Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Mast introduced the bill on Friday and weighed in on it earlier in the week. His office noted the legislation “would make it illegal for the Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water containing algal blooms with a level of toxicity above the Environmental Protection Agency’s human health standard of 8 parts per billion microcystin.”
At the end of last week, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis issued a statement regarding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) report that predicts an extremely active hurricane season.
The typical jokes were flying around social media, with one meme showing a single palm frond on the ground with the words "Hurricane Isaias, we will rebuild". But now it's time to get serious. It has been estimated that 41 percent of all hurricanes that reach the United States make landfall in the peninsula, and Isaias was a stark reminder that Florida residents need to be fully prepared each hurricane season.
The funds will reimburse FDOT for debris cleanup activities throughout Holmes County. Work completed includes collection and disposal of 56,797 cubic yards of vegetative debris. Crews also removed 3,316 hanging limbs and 209 damaged leaning trees that posed a threat to public health and safety.
Funding provides impacted families with the opportunity to rebuild, repair or replace their homes damaged by disasters, as well as providing communities the ability to prepare for future storms.
The bill, which covers Defense; Commerce, Justice, Science; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services and General Government; Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD funding, cleared the House on a 217-197 vote as 12 Democrats joined every Republican and U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., in voting against it. 
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., noted that the bill contains provisions “reducing toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee, expediting construction of the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir and developing new technology to combat harmful algal blooms.”
Patronis’ PrepareFL.com website serves as a one-stop-shop for disaster preparedness information and tips to help Floridians ensure they are prepared to weather a storm.
The two grant recipients will be using the funding to implement enhanced nutrient removal technologies, water quality monitoring and data sharing and work to improve the relationship between environmental conditions and nutrient dynamics in Lake Okeechobee. These efforts will result in a better scientific understanding and management of nutrient conditions in Lake Okeechobee.