Florida Rep. Brian Mast (R) has been at the forefront of the fight against algal blooms advances. His fight continues as the House Science, Space and Technology Committee has passed his South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act.
The bipartisan bill will amend existing federal law that combats harmful algal blooms to require the first-ever specific federal assessment and action plan that would reduce harmful algal blooms attacking the sunshine state.
The Florida Rep. expressed that “since introducing this bill, we have made great progress toward bringing real operational change to the way Lake Okeechobee is managed.”
Citing the “efforts to lower Lake Okeechobee this winter,” Rep. Mast explained that “our communities are being spared toxic discharges that contain harmful algal blooms this summer.”
However, Mast reminds that “the reality is that these algal blooms on Lake O are still toxic,” and “it’s ridiculous that a federal program specifically designed to combat harmful algal blooms has never done an Everglades-specific analysis.”
This is exactly what he aims to do, asserting that the legislation would create “the first-ever specific federal action plan to combat harmful algal blooms in” the sunshine state.
Specifically, Mast’s bill would amend the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. It was reauthorized in late 2018 by bipartisan legislation written by Mast and Senator Bill Nelson (D).
With the legislation, an assessment would be completed “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.”
In turn, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, which would also conduct the assessment, “is then directed to submit a plan to Congress for reducing, mitigating and controlling harmful algal blooms in the Greater Everglades region.”