Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) received a win on Wednesday and so did the state of Florida. Mast introduced a bipartisan bill that “will require the first-ever federal assessment and action plan to combat harmful algal blooms in Florida.” The bill was written by Mast and former Democratic Senator of Florida Bill Nelson in 2018.
According to the Mast press release, the Congressman said, “The east and west coasts of Florida have been treated like the state’s own personal septic tank for years. Even the federal government has been in on the abuse…This bill will force the federal government to take responsibility for that harm and develop an action plan to combat toxic algal blooms in our community.”
According to federal law prior to this bill being voted on in the House, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science have shared reports for over two decades regarding dangerous algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and an overall national report, but never a “Florida-specific report.”
Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida both championed the bill in the Senate. Rubio was quoted in saying, “Harmful algal blooms can sicken Floridians, damage local communities, and destroy ecosystems,” said the former presidential candidate. “This will help our coastal communities prepare for and mitigate the devastating impacts. I urge President Biden to sign this bill into law so we can begin addressing these challenges.”
Scott said, “I won’t stop fighting to protect Florida’s beautiful waters, environment and natural resources for future generations and I urge President Biden to quickly sign this important bill into law.”
In the house, the bill passed in bipartisan fashion, 412-7.