Rooney requests support for funding to investigate toxic algae impacts
Congressman Francis Rooney has submitted a request to Ken Calvert, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, to support Senate funding levels for the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor and investigate harmful algal blooms.
“This funding is imperative to investigating the harmful toxic algal blooms that have been occurring in Southwest Florida this year,” Rooney said in a prepared statement released Thursday. “The research these funds support would look at the health impacts of exposure and develop new ways to identify, monitor and track algal blooms. These blooms are impacting our tourist economy, devastating our environment and have implications on our residents’ health.”
The Senate Appropriations committee has provided $3,204,000 for the South Florida program, an increase of $1,500,000 above the enacted level.
These funds are imperative to investigate and monitor harmful algae blooms, the release states.
“Unusually large spring and summer rainfall, and one tropical depression, have generated massive discharges from Lake Okeechobee which have brought toxic algal blooms to our community, crippling our local economy and inflicting serious environmental destruction. The numerous, continuing fish kills have caused, and continue to cause, massive loss of income to our real estate and tourism industries. To make matters even worse, we have been plagued by a lingering red tide just off our beaches which has been exacerbated by the algal blooms. Florida’s tourism economy generates over 17% of our state’s employment and 55% of all real estate in Florida could potentially be impacted.”