ESTERO, Fla. — Congressman Francis Rooney held a private meeting about Southwest Florida’s water quality at FGCU Tuesday. He said it's crucial for local leaders to learn from scientists about ways to improve the water, before presenting information to the public.
"The more information we can get our mayors and city managers and commissioners armed with to be able to present the public with realistic science-based facts and remove some of the fear and hysteria, the better off we're all going to be.
But, local protesters said they felt shut out and silenced. They said they wanted to contribute their ideas, too. So, they lined up outside of the meeting, wearing duct tape with the word "silence" across their mouths.
Sherry Straub with Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement said the closed meeting makes her wonder what they’re talking about behind closed doors.
“If they’re not telling us what’s wrong, it makes you think that it could be something that’s very dangerous,” she said.
But, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane said he wants to get the information right before telling his constituents.
“I think it’s important to understand we’re in there collaborating. And they’re still in the infancy stages of any type of science. You don’t want to necessarily misinform,” he said.
Governor Ron DeSantis said he's also working to get support from the capital to pay for water quality resolutions.
"We would like to leverage federal funding and get as much as we can," said DeSantis.
Friday Congressman Rooney will hold another meeting in Naples about water quality. The media is welcome to attend and it will be livestreamed on Facebook.