Gov. Scott requests President Obama to declare a federal emergency following algae blooms

Posted at 8:18 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 04:40:39-04

Gov. Rick Scott requested President Obama to declare a federal emergency following the algae blooms in local waterways surrounding the Indian River Lagoon and anticipated algae blooms surrounding the Caloosahatchee River. 

You can view that request here.

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Scott said, "It is the federal government’s sole responsibility to maintain the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike, and for more than a decade, the federal government has ignored proper maintenance and repair to this structure.

As a result, billions of gallons of water have been discharged into the Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee River which is causing toxic algae blooms to cause havoc to our environment.

I am asking President Obama to immediately declare a Federal Emergency and use the full resources of the federal government to address the effects caused by the frequent discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee."

The Stafford Act gives the president sole authority to declare a federal emergency in order to assist state and local governments.

If President Obama declares a federal emergency, more federal funding could be made available to help residents and business owners on the Treasure Coast who are financially struggling as a result of the algae blooms.

It could also help protect properties and support projects that will protect public health and safety.

The governor’s request comes a week after he declared a state of emergency for Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Sen. Marco Rubio also signed the letter that was sent to the president.

“What it will do is help draw down federal dollars to help business owners and residents who have been economically impacted by this event,” Rubio said. “There are not a lot of immediate answers other than to get as much immediate assistance to people as we possibly can.”

It’s good news to business owners worrying about how the algae blooms may impact their bottom line.

Robert Hovey owns the Frazier Creek Barber Shop in Stuart.

He says about 15 percent of his business depends on people traveling and visiting the area.

“If the water’s bad, people aren’t going to come here. They’re not going to buy houses. They’re not going to visit and vacation,” meaning they also won’t be sitting in his styling chairs.

President Obama's office has not yet responded to the governor’s letter.