Gov. Rick Scott says South Florida's unusually high rainfall and Lake Okeechobee's rising level has created an emergency, and he's blaming President Barack Obama's administration.
Scott declared an emergency Friday for Lee, Martin and St. Lucie counties because of freshwater discharges from the lake into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.
Too much freshwater flowing from the lake into the rivers' estuaries along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean can harm wildlife. Also, pollutants from the lake cause algae blooms on the rivers.
Scott said in a news release that the federal governor has failed to pay for repairs to the dyke it maintains around Lake Okeechobee. If it had, Scott said more water could be safely contained in the lake. Instead, he said 30 billion gallons of flood water recently have flowed into the rivers.