At the end of last week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., went to bat for two bills championed by fellow Florida Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Steube announced he was backing U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s, R-Fla., “Protecting Local Communities from Harmful Algal Blooms Act” and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s, R-Fla., “South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act.”
Buchanan reintroduced his proposal to reform federal law “to include algal blooms in the definition of a ‘major disaster’” at the start of the year. The late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., had been backing the proposal before his death last month. The bill is currently before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. There is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Mast’s bill would “require the Inter-Agency Task Force to develop an action plan to address potential approaches to reduce harmful algal blooms in the South Florida Water Management District, regional coastal waters like the Caloosahatchee Estuary, and the Florida Reef Tract.” Steube joins U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla., in backing the bill which was sent to the U.S. House Natural Resources and the Science, Space, and Technology Committees which both sent it to assorted subcommittees. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is championing the bill in the Senate with the support of U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.
On Friday, Steube weighed in on why he was backing these proposals.
“I am honored to work with my colleagues to support new initiatives to reduce harmful algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee and our coastal communities,” Steube said. “These bills will build on our previous progress and make new strides in protecting our waterways while promoting recreation, tourism, and environmental interests.”
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