What's behind a Florida lake full of toxic algae? Follow the money.
Start with the sugar fortune billionaires and dark money lobbying groups. See how fertilizer run off from farms contaminate clean water and fueling algae growth made worse by global warming. How the Republican gerrymandered legislature that is booting out clean water advocates. And how you can fight back by supporting groups like Vote Water.
Follow the money and algae problem with this StoryMap.
Florida's polluted waters are a political problem
Sugar lobby political donations have created a lake sized environmental disaster that threatens all of Florida.
"Conservationists say state rules to control the flow of phosphorus from agricultural lands, by far the largest source of the pollutant, have long been poorly enforced." - NYT
"Sugar subsidies are corporate welfare, and they have warped Florida's water management and government to the benefit primarily of 2 billionaire families." - VoteWater
"Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar Corp. were the largest donors to five political committees controlled by Associated Industries of Florida, which spent about $26 million on Florida elections through its political committees." - Tampa Bay Times
What's causing the algae?
"Blooms are made up of naturally occurring algae that explode in number under the right conditions: warm temperatures, lots of nutrients, and calm waters... especially with warming temperatures due to climate change, as well as nutrient-rich runoff from agricultural fields and other sources." - NASA
"Too many nutrients entering coastal waters cause plankton and algae blooms the shade light from seagrasses, which kills the seagrasses. The algae that grows on the bottom also smothers oysters and other bottom organisms. When the plankton and algae die, their decomposition consumes all of the oxygen in the water, which causes fish kills. The legacy of nutrient pollution can last for years." - VoteWater
"VoteWater, formerly Bullsugar.org, is a grassroots organization founded by Stuart residents in August 2014 on the belief that stopping the damaging discharges to our coasts and restoring the Everglades is not a science or engineering problem. The science has been known for decades. Our problem is a political problem - and it requires a political solution. VoteWater fights political corruption in Florida by galvanizing public resolve to end the systemic pollution and mismanagement of our waterways."
TakeAway: Stop the political corruption that's ruining the environment. Vote for Democrats.
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