FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Federal officials from the EPA and Department of the Interior visited Southwest Florida to see how badly the area is being affected by blue-green algae.
The visit was requested by Congressman Francis Rooney last week. Lee County officials gave the federal visitors a tour to look at algae in North Fort Myers, then held a press conference on Fort Myers Beach. Rooney said after talking with some of our federal officials, they have ideas on how to get Southwest Florida some financial relief. "I think there are things with the Commerce Department, the Interior Department and the EPA where we can get some relief for small business and hotels that are losing money because of this green slime," he said.
The congressman's priority is getting as much funding as possible to make a planned reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, the source of the blue-green algae. Scott Cameron, an official with the U.S. Department of the Interior said they will work with Rooney to find out what kind of federal funding is needed, whether it is for research, ecological repair, or help for business losses. "We're going to put the petal to the metal to work with the Army Corps of Engineers, the congressman and the state to expedite the process as much as they can to move as a cohesive team."