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With red tide lurking, lawmakers talk water quality at Manatee Chamber event

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano said the Legislature will continue to tackle the state’s environmental problems

With another red tide bloom causing fish kills in the Venice area and farther south this year, Florida Senate President Bill Galvano told a crowd at a Manatee Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday [Dec. 3rd] in Bradenton that he expects the Legislature to continue putting significant money into environmental initiatives during the 2020 session.

“Environmentally, we made tremendous investment last year; I don’t see any reason why we’re going to peel back that investment,” Galvano said during the event at IMG Academy Golf Club.

Lawmakers set aside more than $600 million for environmental spending during the 2019 legislative session, including $18 million for Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota to research ways to mitigate red tide blooms. The money will be portioned out over the next six years.

Galvano, R-Bradenton, said in an interview after the event that he plans to stay in contact with Mote to see how researchers are progressing and that he is committed to tackling the problem.

“It’s not a one-and-done issue,” Galvano said.

Improving water quality is a top priority for the Manatee Chamber. Many businesses were hit hard by the drop in tourism during last year’s severe red tide bloom.