In a new report, the devastating financial impact of water pollution from Lake Okeechobee is documented, once again demonstrating how in Florida the environment IS the economy.
According to a highly detailed report by C.J. Haddad of Breeze Newspapers, “the trickle-down effect of the blue-green algae and red tide events has moved through Southwest Florida businesses just as water releases have moved down the Caloosahatchee.”
Businesses in the coastal area of Lee County have lost more than $40 million in the last two months–all directly attributable to water pollution.
Hotels, resorts, restaurants, vacation rental companies–they all reported losses. Owners said business had been good until the releases from Lake O. But when the blue-green algae began pouring down the river, tourists fled.
As the algae hits the Gulf of Mexico, the saltwater kills it, but the nutrients the algae has absorbed from Lake Okeechobee do not die with it. Instead, they feed the red tide bloom already present in our waters, making it worse.
Why is all this happening?
The answer is direct: It is a man-made disaster that traces its roots to state government in Tallahassee where for years politicians–including Gov. Rick Scott and southwest Florida legislators–have cut back on environmental enforcement and failed to take the steps needed to solve this crisis.
This breaks my heart. I’m an environmental ecologist. I spend my days helping to manage natural areas and wildlife. To see this unnecessary devastation is infuriating. And now we can clearly see the consequences are more than ecological. They are financial.
Which is why I am running for state Senate. I want to change this pattern of neglect. I hope you will support me when you vote in this upcoming election.
If you would like to help my campaign, you can click the DONATE button below. I do not accept money from special interests, unlike my opponent. Every dollar my campaign receives from donors like you goes straight to spreading the word on how we can change Tallahassee.
And if you would like to read the full report I referenced, you can find it HERE.