston, Wilton Manors, Aventura, Miami, Miami Beach, North Bay Village, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Sunrise Isles Beach.
Congressional District: 25
Money received: $47,700 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or call: Doral Office (305) 470-8555; Naples Office (239) 348-1620, Washington D.C.: (202) 225-4211.
Cities he represents: Doral, Everglades, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, LaBelle, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Sweetwater.
Congressional District: 26
Money received: $12,200 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or call: Miami Office (305) 222-0160; Key West office (305) 292-4485; Florida City (305) 247-1234; Washington D.C: (202) 225-2778.
Cities he represents: Florida City, Homestead, Key Colony Beach, Key West, Layton, Marathon.
Congressional District: 24
Money received: $41,550 in all election cycles
Contact: Email or call: Miami Gardens (305) 690-5905; Washington D.C. (202) -225-4506.
Cities she represents: Miami, Miami Gardens, Miramar, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-Locka, Pembroke Pines, West Park.