The sunshine state and Florida rep. Michael Waltz (R) scored big this week as the House of Representatives passed four water quality bills that were sponsored by the freshman rep. to definitively assess and manage stressors on coastal communities currently dealing with ocean acidification.
This continues the state’s goal of tackling environmental issues that pose a threat to Floridians, and Governor DeSantis has made it a priority to work alongside the Florida legislature in responding to those concerns.
Speaking on the House’s decision to pass all four of the bills, rep. Waltz commented that “improving water quality is a critical priority for Florida’s coast,” noting that “waterways are essential to our community’s growth and prosperity.”
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Because of that, Waltz added that “we need to prevent red tide and harmful algal blooms, not just monitor or react to them,” and he explained that “these bills give us the tools necessary to keep our waterways beautiful.”
With the COAST Research Act of 2019, an advisory board would be established with “individuals from relevant industries, non-governmental organizations and state and local governments to advise the National Science and Technology Council’s and the Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Acidification.”
With the Ocean Acidification Act of 2019, there would be federal competition between “agencies belonging to the Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Acidification for innovation or adaptation management development.”
The Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Science would be required “to assess stressors in estuaries environments and report its findings to Congress” with the National Estuaries and Acidification Research Act of 2019.
Finally, with the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would be required to “assess the socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification” through work with states like Florida. In addition, “the assessment would identify relevant communities, assess economic vulnerabilities and identify harmful ocean acidification impacts on communities.”
“So much of our community’s culture depends on our coast,” expressed Waltz, who joins other Florida lawmakers in looking for a solution to the growing concerns. However, Waltz asserts that the approval of this batch of bills is a step in the right direction because they will ensure that “Florida can maintain healthy oceans for generations to come.”