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Gov. DeSantis signed measure that extends red tide mitigation effort

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TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a measure that continues efforts to tackle red tide outbreaks in Florida waters.

The measure extends the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative, which was created in 2019 and was set to expire next year. It also calls for the state Department of Environmental Protection to expedite regulatory reviews of lab efforts and field trials undertaken to control and mitigate red tide along the coastline.

"We have stuff in Lake Okeechobee, on some of the algae blooms, that if you do it, it does treat the algae blooms pretty effectively," DeSantis said during a bill signing event at Florida Gulf Coast University's Kapnick Education and Research Center in Naples on Tuesday. "We want to get to the same point where we're able to do that with red tide."

The initiative is a partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory. The measure also requires the Department of Environmental Protection to ease regulations and permitting processes that could slow Mote's red-tide mitigation efforts.

DeSantis on Tuesday also said he does not intend to veto money included in the state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year intended to address red tide. The budget, which DeSantis has not yet received from the Legislature, includes $20 million for efforts to combat algal blooms and $22 million for red tide research.

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