Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) yesterday introduced an amendment to the latest FY19 Minibus appropriations package (H.R. 6147) currently being considered by the full Senate to secure funding for agencies working to address harmful algal blooms throughout Florida and the nation. The amendment would ensure a minimum of $5 million for the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate the human health impacts of exposure to harmful algal toxins, and to develop innovative methods to monitor, characterize, and predict blooms for early action. Additionally, the amendment would ensure that the U.S. Geological Survey receives a minimum of $200,000 to help understand the mechanisms that result in the presence of toxins in harmful algal blooms.
 
“Harmful algal blooms are a growing problem throughout our nation,” Rubio said. “I am focused on solving South Florida’s algae crisis by working to complete key Everglades restoration projects to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges, as well as to increase investments in other water infrastructure projects that will improve water quality throughout our state. This amendment ensures that the federal government upholds its responsibilities to understand the potential health impacts on communities affected by Lake Okeechobee discharges as we continue to pursue long-term solutions.”
 
Background:
·         Yesterday, Rubio called the delays in Everglades and Lake Okeechobee projects unacceptable and urged the Army Corps of Engineers to work with the South Florida Water Management District, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, to reassess the prioritization of restoration projects across the system, and to shorten key project delivery timelines.
 
·         Following his June request, Rubio welcomed an announcement by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that it had approved the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Post-Authorization Change Report (PACR), allowing Congress to consider authorizing construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges to coastal communities. 
 
·         Earlier this month, Rubio also requested that President Trump have the Corps delay scheduled discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers, as well as double Everglades restoration funding beginning with his fiscal year 2020 budget request to Congress.
 
An extended list of Rubio’s efforts can be found here