Senate Brief: Rick Scott’s Toxic Algae Nightmare

Week of Monday, July 16, 2018

IN BRIEF: Rick Scott’s policies are poisoning Florida’s waterways with toxic algae, forcing businesses to close and families to evacuate — and even stopping one church from performing baptisms

  • The blue-green algae grows in Central Florida’s Lake Okeechobee because of years of Rick Scott’s negligent environmental policies that put special interest polluters first. The algae releases dangerous, foul-smelling vapors, is dangerous to touch and is toxic to ingest. Commerce along the affected waterways is brought to a standstill.
  • Rick Scott has a seven-year record of putting special interests ahead of Florida’s environment. He’s kicked the can down the road on toxic algae for seven years, kowtowing to his wealthy financial backers; he’s advocated for drilling off the Florida coast; he’s banned state government from even uttering the words “climate change”; and he’s weakened oversight of polluters.
  • That’s why Florida newspapers are blaming Rick Scott for the crisis. Sun-Sentinel says Scott is “to blame,” along with the Republican majority in Congress. The Gainesville Sun wrote last week that “Scott and the GOP-controlled Legislature have made it easier to pollute Florida’s natural environment during his two terms in office.”
  • This election year Rick Scott will say or do anything to win. That’s why he declared a “state of emergency” last week in response to the algae — a declaration that made for a good press release, but failed to stop the discharges to toxic water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Matt Rosendale employed some very shady accounting to collect campaign donations exceeding the federally-allowed maximum. The Daily Beast reported Rosendale solicited donations over the maximum from major donors to repay existing debts from his failed 2014 Congressional campaign. He then cut himself a check for the very same amount.
  • Marsha Blackburn is taking fire for her cozy relationship with Big Pharma. A brutal editorial in the Tennessean reports in spite of Blackburn’s frequent touting of her work to combat the opioid crisis, she’s taken hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of her career from some of the worst players in the opioid industry. And those bills she’s so proud of? They’ve barely done anything to help struggling Tennesseans.
  • Josh Hawley, one-time “GOP golden boy,” is falling short of establishment insiders’ expectations. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial reports Hawley has “minimal credentials,” an “only mildly impressive” record as Attorney General, and is unlikely to satisfy voters looking for “a GOP Senate candidate of substance.”

THREE NUMBERS:

  • 6Months since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law.
  • 1.4Percent by which Americans’ wages have fallen since last year.
  • 700Billions of dollars in stock buybacks purchased by big businesses so far in 2018.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: Um, here’s “Wonderwall.”

AND HAPPY MONDAY from American Bridge. Follow us at @JoshuaKarp @AmeliaPenniman @EmmaBeckerman1