SARASOTA (WWSB) - In a very busy first 48 hours, Governor Ron DeSantis said one of his first priorities was coming to Sarasota to address water quality.
An executive order he signed this morning will aim to secure $2.5 billion that will go towards protecting water resources.
“My business out of state is up significantly,” said Chris Peterson, owner of a Florida boat company.
Peterson said business is booming in other states, but here in Florida, far fewer people are buying boats because of red tide. He has faith Governor Ron DeSantis will fix that.
“A lot of times when people come into office, they talk about the first 100 days," Peterson said during the press conference on Thursday at Mote Marine Laboratory. "Holy mackerel it hasn’t even been 100 hours!”
Governor Ron DeSantis said he has no time to waste when addressing the massive red tide issue.
“So I think that’s what today’s executive actions really show," Governor DeSantis said. "It shows a vision, but it also puts meat on the bones. So we’re going to be seeking $2.5 billion over the next four years for water resource and Everglades related projects.”
He’s confident that the $2.5 billion will come from the state departments of environmental protection working with Florida’s tourism agency.
The order also creates the blue-green algae task force and an office of environmental accountability and transparency.
The new governor wants to get the Army Corps of Engineers to manage Lake Okeechobee differently.
“If you have fewer discharges or hopefully no discharges, we don’t know to what extent those nutrients getting out here affects red tide, but we think it’s a factor," Governor DeSantis said. "Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to experience that this summer?”
In terms of specific places this money will go, DeSantis said, “some of that will be to water resource projects that will help with water quality, some of it may be going to places like [Mote Marine Laboratory] who are doing good work.”
They’re what he calls first steps of a solution to an issue at the forefront of many minds, from your average citizen, to business owners and legislators alike.
“I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, 41 years and I’ve never seen as much devastation, both from a marine life standpoint and an economic standpoint, on our shores and our communities, that we have in the last year,” said State Senator Joe Gruters, representing District 23.
Governor DeSantis also addressed the government shutdown, merely saying that he is so glad to be on the Suncoast with his boots on the ground, instead of in Washington.