Donald Trump is now trying to rescue Rick Scott from his failed record on red tide with a tweet. Maybe Rick Scott has been “relentless” in the last couple weeks -- with his political career on the line. But for eight long years, Scott has failed Florida by neglecting opportunities to prevent and prepare for a red tide crisis that has reached three coasts.
Governor Scott apparently only pays attention to issues like red tide when it’s election time. Since President Trump came into office, Scott has been missing in the fight to protect Florida’s families and environmental health. Last year, when asked about Trump’s attempt to slash critical EPA programs, Scott’s spokeswoman said the governor’s office hadn’t even reviewed Trump’s proposed cuts.
- Scott turned down a chance to acquire land needed to restore water flows to the Everglades—which would have reduced algae blooms on the east and west coast of Florida.
- Scott was silent when President Trump tried to eliminate the South Florida Geographic Initiative, which helps monitor algal blooms from flowing into Florida’s water.
- When the White House tried to eliminate a water pollution prevention program that helps estuaries in Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the Indian River Lagoon fight algal blooms, Governor Scott didn’t lift a finger to protect the millions in federal funding that Florida receives.
- Scott cut $700 million (about 40%) from the budget of the Florida Water Management Districts, the lead state agency responsible for dealing with Everglades restoration projects.
Floridians are now paying the price of his eight years of neglect, through empty beaches, damaged coastal economies, and rising threats to the health of children and families due to water pollution.