Last-minute snafu delays okay of Lake O Dike study
July 20, 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Blocked at literally the last minute, a measure authorizing a federal study of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee has been temporarily dropped from the massive water-resources bill the Senate approved late Wednesday.
Major Florida projects still in the overall bill are the $1.2-billion clean-up of the Indian River Lagoon in Martin and St. Lucie counties and the $350-million Picayune Strand restoration project in Collier County. Both are part of a plan to restore the Everglades.
In addition to those projects, Senate leaders yesterday also gave preliminary approval to the study of the safety of the Hoover dike as part of a so-called “manager’s amendment” to the larger water bill. But Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, objected to the managers’ amendment with one minute left before a final Senate vote on the water bill last night.
His lone objection blocked inclusion of the managers’ amendment, but not passage of the broader bill. Also in the stalled managers’ amendment, besides the Hoover dike study, are 24 other water-and environmental-related and projects from around the country.
“The water resources bill will have a huge, positive impact on Florida’s environment,” said Senator Bill Nelson, whose office wasn’t informed of the snafu over the dike until this morning. “Unfortunately, a last-minute procedural snag prevented approval of the Hoover study.”
Nelson added that Senate leaders say the chances are good for later approval of the study by House and Senate negotiators, when they meet to work out differences between the two chambers’ respective versions of their water resources bills.
Nelson and Senator Mel Martinez both pledged Thursday to ensure that the study of the dike’s safety gets top priority when those negotiators meet, possibly in September.