Gov. Scott Wades Into Water Fight

Aug 15, 2016

Credit David Miller / EarthJustice

With state lawmakers tussling over water policy ahead of next year’s legislative session, the governor is reiterating his bid for cleaner water.  He’s also asking the feds for money to clean up algae.

At a Friday press event, Governor Rick Scott touted his plan to get more residents connected to sewer lines.

“I did propose for next session that we would be a partner with the locals to deal with the septic tank issue,” Scott said, “which part of the runoff is caused by septic tank and part of it caused by water coming out of Lake Okeechobee when we have a lot of water.”

Incoming Senate president Joe Negron is pushing for new water storage and treatment south of the lake to reduce the need for discharges.  That runoff has led to algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee River and along the Treasure Coast.

To deal with that, Scott is asking again for a federal declaration of emergency.

TCPalm reports he filed the appeal Sunday. 

Rivers in Central and South Florida have been choked with algae since the Army Corps of Engineers began discharging water from Lake Okeechobee earlier this year.  Scott declared a Florida state of emergency in June to free up funds, but in July officials denied his request for a federal declaration. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reasoned Florida hadn’t shown it was incapable of handling the problem on its own.