Gov. Scott declares state of emergency in Lee Co

Posted at 3:13 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 16:01:34-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Governor Rick Scott has signed an Executive Order which declares a state of emergency in Lee, Martin and St. Lucie counties and called for President Obama to federally fund repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike.

The state of emergency declaration comes after heavy rainfall forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

Governor Scott also wants the Obama Administration to fully fund the more than $800 million in needed repairs to the federally-operated dike at Lake Okeechobee, which would safely hold water to prevent these discharges.

To date, the state of Florida has invested $880 million more than the federal government is required to provide for clean water to the Everglades.

"Our communities are in imminent danger of prolonged flooding and environmental devastation if the dike is ever compromised. Not only is the well-being and health of our families at risk if the Obama Administration doesn’t immediately begin funding repairs to their federally operated dike, but our housing market, tourism industry and agricultural community will fail if the dike is not repaired and properly maintained," says Gov. Scott.

According to the office of the governor, the State of Florida has invested nearly $2 billion in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and $1.8 billion in providing clean water to the Everglades. Governor Scott’s 2016-2017 Florida First budget includes an additional $5 billion dollars over the next 20 years to substantially complete the CERP and ensure that clean water is sent to the Everglades.