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Charlie Crist announces 'Clean Water for All' environmental plan

He's not the only one running for governor who's pushing to help the state we call home.
Credit: AP
FILE- In this June 7, 2018 file photo, an emergent marsh reflects the sky at the Panther Island Mitigation Bank, near Naples, Fla. The federal government granted Florida's request for wider authority over wetland development, a move announced Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, that came under immediate fire by environmentalist who worry that the country's largest network of wetlands could be at risk of being further destroyed. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The state of Florida is home to several landscapes, from wetlands to beaches, making the environment a priority ticket item to those in the running to become governor.

Not to mention, ride tide is currently ravaging the Tampa Bay area with more than 500 tons of dead sea life being cleaned up from St. Petersburg waterways. You can track the latest status of red tide in your area here.

On Wednesday, Charlie Crist, who is running for governor in 2022, released his "Clean Water for All" policy plan that focuses on eight key points.

Among those items are fighting red tide, stopping Lake Okeechobee pollution, Everglades restoration, replacing septic tanks and better funding for the Department of Environmental Protection.

"It’s every day Floridians who pay the price when red tide hits our shores, Everglades restoration falls through the cracks, or pollution fills our lakes and water supplies. Enough is enough. The “Clean Water for All” plan is just the first step in what’s to come for the betterment and environmental protection of our Florida,” Crist said, in part.

His competitors also have flexed their political muscles when it comes to getting help or funding for the state's environment. 

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has recently called for more long-term environmental solutions in the state and is pushing for more action when it comes to addressing red tide.

According to Fried, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection should be among the state agencies helping to lead the effort against the harmful algal blooms -- and not local "officials with limited budgets."

Her team is also working to come up with long-term solutions to the Piney Point wastewater breach. While she did not speak on specific solutions, she mentioned that her team was conducting a pilot program using hemp to filter nutrients out of water.

As for Gov. Ron DeSantis, he's signed several environment-based legislation into law this year and set aside $100 million of the state budget to clean up the wastewater situation at the former Piney Point phosphate plant and ensure its closure.

In the past, he's called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider the decision to make fewer releases from Lake Okeechobee during Florida's dry season. DeSantis also signed a law in 2019 that committed $18 million over the course of six years to the research and development of mitigation efforts related to red tide.

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