Scott Proposes More Money To Clean Up Algae Stricken Waterways
Governor Rick Scott wants more money in the 2016- 2017 budget to help clean up algae stricken waterways. The proposal follows a blue-green algal bloom that fouled South Florida beaches and triggered a state of emergency in two counties.
The proposal includes funding for a fifty-fifty matching grant with local authorities to encourage residents near the Caloosahatchee River and the Indian River Lagoon to move off septic tanks and onto sewer systems.
Septic tank run-off is one of the causes of increased nutrients in the waterways affected by algae.
Scott said local, state and federal authorities have to work together to clean up the water. In a statement announcing the proposed funding boost, he blamed the Federal government for failing to repair the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee, leading to freshwater discharges and algal blooms.
“Every day, millions of gallons of water continue to be discharged into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers after years of the federal government failing to repair the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike," said Scott.
Environmental advocates have criticized Scott for failing to buy land to restore water flow away from Lake Okeechobee.
Scott said he’s working on the details of the proposal and will release the state funding amount at a later date.
Meanwhile Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D) is calling on the US Senate to pass a bill that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to move ahead with the Central Everglades Planning Project, a $2 Billion plan to collect and move water south from Lake Okeechobee.
"Since the state refuses to acquire additional land south of the lake to help store and treat this water before sending it south – as Mother Nature intended – it’s imperative that Congress act now to help solve the problem," Nelson wrote in a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D).