Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today released the following statement following the Martin County Board of County Commissioner’s vote to declare a state of emergency and ask the president for help fighting the surge of blue-green algae impacting the Treasure Coast:
“I have been horrified by the reports and photos I’ve seen of the algal bloom in Southeast Florida’s waterways. Decades-long mismanagement has resulted in the crisis before us, which is affecting the Treasure Coast’s ecology, economy, and way of life for millions of Floridians. The closing of beaches along the coast is a legitimate disaster for the people and businesses who are suffering as a result. For this reason, I fully support the action taken today by the Martin County Commission to request a disaster declaration. Governor Scott can count on my full support should he request President Obama declare the area as a federal disaster. If granted, vital funding can then be released to help respond to the dire conditions on our Treasure Coast.
“In the meantime, I am reviewing all legislative options to protect our waterways from this bacteria. I continue to press for authorization of the Central Everglades Planning Project, which would send more water south of Lake Okeechobee instead of to the east and west. This vital project is included in the Water Resources Development Act, and I will keep urging the Senate’s leadership to bring the bill before the full Senate.
“Earlier this year, I was also proud to support the fiscal year 2017 Energy & Water Appropriations bill that allocates funding for repairs of the Herbert Hoover Dike and Everglades restoration. And because the president signed into law my bill to return Ten Mile Creek to local control, the state was recently able to take over this project, which will be vital in the storage and treatment of water. However, more must be done.”
Note: This photo can be credited to Richard Graulich at The Palm Beach Post.
- Because of Rubio’s advocacy efforts, the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) was included in S.2848, the 2016 Water Resources Development Act, which passed in the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in late April. Passing in committee is the farthest along in the legislative process that the CEPP has been since it was first proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
- See a timeline of Rubio’s push for CEPP and other water management projects here.