Apalachicola, FL - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) and Congressman Steve Southerland (R-FL) on a tour of the Apalachicola Bay area, where the three called for more urgent action to restore water flows to the bay, which is home to Florida's job-sustaining oyster industry. During a media availability that followed, Rubio issued the following statement:
"We had a hearing today. We heard from folks that are being directly impacted by this and it breaks your heart. This is not just what they've done as a family, this is how they provide for their families now. This is not just part of their traditions, it's their livelihood. And to see it impacted by a man-made decision - by decisions being made by men, not by nature, not by some other change in the economy, but by a simple decision being made by another state - is just heartbreaking.
"So I think our approach is going to be everything. We're going to try to do everything we can to reverse some of this. That involves continuing to pursue legislation to change the way that this is operated, to continue to put pressure on the [Army] Corps of Engineers to make sure that the water flow opens up again. Obviously I'm supportive of the Governor's effort to take that case directly to the Supreme Court. And hopefully in the interim, due to the declaration, we'll be able to get some short-term funding here to do some remediation work but also to help those people that are hurting.
"So that's our goal, to make this a priority. And I think the importance of having that hearing today is to be able to go back to our colleagues in Washington and explain to them what a dire situation this is. We don't have time. In a couple years, there may not be anyone left to save around here in this industry."
Earlier, Rubio hosted a field hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to highlight the damaging impact reduced water flows have had on the local economy of the Apalachicola Bay region and entire state.
See photos of the visit here.
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