Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation that will help states and local communities improve water quality. The Local Water Protection Act would reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Section 319 grant program that provides funding opportunities for states to develop and implement their own programs for managing nonpoint source water pollution, or pollution from diffuse sources including runoff from farms, managed forests, and urban areas. Under the Clean Water Act, states are responsible for addressing nonpoint source water pollution caused by rainfall-driven runoff, which is done largely through voluntary means and financial incentives. However, according to the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), available federal incentives have declined recently, slowing the successful implementation of local water quality improvement projects across the nation. The Local Water Protection Act would reauthorize the Section 319 program, and increase funding to $200 million annually. The legislation provides much needed flexibility to make conservation improvements that will decrease water pollutants through partnerships within their communities.
 
“Whether it’s fighting to expedite Everglades restoration and extend the ban on offshore drilling off of Florida’s Gulf coast, or prompting coordinated action to address harmful algal blooms and coral reef degradation, protecting Florida’s environment remains one of my top priorities in Washington,” Rubio said. “I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to promote local stewardship of water quality by increasing federal support for state and local government projects proposed by those folks who know their communities’ needs the best.”
 
“In Minnesota, we take the quality of our 10,000 lakes very seriously, and we all want to preserve the quality of these important waterways for generations to come,” Klobuchar said. “Local communities are the experts on the most effective and innovative ways to keep these waterways clean—that’s why our legislation would give local and state governments the resources they need to create the best voluntary conservation programs to ensure that their water is clean and free of harmful pollutants.”
 
U.S. Representatives Brian Mast (R-FL) and Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced companion legislation in the House.
 
A timeline of Rubio’s efforts to enhance Florida’s water quality can be found here.