U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio have called on Senate leaders to immediately take up and pass legislation aimed at helping mitigate the toxic algae blooms that are plaguing South Florida.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Nelson and Rubio urged the leaders to bring this year’s Water Resources Development Act – which includes funding for a massive reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee designed to store and clean some of the water being released from the lake before it goes into the nearby waterways – to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible.
“The EAA Storage Reservoir is a critical piece of the puzzle for ending Lake Okeechobee discharges and the harmful algal blooms they help fuel,” the senators wrote. “We urge you to bring the WRDA bill to the Senate floor as soon as possible so that we can advance this key project.”
Nelson, who has been pushing his colleagues to approve the funding needed for the massive reservoir project known as the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), was able to get the project included in this year’s WRDA bill. Shortly after he and Rubio sent their letter to Senate leaders, Nelson took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to pass the bill as soon as possible.
“Right now, in Florida, we are facing a massive environmental and economic crisis,” Nelson said. “If we don’t act soon, I’m afraid there won’t be much of an environment in South Florida left to save. I urge the majority leader to schedule a vote on the WRDA bill as soon as possible, and I urge my colleagues to support the water resources bill when it comes to the floor of the Senate.”