Florida Congressman Wants to Declare State of Emergency for Algal Blooms

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) has announced plans to file a bill that would declare a federal emergency when harmful algal blooms occur as a result of water releases by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Federal Do No Harm Act of 2017 provides federal assistance for disaster cleanup, including the removal of toxic algae from affected waterways.

“The Federal Do No Harm Act will help mitigate destructive algal blooms caused by water releases from Lake Okeechobee,” said Kellie Ralston, Florida Fishery Policy Director of the American Sportfishing Association. “As the Fishing Capital of the World, Florida is full of diverse ecosystems that must be protected. We thank Congressman Mast for prioritizing our state’s natural resources and the many Floridians whose livelihoods depend on clean waters.”

Ralston and Keep Florida Fishing® Director Gary Jennings met with Congressman Mast last week in Stuart to discuss the importance of federal funding for Everglades restoration and how to best expedite restoration projects. Congressman Mast also announced last week that his office is working on four to five bills relating to Everglades restoration.

Keep Florida Fishing, an advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association, represents the interests of the recreational fishing community. Florida has more than 3 million anglers who generate $9.6 billion in economic impact, support more than 128,000 jobs and contribute $53.3 million to Florida conservation efforts through license fees and special taxes on motor boat fuel and equipment.