ACLU Questions State Handling Of Algae Crisis

Jun 8, 2017

A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union is raising questions about the state’s handling of last summer’s toxic algae blooms in South Florida. 

Polluted runoff from Lake Okeechobee was blamed this summer for a toxic-algae bloom coating waterways along the Treasure Coast and Southwest Florida.
Credit AP

The report focuses on an Ohio State University cancer study and the Legislature’s 2001 decision to stop funding an algae bloom task force.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Lantigua says independent scientists question the state’s methods for measuring water quality.

“This is really important. You have to be able to trust what the state tells you and lots of people in that area, that Stuart area, that Martin County area that I focused on, do not trust the state any more to tell them.”

The ACLU commissioned the study because it considers the health risks a civil rights issue for residents most effected by the blooms.

The report also highlights declining budgets and personnel at water management districts and the Department of Environmental Protection.