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Florida tees up another $3 million for red tide relief in Pinellas County

Gov. Rick Scott directed another $3 million to Pinellas County for red tide relief Thursday, bringing the total so far for Pinellas to $6.3 million.

The funding comes from the Florida Department of Environment Protection’s red tide emergency fund.

Scott is infusing another $3 million into that fund to make sure other Florida counties can access relief as the need arises.

“As our coastal communities continue to combat red tide, we are taking action to ensure they have the resources they need. In total, we have provided more than $20 million to respond to this year’s red tide, including funding for cleanup efforts, additional scientific testing, and marketing through VISIT FLORIDA,” Scott said.

Of the total statewide funding, $16.3 million has gone to individual communities for relief efforts. Another $2.2 million paid for research and new technologies to mitigate red tide. That includes expanding the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Ozone Treatment System.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received $1.2 million for redfish hatchery recovery.

The state allocated $500,000 to Visit Florida for an emergency grant program to help local tourism boards affected by red tide.

Coastal businesses in areas where beaches have been compromised due to contaminated water, dead fish and toxic air have seen a drastic decline in business and are reporting substantial financial losses. So far more than 50 people in Pinellas County have either been temporarily or permanently laid off as a result.

“DEP is proud to continue to partner with local communities to help them address the impacts of red tide. Thanks to Gov. Scott’s leadership, we’ve been able to provide $13.4 million in grants to local communities throughout Florida, helping to minimize the impacts from red tide.”

Those funds include the $6.3 million for Pinellas County as well as $1.5 million for Sarasota County. Manatee County received $750,000.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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