WASHINGTON, D.C. --- U.S. Senators Macro Rubio and Bill Nelson propose a bill that would address harmful algal blooms affecting Florida's south and southwestern coast.
Both Rubio and Nelson introduced the South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act legislation that would direct the Interagency Task Force to examine the causes and consequences of harmful algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee and the federal resources available to resolve the water crisis.
"These toxic algae blooms are choking Florida's waterways, crippling our economy and making people sick," said Senator Nelson. "We need all hands on deck to help, and this bill will provide scientists and researchers the resources they need to understand what's causing these harmful algae blooms -- and what needs to be done to stop them."
After completing the required assessment, the Task Force would be required to develop an action plan in coordination with the state and local stakeholders that would do the following:
- Address monitoring needs identified in the the assessment
- Develop a timeline and budgetary requirements for deployment of future monitoring assets
- Identify requirements for development and verification of HAB predictive models
- Propose the development of an early warning system for alerting local communities to HAB risks to human health.
"Congress has a chance to bring much needed relief to communities impacted by harmful algae outbreaks in Florida," said Senator Rubio. "By directing this existing, federal Task Force to assess the situation in southern Florida, this bill will focus on federal resources on understanding both our blue-green algae and red tide problems and on developing an Action Plan with the state to solve these challenges once and for all. I urge my colleagues to act quickly and pass this bill."
Earlier this week Senator Rubio and Nelson proposed another water bill that would store excess water from Lake Okeechobee and reduce water discharges.