Florida Congressman Introduces Bill Aimed At Curbing Toxic Algae

A Florida congressman has introduced another bill aimed at curbing amounts of toxic algae from state waterways.

Republican Brian Mast says his proposed legislation would make it illegal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water from Lake Okeechobee, if it reaches a certain level of toxicity.

"It is basic good governance that the federal government not poison people that they work for. The government works for the people, not the other way around."

Those discharges have been blamed for blue-green algae taking over waterways along the Treasure Coast.

"This specific bill that we're introducing today is a demand that Army Corps of Engineers limit any discharges to nothing greater than 8 parts per billion of microcystin."

Mast says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has admitted they know that that they're releasing toxic water.

The District 18 representative says his proposed legislation will be tacked onto the Water Resources and Development Act in 2022, but the state can act sooner.

"The state of Florida, their Legislature, they can go out there and they can say 'You're not allowed to discharge that water.' That could absolutely happen and the Corps of Engineers would have to abide by that."

Mast was joined by environmentalists, including South Florida Water Management District Board Member Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, who said "health problems for our children and our animals cannot be a way of life here in South Florida."

The last major toxic algae crises in the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie estuary happened in the summer of 2018.

Photo: Getty Images

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