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Some business owners hopeful with 'Buy the land South' legislation

Bill introduced to help solve algae crisis
Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 04:21:22-05

The summer of 2016 will always haunt Ed Stout. "Think of not being able to do your job for half of the year."

Stout owns South River Outfitters in Martin County, renting out and selling kayaks.

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The algae crisis affected his bottom line so badly he had to dip into his IRA. In 2017 he has a plan. "Have a smaller fleet of kayaks and we're ordering a lot more conservatively."

He says there's also hope in the form of a bill. Florida State Senate President Joe Negron supports a bill that calls for storing water in a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Stout says he's always supported Negron's desire to buy the land south of Lake Okeechobee.

Supporters of the bill say it will reduce discharges by roughly 50 percent.

"This is tourism. If you don't have clean water, Tourists are not coming," says Irene Gomes at the Driftwood Motel in Jensen Beach.

She lost thousands of dollars and even some of her out-of-state customers for good.

Irene has already voiced her support in Tallahassee for the new legislation. 

"That would help our situation enough to make a difference for tourism and for our way of life."