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Former EPA administrator visits Treasure Coast on behalf of Hillary Clinton

Posted at 7:14 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 19:15:06-04

At the request of Martin County Commissioners, Hillary Clinton sent a representative to the Treasure Coast to learn about the problems caused by the toxic blue-green algae bloom.

Carol Browner was the longest serving administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and is a native Floridian.

On Monday, she met with local politicians along with business owners that were affected by this summer's bloom.

"This is a very complicated problem. It's a very alarming problem," Browner said on Monday.

She said it's not clear if the algae bloom has anything to do with climate change, but she said the topic is something that must be considered going forward.

"The climate is changing. Climate change is a reality. So as we think about what to do next, we have to take that into account. It's pretty important," she said.

On Monday, there wasn't any visible algae to be seen as Browner took a boat tour of Stuart's waterways.

But Deb Drum, the county's ecosystem manager, said the visit will still help locals.

"We really need some attention to this area, to come up with some real solutions that we can implement together as a community and see some improvement in the situation that we're dealing with," Drum said.

Mary Radabaugh agrees.

Radabaugh is the manager of Central Marine in Stuart.

Even though the waters are clearer, she said her business is still feeling the effects of the algae.

"We were pretty much booked three weeks out doing maintenance work on boats and that fell off when this started happening," Radabaugh said.

She said her company lost half of its business over the summer due to the algae.

She added that many of her employees also got sick from it.

"Couple months ago, it was horrific. The smell took us over.. the itchy throat, the headache, the smell wouldn't leave," she said.

Like many other local business owners, she hopes a solution will be created so those in the Treasure Coast don't have to deal with another summer filled with algae.

"Yes, we can handle it. Do we want to? Absolutely not," she said.

Commissioners said that Donald Trump's campaign hasn't responded to their invite as of Monday.

Browner said she will write a memo to Hillary Clinton, explaining what she learned during her trip to Stuart.

 

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