During the presidential campaign, candidates are required to cover a large number of issues that Americans face. The economy, the job market, immigration, civil rights, and the environment are just a few of the important topics that must be discussed. For this election year, one of the big environmental issues is Florida’s toxic algae.
The state of Florida is used to their cyclical algae, but this spring and summer the algae came with more force and dangers. The “watery guacamole” algae spread into lagoons, rivers, and other waterways, posing a health threat not only to Floridians but also the marine life.
In late summer the noxious algae bloom spread to the Atlantic Ocean, and killed plants and other marine life. The algae also threatened Florida’s tourism and fishing industry. In fact, one Florida beach had to close down during Fourth of July, which is a huge day for tourism in the southern coastal state.
One motel owner, Irene Gomes, reported losing $12,000 in business because of the foul-smelling, toxic algae. Gomes comments were even featured in a video released by the Clinton campaign that addressed Florida’s environmental problem.
Clinton’s response to the algae in Florida has been one that advocates for better leadership in the state, but also that the national government should be doing more to help the Floridians.
“Like you, I believe that clean water in not a luxury—it’s a fundamental right,” Clinton wrote. “I am committed to finding a long-term solution to this problem.”
Clinton also sent former EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Florida on her behalf back in September to assess the algae situation.
As for Trump, the Republican nominee has stated that he supports Florida Governor Rick Scott in his efforts to fix the algae problem plaguing the state’s environment and economy. Trump believes the algae could be a cause of the failing infrastructure of the United States, and has stated that the issue is something he would fix as president.
“It’s very sad. I’m looking at it,” Trump said in July. “I actually want to find out what causes it.”
Fortunately scientists do already have an idea of what caused the algae. Apparently, a large flow of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee, high temperatures, and an increase of nutrients from agricultural runoff also created the perfect situation for a massive algae bloom.
Although neither Clinton nor Trump has actually visited Florida specifically to look at the algae and discuss how to fix it, Clinton did send Browner to investigate after Martin County in Florida invited the candidates to see the algae blooms.
Gabriella Ferrero, a spokesperson for Martin County, has expressed that the invitation for Trump to tour the algae blooms is still open.
“We’d be thrilled to have the candidate here,” Ferrero said.
Both candidates have expressed a desire to fix water quality across America, citing Florida’s algae problem and Flint’s water crisis as two examples that need to be addressed.