TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 30 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency over widespread algae blooms that have forced the closure of beaches in parts of South Florida.
The emergency order for Martin and St. Lucie counties, north of Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast, direct local environmental agencies, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to take actions to address the blooms. That includes reducing the flow of water into Lake Okeechobee and creating a hotline for residents to report algae blooms. Scott also called on the federal government to quickly approve permits for water management programs. The blooms are suspected to have originated in Lake Okeechobee, officials said.