Florida’s southwest coast is not quite the beautiful beach getaway these days … in fact, it has become a gruesome scene from a morbid horror flick, with hundreds of manatees, sea turtles, and other marine animals lifelessly washing ashore and piling up, leaving behind a dreadful sight that emanates the putrid stench of death. Although occurrences of red tide and algae blooms happen naturally, many say this problem has been exacerbated by high degrees of pollution from sewage, manure, and fertilizers.
Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and Attorney General Pam Bondi opposed attempts by the federal government to regulate this pollution, calling the regulations “burdensome.” And although the issue of state rights was given as reasoning, it is speculated that special interests could have likely played a role in this opposition.
In further efforts to block regulations of pollution from sewage, manure, and fertilizers, Bondi and Scott filed a lawsuit in 2014 to halt the cleanup of Chesapeake Bay. The Miami Herald’s Carl Hiaasen explained:
“They aren’t suing on behalf of the citizens of Florida; they’re suing on behalf of big agricultural and development interests that don’t want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcing clean-water laws anywhere … Among the lobby groups trying to dismantle the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint are the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Home Builders and those famously civic-minded folks at the Fertilizer Institute. They want us to trust them to regulate their own pollution, and to hell with the EPA.”
And now Rick Scott is running for a seat in the Senate, and environmentalists are worried. A petition has been set up on Care2 that demands Scott step down from the race, with the petition’s author elaborating: “[Scott] has also weakened regulation of nutrients that contribute to algae blooms, and has not backed policies designed to prevent climate change, the effects of which make algae blooms spread. These irresponsible decisions have justly earned him the nickname “Red Tide Rick” … As governor, Rick Scott proved that he does not have Florida residents’ best interest at heart.”
If you feel Rick Scott is partly responsible for this mass occurrence of pollution and the unnecessary deaths of so many marine creatures (as well as causing beach goers to become ill), then please take a moment to sign the petition here. Although we should note that the general occurrence of ocean dead zones on the planet extends past just Florida’s coast. In general, the occurence of ocean dead zones on Earth has quadrupled since 1950, with the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico larger than it has ever been in history, and the issue of animal agriculture is largely to blame.
To learn more about the environmental impact of animal agriculture, check out the Eat for the Planet book!
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Image Source: Pixabay