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Florida Gov. DeSantis signs order to fight algae, red tide

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis began following up on a campaign promise to make the environment a priority by signing an order Thursday seeking to tackle Florida's problems with blue-green algae in its rivers and red tide off its coast.

DeSantis signed the order in Bonita Springs in southwest Florida, one of the areas where slimy algae have coated waterways because of pollutants flowing downstream from Lake Okeechobee.

"I pledged I would take action, and today we are taking action," DeSantis said. "What we've done is really, really strong ... I think this is something that can unite all Floridians."

DeSantis said he will seek $2.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration and water resources. The order not only touches on algae problems, but rising sea levels and the ongoing battle with Georgia over water diverted for Atlanta's use instead of flowing downstream to Apalachicola Bay. The reduction of fresh water entering the bay has hurt the region's oyster industry.

He didn't say where the money would come from, and his office didn't immediately respond when asked about the funding. Late in the day, DeSantis demanded the resignations of all nine members of the South Florida Water Management District, which oversees the Everglades area. The board in November extended a lease with sugar farmers for land needed for a reservoir that is key to water purification efforts, angering DeSantis.

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