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Congressman Donalds Introduces the Protecting Communities from Harmful Algal Blooms Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL) introduced the H.R. 7206 Protecting Communities from Harmful Algal Blooms Act, which allows for the inclusion of ‘algal blooms’ to the applicability of Major Disaster Declarations to preserve vital marine ecosystems.

“Water is Florida’s most important natural resource and serves as the heart & soul of Southwest Florida,” said Rep. Donalds. “I’m committed to advancing bipartisan policies that promote the preservation of our waterways against potential long-term damage resulting from harmful algal blooms. This bill gives state and local leaders the opportunity to request federal funding to protect their waterways for future generations to come. I’m thankful for my colleagues’ support in this effort to protect our nation’s marine ecosystems.”

“I’m proud to team up with Congressman Donalds to give Governor DeSantis the resources needed to clean up harmful algal blooms (HAB) as they arise. Keeping Florida’s coastline and waterways clean not only helps protect South Florida’s precious ecosystems for our children and grandchildren to enjoy for generations to come, but it is instrumental in protecting South Florida’s economic engine. I urge Speaker Pelosi to pass this legislation through the House expeditiously to get Florida these vital resources,” Rep. Gimenez said.

“Unfortunately, Floridians are all too familiar with the environmental and economic damage that harmful algal blooms can inflict,” said Rep. Bilirakis.  “This critical legislation will empower the Governor to seek a disaster declaration and accompanying federal support when these harmful situations arise.  I also remain committed to investing in critical research regarding the best strategies for prevention, mitigation, containment and clean-up.  We must protect our pristine coastline and the vital industries it supports.”

“Harmful Algal Blooms (HBA) not only pose a serious threat to the health of many of our nation’s estuaries, like the Indian River Lagoon, but are also dangerous to the economies and communities along their shores,” said Rep. Bill Posey, founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Estuary Caucus. “This important legislation will help give states and local governments more tools to fight and mitigate their effects.”

“Coastal communities in Florida have suffered for decades as a result of the massive toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee by the Army Corps,” said Rep. Mast. “The federal government has played a huge role in causing this public health crisis, but they aren't taking responsibility for their actions. This bill would give the State of Florida and local governments another tool to recoup costs from the federal government for the damage they are causing.”

Co-Sponsors of this legislation include: Representatives Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Kathy Castor  (FL-14), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25, Scott Franklin (FL-15), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), Al Lawson (FL-05), Brian Mast (FL-18), and Bill Posey (FL-08).

Read this legislation in its entirety here.

EXCLUSIVE: Congressman Byron Donalds Champions Bill to Help Those Affected by Harmful Algal Blooms