Florida Gov. Rick Scott declares state of emergency over red tide algae

Gov. Scott declares red tide emergency in 7 Florida counties

Gov. Scott declares red tide emergency in 7 Florida counties

Rick Scott declared a state of emergency today over the ongoing harmful red tide bloom that is killing tons of marine life on the state's west coast.

The declaration covers Collier, Lee Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

"As Southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area continues to feel the devastating impacts of red tide, we will continue taking an aggressive approach by using all available resources to help our local communities", Scott said in a prepared statement.

"In addition to the emergency order, I am also directing a further $900,000 in grants for Lee County to clean up impacts related to red tide - bringing total red tide grant funding for Lee County to more than $1.3 million", Scott said in a press release.

Accompanying the emergency declaration is a "significant amount of funding" and "resources", according to Scott's office.

Executive order 18-221 will allocate $1.5 million in funds to state agencies, including $100,000 to Mote Marine Laboratory to assist local scientists in saving distressed animals, $500,000 to the stats's public/private marketing arm Visit Florida to combat the disgusting images of dead fish, and $900,000 to Lee County to actually clean up the dead fish. Blood and tissue samples will be tested to determine if the deadly toxins in red tide were the cause.

This announcement comes a week after Lee County passed a second state of emergency to target the issue of red tide. "While we fight to learn more about this naturally-occurring phenomenon, we will continue to deploy all state resources and do everything possible to make sure that Gulf Coast residents are safe and area businesses can recover".

A series of other changes in agencies are in effect.

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