PALM BEACH, Fla. - Governor Rick Scott was visiting the Palm Beaches Wednesday to call attention to tourism and also preserving Florida's beaches, both critical to the state's economic picture.
The governor traveled from Lantana to Palm Beach and then to Singer Island with local leaders, who want Scott to do everything possible to keep the beaches intact, which would keep visitors coming to the state. Local officials say is an environmental issue that needs the state's help.
But beach renourishment is not exactly at the top of the governor's priority list. Scott has not signed off on any additional state funding to help preserve the beaches of Palm Beach County, some of which are eroding faster than others.
"We have enough money this year sitting at the Department of Environmental Protection to work on this issue," said Scott.
That $75 Million already being allotted to the D.E.P is all Scott says the state can afford at the moment but he is open to suggestions and what he calls "long-term and cost-effective" plans to preserve these beaches. "Give me the list. I'm a checklist person. Give me the list and we'll put together a plan and we'll start working on the plan," the governor said.
But local leaders say the longer these stretches go without help, the greater the risk that these beaches could change. "Certainly we are concerned that there are certain parts of the county where extraordinary erosion has taken place but there is a tremendous amount of beach parks that are very well maintained," said Jorge Pesquera, President & CEO of the Palm Beach County Conventions & Visitors Bureau.
Palm Beach County Commissioners say they are working on new plans to help renourish the beaches at lower costs. They hope, maybe then Governor Scott will jump on board and potentially offer up some additional state funding.