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Pipeline scandal with Koch brothers, Governor Scott and Bush

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

Pipeline scandal with Koch brothers, Governor Scott and Bush

By Roger Caldwell

      There is nothing new in Florida politics because corruption is the engine that drives major deals in the state. With the leader of the Republican Party in jail, it is obvious that everyone he worked with also probably broke the law also. The Republicans control both Houses in the state, and no one challenges their authority because they appoint the leaders in the state.

In the Daily Kos last week, Leslie Salzillo wrote an article which exposed a pipeline scandal with a huge paper company named Georgia-Pacific, and owned by the Koch brothers. In 2003, under Governor Jeb Bush and his Cabinet, they engineered a deal where Georgia-Pacific would receive a private easement to discharge toxic waste into the St. John’s River.

In order to make this happen, Georgia-Pacific would need to construct a wetland pipeline, which would need numerous permits from the state and federal government. Also, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the Florida Trustees, and the Florida Citizens of that particular county would have to approve of the pipeline.

To begin with, Floridians would never want a company to dump tons of toxic waste into a river where they swim and fish. So, in 2005, the Koch brothers and Governor Bush quietly and mysteriously received the approval of all needed permits and published a notice in the paper, which was never challenged by residents.

The project was started in 2005.  In 2012, the citizens and environmental groups learned that the Koch brothers and Georgia-Pacific had completed construction of the pipeline. The groups have also discovered that the pipeline has a “chronic toxicity mixing zone and several other mixing zones,” that are beyond the boundaries of the preliminary approved easements.

The citizens and environmental groups have filed a direct petition in the Florida Supreme Court requiring Trustees to comply with the public trust doctrine and the due process doctrine. The current chairperson of Florida’s Trustees is Governor Scott, and they have refused to initiate an investigation into the illegal, approved pipeline. There are now tons of toxic wastes being dumped into the river, and the FDEP has also refused to investigate the pipeline.

There is something broken in Florida’s state legislature when our governor puts Georgia-Pacific’s bottom line above the citizens’ and state’s environment. The environmental groups are trying to challenge and fight this pipeline in the courts, but the judges and the media remain quiet.

When state politicians have their closed back-door meetings with the Koch brothers, there is a corrupt and illegal manner in which the deal is created. At this point, money is on the line and no one cares about the destruction of the environment and the beauty of the state. The Koch brothers’ only concern is their bottom line, and our governor’s job is to make sure that the public is not informed.

It is time to put pressure on our governor, the FDEP, Trustees, the courts, and the state legislature to stop tons of toxic waste from being dumped in our water and rivers. Floridians cannot let the Koch brothers and our governor destroy the beautiful environment and waterways which make our state a miracle.

 

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