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Florida Senate candidate fights for clean water

Posted at 10:56 PM, Aug 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-07 22:57:07-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The fight for clean water continued, this time at Centennial Park, as protesters took to the ocean by boat to get their message across Saturday. 

District 27 Florida State Senate candidate Jason Maughan led the fleet, as they dumped ceremonial bags of sugar, which were actually bags of beach sand, into the Caloosahatchee off Centennial Park to bring attention to the water quality in Southwest Florida. "My son thinks the river is made out of Coca-Cola now," he said.

He blames the sugar industry and other special interest groups for influencing leaders to oppose using state funding to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee. Land he said can be used to collect, filter and clean water from Lake-O before directing it to the Florida Everglades. "The enemy is demonstrably big sugar and industrial agriculture. These don't represent normal local farmers. These are polluters," said Maughan.

Water activists in Southwest Florida like John Heim went to the event to support the candidate. "This is a human health concern," he said.

Heim tells Fox 4 the dirty water seen in SWFL is a result of water released from Lake-O, which he says contains fertilizer, pesticides and other chemicals, creating conditions that could lead to toxic algae blooms. He says that could make you very sick. "The biggest form of protest that can be done by all individuals in Lee County when it comes to our water quality now is voting," said Heim.