Palm Beach County Congressman Brian Mast is filing legislation that would require a first of its kind federal assessment and action plan for reducing algae blooms in the Everglades.
The South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act aims to ensure the feds are doing what they can to avoid potential future toxic algae crises.
Discharges from Lake Okeechobee were blamed for last year's crisis and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of those releases.
Here's more from Mast's office:
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today announced the introduction of the South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act. The bill will amend existing federal law aimed at combatting harmful algal blooms to require the first-ever specific federal assessment and action plan to reduce harmful algal blooms in the Greater Everglades region.
“Considering the massive damage algal blooms have caused in our community, it’s ridiculous that a federal program specifically designed to combat algal blooms has never done an Everglades-specific analysis,” Rep. Mast said. “This bill is a critical first step to developing a comprehensive plan that forces the state and federal government to work together to keep our water clean.”
The bill amends the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act to require an assessment and action plan for reducing harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in the Greater Everglades region. Under the direction of this existing federal law, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science have developed numerous reports over the last two decades researching harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River and nationally. However, there has never been an Everglades-specific report.
The South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act directs the task force to complete an assessment that examines the causes, consequences and potential approaches to reduce harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in the Greater Everglades region, including how ongoing South Florida ecosystem restoration efforts are impacting the distribution of algal blooms. Based on the assessment, the task force is then directed to submit a plan to Congress for reducing, mitigating and controlling harmful algal blooms in the Greater Everglades region.
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