Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced it would grant economic injury loans under its disaster assistance program to residents of Franklin County, Florida to assist the area in coping with the economic hardships it is currently facing due to the water conditions in the Apalachicola Bay. Apalachicola is home to one of the largest commercial oyster fisheries in the U.S., and much of the local economy thrives on the health of the bay.
“Two months ago I met with and listened to small business owners and families in Apalachicola who are being directly impacted by this disaster, and it was heartbreaking,” said Senator Marco Rubio. “Today’s announcement means that those same hard-working Floridians will finally receive some of the relief they’ve so desperately needed, and I thank Governor Scott and the SBA for their decisive action in this matter. The effects of this disaster on the local community, supporting industries, and regional economy have been significant, and a permanent solution is still desperately needed. We need to keep trying to solve the problem through every avenue possible and I remain committed to fixing the problem so that we have an effective solution.”
“That was the right thing to do,” said Senator Bill Nelson. “We’re supposed to help people facing tough times.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott submitted a request to the SBA last week for an Economic Injury Declaration for the county after drought conditions and low water flows have caused the fishery and the surrounding community, including several small businesses dependent on the resource, to suffer significantly.
For information on how to apply to receive assistance through the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Program, please see the fact sheet here.
In August, Rubio and Nelson attended a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation field hearing and heard firsthand testimony from those affected by the ongoing crisis. Rubio also toured Apalachicola Bay and met with local oystermen, families, and businesses to examine the dire effects of the water shortage on Apalachicola Bay and Florida industry. For more information, click here.