NewsPinellas County


DeSantis says Red Tide state of emergency is not needed, would do more harm than good

Posted at 8:45 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 09:51:13-04

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis was in St. Pete to talk about the collaborated efforts to clean up red tide fish kills in the Tampa Bay area. DeSantis also says he will not declare a state of emergency like some local leaders have asked because it's not needed.

Governor DeSantis says state money is already allocated for red tide clean, so he does not need to declare a state of emergency to free up funds.

"That would not allow us to do anything that we’re not already doing," said DeSantis.

Robin Miller, CEO of Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, says she believes a state of emergency would only harm the economy.

"We represent nearly 1000 businesses on the beaches and a state of emergency does not help our economic vitality at all," said Miller.

Some good news is that the height of the red tide fish kills in Tampa Bay seems to have subsided for now.

"We’re not out of the woods. Things are trending positively from the Bay’s perspective. However, on the coast, we’re seeing pretty substantial blooms, anywhere from Longboat Key to the Dunedin area," said Eric Sutton with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Red tide has increased along the Pinellas coastline and beaches.

As for what caused this historical red tide in Tampa Bay, ABC Action News asked the governor if he attributes any of it to the 215 million gallons of Piney Point contaminated water that was discharged into Tampa Bay in April. The governor responded:

"I think the scientific consensus is clear, it did not cause the red tide, the red tide was here. I think the biggest impact on Tampa Bay was Elsa, unfortunately," said DeSantis.

DeSantis says that the state is ready to help any local entities with Red Tide clean-up.