Rubio and Scott Celebrate Unanimous Passage of Environmental Protections for Florida in Senate

Rubio and Scott Celebrate Unanimous Passage of Environmental Protections for Florida in Senate

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
March 18, 2024

Over the weekend, US Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) celebrated the Senate’s unanimous approval of their Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary of National Significance Act.

The bill would command the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designate the Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program (PPBEP) as an “Estuary of National Significance.”

The Pensacola and Perdido bay watersheds run through several states, including Alabama and Florida. 

Water quality and resource challenges in the estuary prompted Senators Scott and Rubio to introduce the bill. 

The ‘national significance’ designation would enroll the estuaries in the EPA’s National Estuary Program, unlocking tens of millions of dollars in environmental protection funding.

Rubio described including PPBEP in the National Estuary Program “will provide critical support for restoration, conservation, and monitoring efforts in Pensacola and Perdido Bays and enhance economic activity in the Florida Panhandle.”

According to PPBEP Executive Director Matt Posner, the last designation for a New National Estuary program occurred 30 years ago. 

Director Posner shared Rubio’s enthusiasm for the designation, stating the “National Estuary Program provides a transformational opportunity to invest in the restoration and conservation of our estuaries and watersheds for generations to come.”

The PPBEP was created in 2018 after obtaining a $2 million competitive grant from the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and the EPA. 

Since then, PPBEP has worked to assess the quality of the estuaries, remove trash, fund local conservation initiatives, and instruct professionals on environmental conservation. 

PPBEP has been awarded millions in grants from national, state, and local governments in support of its relentless conservation efforts. 

Since 2020, Florida’s legislature has granted PPBEP $750 thousand, primarily for their local-project funding initiatives. 

Rubio and Scott’s legislation now heads to the House of Representatives, where the Floridian Senators hope the bill will be warmly received.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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