Residents in Florida are suffering after “guacamole-thick” algae took over the state’s “Treasure Coast” beaches. Florida’s southwest coast is experiencing a terrible red tide that is destroying the state’s marine life and tourism.
And most of this horrific situation happened because of Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.). Scott has been accused of negligence, as he regularly chose the desires of corporate polluters over the environment of Florida.
His environmental record is awful. And so, protesters made sure he knew they weren’t voting for him at a recent campaign event.
In the past, the Republican governor was supporting a fringe movement of climate change deniers; he defunded popular and bipartisan conservation programs and if that wasn’t enough, he also destabilized the enforcement of air, water, and climate protections.
In 2012, Scott revoked a law requiring septic-tank inspections. As a result, currently only 1 percent of Florida’s 2.6 million septic tanks get inspected. According to scientists, the pollution caused from leaking septic tanks increases the toxic algae blooms.
The outcome: nitrogen and phosphorus loads have amplified in Lake Okeechobee. The major cause of the toxic blue-green algae is the combination of the loads with the agricultural run-off. This also, adds to the abnormal endurance of the red tide, the worst of which is occurring near Fort Myers,one of the exit points of Lake O’s waters.
Residents have long been concerned not only about the smell and unhygienic aspect of the algae but about breathing such toxic air and health problems that will come along in the near future.
Many politicians tried calling Army Corps of Engineers to stop the flow of water between the river and Lake Okeechobee in order to handle the algae crisis. One possible solution to the problem could have been to purchase land so that lake waters could be stored and cleaned there.
But in 2015, Scott refused to buy an available 153,200 acres of U.S. sugar land that would have given that water another exit to go someplace else.
Given his disastrous environmental record, demonstrators slammed Scott at a campaign stop for reducing funding to environmental agencies and for the algae increase over the years.
Footage shared on social media, showed a protester booing the Republican as he exits from the backdoor of the restaurant. “The more I learn about red tide the more I can point to Rick Scott making it worse,” said Venice resident Rich Peabody, 71.
Peabody stood near the restaurant’s back door and yelled “coward” as Scott left the restaurant.
“He’s a coward; he wouldn’t face these people,” said Peabody. “Look at our beaches.”
Scott left the scene quietly without addressing the concerns of the protesters.
Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is his challenger in the upcoming election.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Getty Images, Joe Raedle