On Thursday, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) will present shocking photos of polluted Florida waterways to Congress “so that Washington can see the pressing need to find real solutions to address this problem that has gone on for far too long.”
Murphy asked his constituents to send in photos of the toxic water lapping under their boats and docks, and will present the four most jaw-dropping at his October 3 briefing, which is co-hosted by Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.).
When major rains overwhelmed Lake Okeechobee this summer, the Army Corps of Engineers released billions of gallons of polluted water into surrounding estuaries rather than risk a breach of the fragile dike.
The deluge of water carried contaminates from area farms and septic tanks, and skewed the salinity at waterways like the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon, reports the New York Times. The disruption caused a burst of dangerous algae to grow causing a perfect storm of environmental dangers.
Indian River Lagoon specifically was called a “killing zone” and a “mass murder mystery”after the sudden death of 46 dolphins, 111 manatees, 300 pelicans, and 47,000 acres of sea grass beds.
Gov. Rick Scott (R) vetoed funding for a research project to study the extreme crisis at the lagoon, writing “not all projects demonstrate an ability to contribute to a statewide investment.”
However Scott, soon up for re-election, recently visited the estuaries and proposed to spend $130 million on solutions.
He also wrote to President Obama, asking him to visit and see firsthand “how the federal government’s shortcomings have affected families.”
In the meantime, Rep. Murphy’s culled photos of the damage may be all the convincing D.C needs to take action.