2020 Voter Guide Ranking

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Rick LoCastro

County Commissioner District 1 - REP

2020 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses

To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.

  • Question 1 : Yes
    1) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is revising the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). The purpose is to reevaluate and define operations for the entire Lake Okeechobee system, not just the Lake. Do you agree LOSOM should be rewritten to incorporate human health, ecology and the environment as an operational priority with existing operational priorities of flood control, navigation, water supply, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and recreation?
    Candidate Comment:

    As a retired U.S. Air Force full Colonel (24 years of service) and Base Commander at Eglin Air Force Base (Ft. Walton Beach) & the U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs) I have had quite a bit of experience working with the Army Corps of Engineers. Utilizing their expertise and getting their recommendations is a resource we should obviously support. Much has been learned about our SW Florida water issues as well as many changes. I definitely would support a fresh look at the LOSOM incorporating many more issues into the analysis. The more things stay the same the more they actually change. We would benefit greatly from an updated look into the entire Lake Okeechobee system encompassing all the additional areas previously overlooked or left out so we can make a much more educated assessment of issues and implement actual solutions.

  • Question 2 : Yes
    2) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Taskforce all report agriculture as the dominant source of phosphorus and nitrogen within most impaired watersheds of Florida. Do you agree industries and property owners should be held to clearly enforceable pollution standards and penalties; including mandatory adoption and verification of best management practices, and to implement inspection programs targeting septic, agriculture and industrial wastewater?
    Candidate Comment:

    There again, As a retired U.S. Air Force full Colonel (24 years of service) and Base Commander at Eglin Air Force Base (Ft. Walton Beach) I dealt with Red Tide and algae issues on our base which was on the panhandle's Gulf Coast. There are several catalysts that trigger this age-old issue... it's not new... but at times recently it seems to have gotten worse or just more noticeable. Any standards to penalties concerning any issue should be enforced... not just water issues. I'd need to see the details on the "best management practices" before I supported making anything "mandatory". Inspection programs for any issue should always be robust, fair, and valued.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) Water is Florida’s greatest natural resource and we should not let it go to waste. Geological water storage methods like Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) and Deep Injection Wells (DIW) are risky in Florida’s fragile and porous bedrock. Independent experts, including the National Academy of Sciences, have called for increasing above ground water storage. Will you prioritize projects for Everglades restoration with above ground storage, filtration marshes and sending water south through the Everglades and down to Florida Bay, the headwaters of the Florida Keys, as nature intended?
    Candidate Comment:

    But there is more to preserving the Everglades and our vast other water sources and resources than just above ground storage.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    4) The Florida sugar industry steered over $60 million - not including dark money - to candidates in state and local elections between 1994 and 2016, according to the Miami Herald, which reported “on issue after issue, regulators, legislators, and governors have erred on the side of softening the impact of adverse rules and regulations on cane growers...” which increased pollution, shifted cleanup costs to taxpayers, and influenced Lake Okeechobee water management, for the benefit of private irrigation and flood control, to the detriment of the Everglades, Florida Bay and coastal estuaries and communities. Do you agree that your campaign will be sugar-free, accepting no contributions from any source with ties to the sugarcane industry?
    Candidate Comment:

    I'm fortunate to have received generous funds from private citizens and also have invested significantly in my own campaign. I'm not interested in outside support from private companies.

  • Question 5 : Yes
    5) The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) underestimates the amount of storage capacity for polluted water released from Lake Okeechobee. Will you support acquisition of additional private lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) south of the Lake to augment the EAA Reservoir project for storage, treatment and conveyance of water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay?
    Candidate Comment:

    Thankfully Governor DeSantis has robustly funded the protection of the Everglades and we now must ensure this money is not wasted. The term "additional private lands" is broad… but I would support the appropriate amount of needed area to more effectively store, treat, and convey water more efficiently.