An Everglades love-fest turned nasty Tuesday afternoon when Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Everglades Foundation Chairman Paul Tudor Jones sniped about whether the agriculture industry is meeting its obligation to pay for restoring the “River of Grass.”
Everglades Summit moderator Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s national correspondent, launched the dust-up by asking a panel including Gov. Rick Scott, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Putnam and Jones about a constitutional amendment approved by voters more than 15 years ago requiring polluters to pay for the primary costs of Everglades cleanup.
Putnam praised the agriculture industry, including sugar growers, for cutting back on the amount of nutrients flowing into the Everglades by half, more than double what the law calls for.
“We are seeing a much better conversation between agriculture and the environmental community because all of us have watched in the last 10 years watching as development just explodes,” Putnam said.
But Jones wasn’t satisfied, and responded with an off-the-wall reference to a “Saturday Night Live” skit lampooning “60 Minutes” co-hosts Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick.
“Shana, you bitch,” Jones said to Putnam.
Caught off guard until Jones explained his joke, Putnam responded: “Well at least I didn’t say, ‘Jane, you ignorant…”
Turning serious, Jones said the agriculture industry contributes up to 87 percent of the pollution in the Everglades but picks up only about 13 percent of the clean-up costs.
“Really the question is what is fair. What should be the actual cost that they’re going to pay?” Jones said. “When it comes to enforcing the will of the people of the state and the constitution what kind of leadership are we going to get from the executive department?”
Read the rest of the story here.