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News Friday, Aug 10 2018

Experts Agree Rick Scott is to Blame for Florida's Toxic Algae Crisis

Aug 10, 2018

Every Expert Quoted By The Washington Post Blames Rick Scott

“Across Florida experts blame Rick Scott for the algae crisis that is devastating families and small businesses,” said American Bridge spokesperson Joshua Karp. “As governor, Rick Scott has destroyed environmental protections and refused to take action that would prevent this crisis. The Washington Post could only find one person who didn’t blame Rick Scott — and that person works for Rick Scott.”


Washington Post: In Florida, an environmental crisis takes center stage in tight Senate race

By Brady Dennis and Lori Rozsa, August 10, 2018

  • Frank Jackalone, director of the Sierra Club’s Florida chapter, “said that although Scott is trying to shift the blame to Nelson, the governor is the one largely responsible for the crisis.”
  • Jackalone: “The fact is, Rick Scott has had far more power to deal with these issues than Bill Nelson… Rick Scott is the governor of Florida and has had the power to enforce the Clean Water Act in the state. He could have enforced pollution regulations. Instead, he cut back funding, rolled back regulations, and eliminated a large part of his enforcement staff.”
  • “During Scott’s tenure, budgets for environmental agencies have been slashed. The South Florida Water Management District, which oversees water issues from Orlando to Key West, had its budget slashed. Many of the more than 400 workers who lost their jobs in the $700 million cut were scientists and engineers whose jobs were to monitor pollution levels and algae blooms. Scott also abolished the Department of Community Affairs, which oversaw development in the state.”
  • Blair Wickstrom, publisher of the Florida Sportsman: ‘It’s been going on since before Scott, but since he took office, there’s been a distinct rise in nutrients from Lake Okeechobee and an increase in algae blooms…This is not an act of God or not because we can’t handle the rain. It’s the lack of regulation at the state level.'”
  • Karl Havens, a University of Florida professor and director of Florida Sea Grant: “It would be interesting to understand why this is happening, but we can’t do that with the data we have.”
  • Researchers say they are hampered by the lack of information; Scott’s budget cuts have reduced water-quality monitoring stations around the state, as well as the frequency of water sampling. Scientists say the lack of data prevents them from figuring out what has caused these latest toxic algae blooms and providing the sort of early warning that could prompt officials to act sooner.
  • Florida TaxWatch President Dominic M. Calabro: “The state relies heavily on tourism and outdoor recreation, the fishing industry, real estate and the availability of clean water, so toxic blooms will directly affect some of our most important economic and fiscal drivers.”

Read the full story here.

Published: Aug 10, 2018

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