Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) hosted a roundtable this weekend to discuss environmental concerns. Buchanan hosted key local stakeholders on Suncoast water quality, discussing ways that the state can combat the threat of red algae bloom.
The roundtable sought to address several concerns, including the negative effects that the red tide has “on human health, the economy and marine life as well as potential federal solutions for mitigating harmful algal blooms.”
Florida has been dealing with red algae for quite some time, and the Gulf Coast is now being affected by severe levels of red tide.
In a statement, Buchanan shared that “on the Suncoast, we rely on clean water and white sandy beaches to support our economy and our way of life.” “Red tide has wreaked havoc on marine life, our waters and the many businesses that rely on Florida’s tourism-based economy,” Buchanan said, adding that the “roundtable was a productive discussion on enhancing Southwest Florida’s natural resources to protect our economy and environment for generations to come.”
“We must take immediate action to combat red tide,” Buchanan urged.
The Florida Republican introduced the Protecting Local Communities from Harmful Algal Blooms Act, which aims to amend the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. By doing so, it would include algal blooms in the “major disaster” definition.
According to a press release from Buchanan’s office, “this change would require the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to provide both technical and financial assistance to states suffering from outbreaks of Harmful Algal Blooms like red tide.”
Recently, Buchanan has introduced legislation that would protect the Little Manatee River as well as legislation that would make permanent the current oil and gas drilling moratorium off the coast of Florida. He has also supported legislation that would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.