This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., brought back the Land and Water Conservation Fund Amendments Act, which they first introduced two years ago.
“Under current law, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is used exclusively for land acquisition and efforts directly related to recreation, and cannot be used to improve the lands and water those efforts are intended to conserve,” Rubio’s office noted, adding the Florida Republicans “reintroduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Amendments Act to amend the LWCF to increase flexibility and allow states to utilize existing funds to support water quality projects that states are required to propose under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act for watersheds deemed impaired by nutrient loading.”
The bill would move $100 million in current federal funds for water quality projects in Florida over the next ten years. “As a result of the requirement that LWCF monies be matched by the non-federal recipient, this bill would allow approximately $200 million in total to be made available for water quality projects over the next decade,” Rubio’s office noted.
“Protecting and restoring Florida’s water quality is critically important for our state. Allowing existing LWCF funds to be used for ecosystem restoration and water quality projects will give our state additional resources to improve our state’s ecosystems, reduce nutrient loads in our waterways, and reduce the risk of harmful algal blooms,” said Rubio
“Water quality and recreation go hand-in-hand in the Sunshine State. Far too often, toxic algae keeps folks from enjoying all that Florida has to offer, so it makes perfect sense to expand LWCF eligibility to water quality projects. Florida taxpayers contribute to this fund, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to use it to fix the problems in our community,” said Mast.
Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Mast’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. So far neither bill has any co-sponsors.
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