Update on Harmful Algal Blooms - from Elected Representative - Hoey Team โ˜˜ eXp

Dated: May 15 2019

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In 2018, Florida’s waterways were afflicted with a serious outbreak of toxic algae. These harmful algal boom outbreaks trigger major health concerns, cripple our local economy, generate property damage, and inflict serious environmental destruction. Fixing our water quality and mitigating the effects of toxic algal blooms has been one of my top priorities in Congress.


At the start of the new Congress in January, I introduced legislation that would amend the Stafford Act to include algal blooms in the definition of a “natural disaster.” This change would position FEMA to intervene after an algae break and provide disaster relief funding.


Just last month, I asked the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to provide information on the short and long-term health effects related to exposure to harmful algal blooms. It is imperative that we understand the health impacts of these algal blooms. Currently, the CDC lists the following as related illnesses from algal blooms: respiratory irritation, shortness of breath, throat irritation, eye irritation, skin irritation, and nose irritation.


One of the contributing factors of toxic algae growth is glyphosate-based herbicides. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) applied these herbicides in waterways across the state to manage invasive plant growth. To better monitor the application of these contributing herbicides, I sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking them to work alongside these agencies until a final decision has been reached pending a statewide review of these herbicides.


Just this week I hosted a roundtable with federal, state, and local officials including CDC, NOAA, EPA, and Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss issues related to harmful algal blooms and how we can better address the damaging impacts. It is important for all levels of government to discuss, communicate, and work together to mitigate and prevent these harmful algal blooms.


This ongoing issue has been affecting our area for decades. The health of our Southwest Florida economy depends on clean water quality. I will continue to fight for the resources we need to fix our water quality and help to better prepare our community for any future harmful algal blooms.

Article from Congressman Francis Rooney Newsletter 05/13/2019

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