TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After declaring a state of emergency in Lee, Martin and St. Lucie Counties last week, Governor Scott announced today that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will immediately activate a business emergency operations center. DEO will begin to immediately assess the impact the federal government’s water releases from Lake Okeechobee are having on businesses. Last week, Governor Scott called on the Obama Administration to fully fund the more than $800 million in needed repairs to the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike which would safely hold water to prevent these discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.
Governor Rick Scott said, “By declaring a state of emergency last week, we have added additional flexibility so our state agencies can begin to help families and businesses in those communities. Our business emergency operations center will help businesses assess any damage caused by the federal government’s failure to fix the federally maintained Herbert Hoover dike. We need the President to fully fund the $800 million in needed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike so discharges are no longer needed.”
DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said, "Many local businesses near the coast may be adversely affected by the Lake Okeechobee releases. Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s thriving economy and it is critical that they have access to resources during and after a disaster to quickly recover. DEO is committed to assisting businesses with recovery needs.”
The program, managed by DEO, will immediately begin surveying businesses affected by the water releases and share the results with various state and local agencies to implement appropriate disaster relief programs. Affected businesses should complete a Business Damage Assessment survey that will be used to determine which emergency support programs might be beneficial to aid recovery efforts in the area. Local and state officials will use this information to provide any needed assistance programs.
The survey can be obtained at http://flvbeoc.org/index.php?action=bda by selecting the “Lake Okeechobee Discharge” event.