Something needs fixing in Florida at two of the most important public agencies in the state, the South Florida Water Management District and the Dept. of Transportation. The former involves an attempt to fend off federal interference in state and regional affairs. The latter concerns an attempt by the state to assert full control over a critical South Florida bridge project.
The water district’s former executive director, Pete Antonacci, had prohibited district staff from working with the Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress. The project is a long, costly effort to design and restore the complex Everglades ecosystem so that it maintains itself. Antonacci told the district’s governing board that, in recent years, the science review committee’s comments have “decided to get involved in your business” on budgets, scheduling and policies, so the water-management district stopped cooperating. It seemed not to matter that half the money for the project came from federal funds. Or that the 14-member scientific review committee operates under a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is the principal federal agency in the restoration work.