Without tourists Florida's economy suffers
Gov. DeSantis new plan to clean up the everglades
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida’s number one industry, tourism, could turn out saving Florida with Governor Ron DeSantis new plan to clean up the everglades.
The algae clogged water surrounding Florida during the summer and autumn was an image crisis that Governor Ron DeSantis wants to change by boosting environmental funding.
The Governor's proposed changes would reverse years of dwindling funding for water management and boost restoration funding to the highest level in Florida’s history, according to DeSantis.
Money would go to developing a new Blue-Green Algae Task Force and Office of Environmental Accountability.
DeSantis wants to hire a new chief science position to combat nutrient overloading and pollution around Florida's largest lake.
Pumping water out of Lake Okeechobee sends excessive nutrients into the Gulf and Atlantic turning water slimy green.
Drawdown of lake water levels are necessary to protect surrounding areas from flooding.
In recent years, both Hurricane Irma and Matthew required additional pumping exposing polluted water into the marine ecosystems.
Natural red tide reached record blooms during 2018 and scientists are linking nutrient pollution to accentuating the harmful algae resulting in massive fish kills.
Nationwide red tide news dampened tourist visits cutting into the $67.2 billion state tourism industry.
The new environmental measures are expected to cost $2.5 billion and funding for the project is still in question.
The states water quality problems have been escalating for years hidden from view within Lake Okeechobee dikes while the budget intended to prevent these issues were slashed.
In 2011 former Governor Rick Scott cut $700 million in funding for five of the states water management districts, in addition to vetoing funding for a new research vessel operated by the Florida Institute of Oceanography to collect offshore red tide samples.
And while some of the money has been increased in recent years it remains below original levels.
The former governor also appointed each of the volunteer board members on the South Florida Water Management District.
Part of Ron DeSantis sweeping change is asking for all these current board members to resign from their position just days after the board extended a lease to sugar growers.
According to a statement by U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, who headed up DeSantis’ environmental transition, “For far too long the South Florida Water Management District has been more accountable to special interests than to the people of Florida.”
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