What has current Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam done about the latest onslaught of toxic algae as a direct result of the Lake Okeechobee drainage into the rivers, leading directly to Florida’s oceans? Why hasn’t Putnam addressed the many issues stemming from these dumps? Why is the lake laced with so much toxic algae? Some say this is a direct result of the Big Sugar corporations.
Between October and April sugar companies burn the leaves surrounding the sugar cane prior to harvesting. Ash rains down on the local communities and dark smoke in the air travels for miles leaving a strong odor and a burning sensation in local residents’ eyes. Imagine the damage it does to local waterways, specifically Lake Okeechobee. The recent epidemic of dead sea life washing ashore in Southwest Florida has impacted the local communities who are suffering breathing issues and creating a loss of tourism, causing residents to suffer physically and financially.
Putnam, a career politician, is backed by Big Sugar. Florida Grown, Putnam’s political committee, has raised $470,000 from U.S. Sugar Corporation alone over the last three years, according to financial records on the committee’s website, with other sugar-affiliated organizations also donating hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Dubbed “Algae Adam”, Putnam has opposed efforts to clean Florida’s waterways. According to Democratic Governors Association, “As Agriculture Commissioner, Putnam backed a water bill that gutted water quality regulations and assigned only eight staffers to manage the 3.5 million acres north of Lake Okeechobee.” The DGA attacks continued, “As both Agriculture Commissioner and a gubernatorial candidate, Putnam has been “oblivious” to toxic algae and instead chosen to embrace policies that would only cause more pollution. Floridians can expect more of the same if Adam Putnam ends up in the Governor’s mansion.”
Putnam’s 2016 water bill titled Florida Senate Bill 552was rushed through Florida legislature. The bill eliminated requirements to measure or limit pollution into the lake. This, in essence, allows any organization contributing contaminators into the waterways to not be held accountable. Lake Okeechobee is a breeding ground for bacteria including fecal matter, excess fertilizer runoff and other toxins. Putnam refuses to address his relationship with Big Sugar and has done little to touch on the issue of Lake O algae bloom, simply congratulating Governor Rick Scott on the approval of a new reservoir project to store more water south of Lake O.
Thank you @FLGovScott for fighting for the people of Florida. Now Congress must act and expedite this critical project. https://t.co/EQvO3JYfHP
— Adam Putnam (@adamputnam) July 11, 2018
The latest outbreak of toxic blue-green algae bloom on Florida coastlines tells a tragic story. In recent months, there has been an increase in the deaths of sea and wildlife, including manatee, due to the effects of the algae blooms that presents itself as a thick green slush. The increase in the outbreaks often happens in concurrence with the draining of Lake O.
In 3 years you @adamputnam have managed to receive $465K from @USSugarFLA. Where has all that $ gone? Is #BigSugar paying you off so they can continue to dump waste in FL waterways causing toxic algae levels to increase drastically? https://t.co/Kw6TF8WK0x
— Saltwater❤️🅿️atricia 🧜🏽♀️ 🇺🇸🇮🇹 (@TrumpGirlStrong) July 14, 2018
U.S. Representative for Florida’s Sixth District Ron DeSantis, Putnam’s primary competitor in the Florida gubernatorial race, supports fixing the toxic algae bloom in Florida waterways.
I’m proud to have received President @RealDonaldTrump’s endorsement, with him saying I'm “strong on Borders, tough on Crime & big on Cutting Taxes – Loves our Military & our Vets. He will be a Great Governor & has my full Endorsement!” pic.twitter.com/0TPaHfoqzs
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) July 5, 2018
DeSantis was one of only three Florida state representatives who in May voted for an amendment that would effectively reform Big Sugar by eliminating production limits (inflating sugar costs for growers), allowing the Department of Agriculture to increase sugar imports and end sales of surplus to ethanol producers. Big Sugar corporations have since stopped donating to DeSantis.
In June, DeSantis, speaking at the GOP Sunshine Summit in Orlando, insisted that the next governor must address the issue of the Lake Okeechobee drainage that is causing so much damage to both Florida coasts. By opposing policies at the federal level that would directly affect Big Sugar, DeSantis
DeSantis has already received high praise and a full endorsement from President Trump.
Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2017
Who will you support in the Florida gubernatorial primary? If your hope is for Florida Big Sugar to clean up its act and stop the damage to Florida waterways, Algae Adam wouldn’t even be on the list of contenders for Florida Governor.
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