Is Carlos “Bully” Beruff a member of the SWFWMD governing board only to serve his own interests?
30 years ago, the state of Florida realized that indiscriminant dredging of canals and filling of coastal wetlands was going to dramatically change the globally-recognized character of the state if not constrained and, in most cases, prevented.
Hernando Beach in Hernando County and the giant development known as Marco Island in Collier County are just two of thousands of such projects that characterize the vast damage that can result to natural coastal marshes and riverine systems. Both were created by digging canals through pristine marshes and placing the “spoil” alongside to create home sites, and both were eventually stopped due to gross environmental law violations.
|Florida's coastal marshes may be in danger again|
Legislators and governors from both parties learned this important lesson 30 years ago which has proved that today’s tourist economy is, first and foremost, dependent upon its clean waters, its wide natural vistas and its abundant communities of native plants and wildlife. It is not dependent upon endless construction of condos, malls, and dredged canals because clearly, without the first, there would be no second. As Lee Constantine likes to say, nobody ever came to Florida on vacation just to visit its malls.
Now all those lessons are being challenged and it appears more and more that we are being doomed to having to learn them all over again.
Carlos Beruff is a Scott appointee to the SWFWMD governing board, developer, powerful political manipulator from Manatee County and current chair of the governing board. Like Scott, he seems hell-bent on reversing these important lessons and continuing the destruction of natural Florida that was so wisely and carefully prevented for the last 30 years. Getting himself appointed to the district's board of governors was clearly not because it is something he believes in. It was likely because it will make him and his developer-partners and lawyers millions and millions of dollars, the future of the state be damned.
The Bradenton Times recently published an editorial about Beruff and his latest project on Sarasota Bay to build condos, a 4-star hotel with a convention center and a marina. Residents of a historic fishing village in Manatee County, called Cortez, are concerned how it will impact their community which was first settled back in the 1880’s.
Beruff is going to have problems trying to construct such a massive project.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Sarasota Bay:
... the largest and deepest coastal bay between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor, is one of twenty-eight estuaries in the country that have been named by the U.S. Congress as an estuary of national significance. The bay lies between barrier islands called keys, that separate the body of water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida mainland. Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, and Casey Key are the major keys that delineate the main bay and its smaller portions.
But entertaining such environmentally destructive projects is not unusual for CEO Scott’s knowledge of or concern for Florida’s natural or historic heritage. Nor is it unusual for Beruff. In fact, if he gets any resistance from the agency he chairs or DEP. The next thing we’ll see is:
- Beruff will bring considerable political heat from the friendly development community and republican party in Manatee County upon local legislators and his “friend” CEO Scott;
- Lobbyists will begin to propose changes to current laws to not only allow it but to demand it just as the Carlyl Group did for the Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank (See: SWFWMD Matters: Highlands Ranch Mit Bank permit; Has Bersok ...; SWFWMD Matters: Florida is in for a dark, destructive time; SWFWMD Matters: Fear and Loathing in Florida's Water ...)
- Beruff will declare his private property rights are being violated;
- He will threaten lawsuits to destroy the agency rules that are interfering with his quest, and;
- He will adamantly deny that his being the current chair of SWFWMD and the fact that he was instrumental in decimating the agency's regulatory and enforcement capabilities by firing dozens if not hundreds of scientists, has anything to do with his private sector ambitions.
This is who Beruff is. It is his reputation. It is the way he operates.
It is just more underhanded and low behavior so typical of the appointments and hires made by CEO Scott and his henchmen at DEP.
Please read the Bradenton Times editorial HERE.