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Florida governor signs emergency order on toxic algae

July 9, 2018
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott, left, tours the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday, July 9, 2018. The governor was touring the river to view a large algae blooms affecting the river. The algae blooms are also affecting the St Lucie River on Florida's east coast. Several factors contribute to the algae blooms including agriculture runoffs, excessive rains and development along the rivers. (Ricardo Rolon/The News-Press via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott is issuing an emergency order to help counties affected by an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee that’s sending the toxic, green slime to sensitive estuaries downstream.

The order Scott signed Monday will give the state environmental and tourism agencies more resources to respond to the problem.

Algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee have been a problem for years, fed by nutrients from cattle ranches and farms surrounding the country’s second largest natural freshwater lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controls a dike system around the lake and releases water when lake levels get too high. The algae blooms deplete water of oxygen, hurting wildlife and tourism.

Scott’s order authorizes water releases south of the lake instead of down the rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

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