Florida Politicians Now Using Dangerous “Red Tide” Politics
FLORIDA — October 2, 2018
People of Palm Beach County Florida have more problems as Florida officials confirmed a rare red tide along the state’s Atlantic coast. According to a press release, beachgoer concerns over coughing and itchy throats over the weekend may be from the same strain of Karenia brevis bacteria bloom that devastated sea life along Florida’s Gulf coast last year.
Officials say the red tide concentration along the Atlantic coast is not as high as amounts detected during the Gulf Coast that littered beaches with dead sea life last season. The bloom has now touched all three of the state’s coasts, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, but they say they are not sure about the exact amount of bacteria. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration algae expert Richard Stumpf did offer this on recent sampling efforts:
“They picked up concentrations that are high enough. There’s obviously more data to be collected.”
At least six beaches in Palm Beach County have been closed to swimming as a precaution, though officials are planning to reopen them Wednesday. Officials say red tide is uncommon on the state’s Atlantic Coast, and that there have been only eight outbreaks since back in 1953.
As if Florida did not have big enough concerns over waterborne bacteria, the red tide new only exacerbates the state’s already an epic problem. News that a freshwater blue-green bloom coated most of Lake Okeechobee and exploded in rivers this summer hints at the state’s environmental and water handling problems. In the Okeechobee incident, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was forced to release water to protect the 730-square mile lake’s aging dike.
Concerned citizens and some scientists are claiming that excessive amount of chemical spraying in Central Florida lakes may be contributing to the unhealthy algae blooms. Dr. James Douglass, who is an ecologist, says:
“Glyphosate and other herbicides are one of the things that I think could be leading to an excess of nutrients in the water. And the excess of nutrients in the water leads to all kinds of harmful algae blooms.”
In addition, a study some years back at Bowling Green University in Ohio discussed the complex and delicate interactions in between these organisms, which may be affected by excessive plant kill off. Bowling Green Professor Dr. Michael McKay explains:
“We showed that one, that the glyphosate was not inhibitory to the cyanobacteria… the glyphosate didn’t kill the cyanobacteria and two; they seemed to be able to acquire enough phosphorus for them to grow from the glyphosate alone.”
Finally, these toxic algae blooms affecting Florida's waterways have become a major issue in the Senate race in between incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson and the incumbent, Republican Gov. Rick Scott. The race is important in Washington because the outcome could be a shift in party control of the US Senate. Scott’s team has already created an ad critical of Nelson over the red tide issue that suggests the aging Florida governor is a dinosaur who’s time is up. Nelson’s side claims “Rick Scott caused this green-algae mess by shamelessly gutting environmental regulation in Florida.” The campaign lead for Nelson, Dan McLaughlin also contends Scott has appointed “his cronies to various regulatory boards."