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Environmentalists Double Down, Blasting Governor for Red Tide

August 14th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
More than two million pounds of dead and rotting fish have already been removed from Florida beaches.
On Monday, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for seven affected counties.
The declaration allows local governments to access additional funds to aid clean up efforts.
A half million will go to Visit Florida to help local businesses.
“There’s some money in there to help communities essentially deal with the mass of dead fish and dead organisms,” said Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters.
But Moncrief says the order doesn’t do anything to prevent future outbreaks.
“It doesn’t go to the root of the problem, which is pollution in our water ways fueling these ever virulent algal blooms,” said Moncrief.
Scott and his opponent in the race for the U.S. Senate Bill Nelson have blamed one another for the environmental disaster.
While Nelson and Scott continue to point the finger at on another environmentalists say Scott’s cuts to water management districts outweigh any actions by Nelson.
Scott touted the cuts as a success in 2011.
“I took action on the proposed budgets of Florida’s five mater management districts. All together these budgets reflects a reduction of more than $700 million dollars over last year,” Scott said in his Weekly Video Update from August of that year.
“700 Million dollars,” said Moncrief. “Those are the agencies that are responsible for making sure that pollution is under control.”
When asked about the cuts Tuesday, Scott pointed the finger at the water managers.
“The water management districts decide their budgets,” said Scott.
However, the Governor appoints water managers and has final approval over their budget.
Scott says his efforts to expedite repairs to the  Lake Okeechobee dike will help prevent future blooms by allowing water levels to be raised and reducing discharges.
Environmental groups warn raising water levels could kill the ecosystem in the lake.

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