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Sen. Marco Rubio calls algae 'catastrophic situation' while touring Treasure Coast

Sen. Marco Rubio inspecting algae blooms today
Sen. Marco Rubio inspecting algae blooms today
Sen. Marco Rubio inspecting algae blooms today
Sen. Marco Rubio inspecting algae blooms today
Sen. Marco Rubio inspecting algae blooms today
Posted at 7:26 AM, Jul 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 19:22:05-04

Blue-green algae brought Sen. Marco Rubio to the Treasure Coast on Friday.

Rubio flew over the St. Lucie Lock and Dam where the water from Lake Okeechobee flows east into Treasure Coast waterways.

RELATED: More toxic water coverage | Map: Algae blooms in Florida | Photos of Rubio's Tour

The senator also took a boat on the St. Lucie River and Inlet and is looking at beaches where the algae is washing up.

At a noon news conference, Rubio spoke about the long-lasting impact of what is occurring.

"This is beyond an ecological disaster. It’s an economic disaster with long-term implications," said Rubio. “If I believed the sugar industry was the only contributor to this, we’d do everything we could. They’re not the only ones.”

Rubio issued a four-point "immediate" solution to the problem:

1. Army Corps should stop flows
2. Declaration needed from @POTUS
3. CDC should assess risks
4. Get water bill passed

Rubio went on to say what is happening is unique in U.S. history. 

"I don't know if there is a precedent for this situation anywhere in the country, that's ever been faced of this magnitude when it comes to an algae bloom," said the senator.

Rubio greeted by protesters

Protesters gathered in Stuart urging Rubio to take action and help send the water discharges south.

Rubio’s visit comes a day after Sen. Bill Nelson visited the area on Thursday.
      
The Army Corps of Engineers announced they are reducing the amount of water coming from Lake Okeechobee starting Friday morning.