Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio introduced amendments to combat the algal blooms plaguing Southwest Florida, other parts of the state and the nation.
Nelson introduced an amendment Thursday for the upcoming Senate spending bill to provide federal help for states and communities impacted by algae, Nelson’s office said.
“These (algal) blooms are hurting our environment and our local economies,” Nelson said in a statement. “This bill will help make federal assistance available to the communities hardest hit by these algae outbreaks.”
The legislation would also designate authority for the heads of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental Protection Agency to declare a severe algal blooms in order to provide federal resources to help those affected, according to the senator’s office.
The bill would set aside an additional $110 million over the next five years for research on algal blooms and hypoxia, according to a spokesperson for the senator.
Rubio also introduced an amendment Wednesday for funds to address the algal blooms, his office said in a statement.
If approved, there would be $5 million secured for EPA in order to research the affects of algae on human health and finding proactive ways to combat the algal blooms, according to the senator’s office. The U.S. Geological Survey would also receive a minimum of $200,000 for additional research on algal blooms.
“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,” Rubio said in a statement. “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.”