Gov’t Sugar Subsidies Causing Massive Marine Animal Die Off as Florida Declares State of Emergency

Saturday, August 25, 2018
By Paul Martin

Generations of corporate and political corruption are responsible for Florida’s deadly red tide and unless the corporate welfare stops, the death will continue.

By John Vibes
August 25, 2018

Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency due to the extreme red tide algae bloom that is responsible for the widespread death of thousands of sea creatures.

The order applies to the counties of Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota.

“Biologists and scientists (will be made) available to assist in clean-up and animal rescue efforts,” Scott said in a news release.

In the past month alone, workers have cleaned up more than 2.7 million pounds of dead fish and sea creatures that have washed up onshore. Hundreds of sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and manatees have also been killed in the red tide since the beginning of the summer.

This type of algae bloom is naturally caused and not a threat when at normal levels, however, a number of human-influenced factors contribute to turning this into an environmental disaster. Experts believe that the main culprit is fertilizer runoff caused by one of the state’s largest industries, sugar farms.

In 2004, Researchers from Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences found direct evidence linking fertilizer runoff to harmful algae blooms

According to a press release, researchers made the discovery by analyzing satellite images of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California— narrow, 700-mile-long stretch of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Mexican mainland from the Baja California Peninsula.

“I looked at five years of satellite data. There were roughly four irrigation events per year, and right after each one, you’d see a bloom appear within a matter of days,” Mike Beman lead author of the study said.

In the case of Florida, the red tide is being created by an industry that would have no chance of survival in the state, or the country, if it was not for government subsidies and protections propping them up. Florida is the only place in the United States that can grow sugar decently year-round, but the region is still outpaced by South and Central America in terms of production, quality, and cost.

Despite the fact that it would be far cheaper and more efficient to import sugar, US politicians have had an ongoing obsession with keeping this industry in the states and used a long list of subsidies and tariffs to ensure that sugar is produced domestically.

When looking at the relationship between politicians and the Florida sugar industry, it becomes apparent why these protections seem so important to the political establishment.

According to a review of state Division of Elections records carried out by the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald, the sugar industry in the state of Florida donated over $57.8 million to local and state political campaigns, that does not even include federal donations.

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