August 3, 2018 / Press Releases

Nelson Joins Local Leaders in Stuart to Discuss Toxic Algae Crisis

Stuart, FL — At a Stuart business that was temporarily closed for a week because the toxic algae crisis made employees sick, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson joined business and environmental leaders today to discuss the algae outbreak affecting communities across Florida.

With green algae consuming the waterways near the building, Senator Nelson met with community leaders at the waterfront offices of Florida Sportsman magazine.

“The toxic algae just feet from us harmed the employees of this business — showing the alarming realities and risks of this outbreak,” Senator Nelson said. “This toxic algae is a threat to our way of life, our businesses, our local economies and our marine life that live in these waters – it’s so important we continue to work together to combat these threats. While some leaders in this state have abandoned our environment and cut the important environmental regulations that keep our water clean, I’ve fought for long-term solutions to prevent these toxic algae blooms, including restoring the Everglades and speeding up work to restore the natural flow of water – as Mother Nature intended.”

Concerned about the health of those exposed to the algae, Senator Nelson pushed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the potential effects of the toxic algae blooms and to educate people about the effects of exposure. He recently filed legislation to provide tax breaks to small businesses affected by the algae blooms.

“Senator Nelson is a champion for our environment and for our health,” said Dr. John Capece, a water quality engineer. “He has pushed for action to end these toxic algae outbreaks and for accountability — demanding answers about the effects of these outbreaks on our health.”

Nelson made his second stop in Stuart in a month while his opponent, after refusing to go to Stuart during the 2016 algae outbreak, recently refused to commit to a trip to the community to assess the crisis that has left Floridians ill, shuttered businesses and killed marine life.

St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky said Senator Nelson is needed in the Senate to fight for the environment and environmental projects important to the region. He credited Scott with “ruining our state” and eviscerating the Florida Department of Environmental Management, the water management districts that monitor the state’s waterways and the economy of Florida waterways, “Eight years under Governor Scott has been a total failure for water quality,” Dzadovsky said.

While water quality is the responsibility of the state, Scott has exacerbated the problem by signing a bill to overturn the mandatory inspections of leaking septic tanks, by allowing more toxins into Florida waterways, and by failing to properly use the Amendment 1 money that Florida voters overwhelmingly approved to buy the land needed to send this water South.

Mike Conner, an outdoors writer who worked for Florida Sportsman and is a fishing guide, said, “There has been an 80 percent drop in my business as a fishing guide in the last decade. I don’t fish this river. The word is out. It’s a danger to their health.”