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Protest planned outside of private water quality meeting

Posted: 8:09 PM, May 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-07 10:29:16-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Congressman Francis Rooney’s meeting on Harmful Algal Blooms scheduled for Tuesday has the public asking ‘why is it private?’

John Heim with the Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement said he’s glad leaders are meeting to address water quality issues, but said he’ll be silently protesting outside since he’s not welcome inside.

Heim said he’s been working to keep Southwest Florida’s water clean for nearly 20 years.

He started the movement to bring solutions to water issues.

He said he remembers last year’s red tide and blue-green algae being the worst he’s seen. So, he said now is the best time to come up with a plan. bBut he said he will not tolerate a closed meeting.

“You cannot let politicians to come in here and have secret meetings without the public being included and the media, for translatable information down to the public sector. After all, this is the number one issue in Southwest Florida,” he said.

But Wade Nye said closing the meeting to the public may not be such a bad idea.

“I think it would confuse matters to have a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions, who might not - like me - who don’t have an expertise in this area,” he said.

He said first lawmakers should meet with experts to come up with a plan and then invite public input.

There will be a press conference following the meeting Tuesday afternoon.