Gov. Rick Scott declares state of emergency due to algal blooms

Reporter: Taylor Petras
Published: Updated:

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday for the algae blooms that are causing concern among residents in Southwest Florida.

The order will cover several areas, including Glades, Hendry and Lee counties, according to the governor’s office.

“As Governor, it is my duty to protect Floridians, no matter what it takes,” the governor said in a statement. “Today, our state is once again facing a crisis from water releases controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This has prompted me to issue an emergency declaration, so our state agencies can do everything in their power to minimize the harmful impacts these releases are having on our communities.”

Scott saw the algal blooms plaguing the coast of Southwest Florida while aboard a boat on the Caloosahatchee River. He placed much of the blame on the federal government.

“I’m very frustrated,” Scott said. “I’ve been governor for seven-and-a-half years, and finally last week with the Trump administration making the commitment to get the dike fixed, it’s really the first time the federal government’s shown up to be a real partner.”

Southwest Florida leaders called on Scott to declare a state of emergency similar to what he did in 2016.

Last month, Scott visited Southwest Florida where he was briefed on the algae and water releases from Lake Okeechobee.

The agal blooms are concerning for many Southwest Florida residents and visitors alike.

“It smells to me like raw sewage,” said Cape Coral resident Barney Brenner.

Brenner said he’s pleased the state of emergency has been declared and hopes it help to move the process along.

Others, like North Fort Myers resident Ed Kreise want more.

“Declared a state of emergency? How about come up with a plan and do something about this? Help the residents that pay their taxes,” Kreise said. “That would be a solution.”

Kreise said the algae “is the worst I’ve ever seen it.”

WINK News reporter Brooke Shafer spoke with residents concerned about the algae. Watch the full segment below:

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