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Gov. Scott Urges Lake Discharges Be Sent South

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Amy Green/WMFE
The Florida Channel
Excess waters from Lake Okeechobee started being discharged June 1.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants discharges of polluted water out of Lake Okeechobee redirected elsewhere.

Scott put the request in a letter he sent Wednesday to the state's Department of Environmental Protection directing them to issue an emergency order urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redirect water flow to the south.

The water from Lake Okeechobee has been carrying blue-green algae blooms west and east to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers since excess lake waters started to be discharged on June 1.

Algae blooms have affected the rivers the past two years. Two years ago, blooms closed beaches, killed marine life and hurt tourism.

The Republican governor signed a bill last year to build reservoirs south of Lake Okeechobee to treat polluted water before it flows downstream.