Florida Gov. Rick Scott declares state of emergency over red tide

Fla. governor demands Senate Intel Committee explain Sen. Bill Nelson’s claim about Russian hackers

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The emergency order Scott issued Monday applies to mitigation efforts in adversely affected counties including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier.

Gov. Rick Scott, a man who over the past eight years cut almost $700 million from Florida's environmental agencies (many of whom oversee algae outbreaks) declared a state of emergency today to combat our current algae outbreak. Said they are ready to help but can't until the state asks for it. The Sunshine State has not seen a bloom of this magnitude in more than a decade.

The blooms discolor the seawater and produce toxins that can sicken or kill fish, seabirds, turtles and marine mammals, such as manatees, according to the FWC. The current outbreak developed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Southwest Florida, and covers about 120 miles of coastline and has recently moved north. As of the end of last week it had reached Anna Maria Island just south of Tampa Bay but did not continue any further north.

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The marketing campaign would be aimed at helping those communities rebuild their tourism after the bloom is over, not while it's still going on, Lewis said.

"While we fight to learn more about this naturally-occurring phenomenon, we will continue to deploy all state resources and do everything possible to make sure that Gulf Coast residents are safe and area businesses can recover", Scott said. Many fish, dolphins, and even a whale shark have washed up dead on Florida beaches. "Today, I am issuing an emergency declaration to provide significant funding and resources to the communities experiencing red tide so we can combat its awful impacts".

The Department of Environmental Protection will continue "to perform enhanced water testing, beach cleanup and public outreach, as well as the deployment of additional biologists to assist communities dealing with naturally occurring red tide". However, once the bloom is near land, it can be fueled by pollution from septic tank and sewage leaks, as well as fertilizer from farms and suburban lawns. It is the second emergency order issued by Scott this summer. The first one targeted the blue-green algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee and its adjoining waterways.

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