U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., is leading the charge on Capitol Hill to ensure the Trump administration fully funds all programs to crack down on algal blooms.
On Wednesday, Mast paired up with U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oreg., Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, and Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, to round up more than 55 members of the U.S. House to write a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney “urging the Trump Administration to fully fund all programs related to addressing harmful algal blooms in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 budget.”
“We write to respectfully request that you allocate robust funding in the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request for programs that address a widespread and ever-increasing problem: toxic algal blooms, also called harmful algal blooms (HABs),” the representatives wrote. “Toxic algae affect marine, coastal, estuarine, and freshwater systems in all 50 states and all U.S. territories. A strong investment in programs that address toxic algae will help protect economic activity, the health of millions of Americans, and our environment.”
The representatives noted how toxic algae was continuing to impact the Sunshine State.
“Toxic blue-green algae originating in Lake Okeechobee in Florida has fouled rivers and inland waterways leading to both coasts, wreaking havoc on the state’s tourism industry and threatening public health,” they wrote. “This toxic bloom remains a continued threat to drinking water and commercial and recreational uses of waterways.”
Among the 61 representatives who signed the letter were several members of the Florida delegation including Republican U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart, Bill Posey and Francis Rooney and Democrat U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.