Tampa Bay Times: Written by Mary Ellen Klas. March 15th, 2017.
The leaders of one of the nation’s largest outdoors companies, a major boat manufacturer, and tourism industry officials met with Gov. Rick Scott and legislators Wednesday to make the case that urgent action is needed to end the toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
They detailed how their industries suffered from the impact of the guacamole-looking toxic algae blooms that prompted a state of emergency last year. They offered statistics on how Florida is losing business to other states and warned about the social media buzz over Florida’s bad water, suggesting that if things don’t turn around now, it may take years to reverse.
“If Florida is known as a destination of subpar water quality or bad water, it would absolutely crush our local economy,” said John Lai, representing the Lee County Development Association and the Sanibel/Captiva Chamber of Commerce. He said that one in five jobs in his region rely heavily on tourism but, in the last 30 years, he has watched “the complete degradation of Florida estuaries and water quality.”