Florida Republican Congressman Byron Donalds has introduced H.R. 7206 the Protecting Communities from Harmful Algal Blooms Act, which allows for the inclusion of ‘algal blooms’ to the applicability of Major Disaster Declarations to preserve marine ecosystems.
In a press release introducing the bill, Donalds said water is Florida’s most important natural resource and serves as the heart & soul of Southwest Florida. “I’m committed to advancing bipartisan policies that promote the preservation of our waterways against potential long-term damage resulting from harmful algal blooms. This bill gives state and local leaders the opportunity to request federal funding to protect their waterways for future generations to come. I’m thankful for my colleagues’ support in this effort to protect our nation’s marine ecosystems.”
Co-Sponsors of this legislation include: Representatives Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25, Scott Franklin (FL-15), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), Al Lawson (FL-05), Brian Mast (FL-18), and Bill Posey (FL-08).
Mast said coastal communities in Florida have suffered for decades as a result of the massive toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee by the Army Corps. “The federal government has played a huge role in causing this public health crisis, but they aren’t taking responsibility for their actions. This bill would give the State of Florida and local governments another tool to recoup costs from the federal government for the damage they are causing.”