Scott: State of emergency in Martin, St. Lucie

Posted at 3:09 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-27 09:23:56-05

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in Martin, St. Lucie and Lee counties following heavy rainfall that led to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discharging water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

Special section: Toxic Water on the Treasure Coast

A statement from the governor's office blames the situation on "inadequate funding by the federal government," and calls for the feds to fully pay for more than $800 million in repairs needed to the Herbert Hoover Dike so that it can safely hold water and prevent discharges.

Scientists have recently warned that the discharges are harming marine life, and have been impacting businesses on the Treasure Coast with ties to the water. 

Scott said, “The negative effects of flood waters and harm to wildlife we are currently witnessing in these counties is only the beginning if the President doesn’t fund the more than $800 million in needed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike. Our communities are in imminent danger of prolonged flooding and environmental devastation if the dike is ever compromised. Not only is the well-being and health of our families at risk if the Obama Administration doesn’t immediately begin funding repairs to their federally operated dike, but our housing market, tourism industry and agricultural community will fail if the dike is not repaired and properly maintained.

“We need President Obama to get engaged immediately on this issue and fully fund the needed repairs to their dike so massive U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ discharges are no longer needed.  With heavy rainfall and record discharges, we have no choice but to declare a State of Emergency in these counties today and hope President Obama will pay attention to this crisis.”