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Bill To Protect Public Health

PRIORITIZING PUBLIC HEALTH
We know that the Army Corps of Engineers’ current priorities for managing Lake Okeechobee and Florida’s waterways aren’t working. For years, their outdated operational priorities have exposed communities to toxic water and threatened the public health of communities across Florida.
Here’s what we know:
  • The EPA has confirmed that the water in Lake Okeechobee (and water discharged to our coasts) is frequently unsafe for human contact.
  • Last summer, discharged water tested more than 60 times too toxic to touch in Stuart.
  • Toxic algae - like that found frequently in Florida’s waterways - can cause nausea, vomiting, liver disease, ALS, Alzheimer’s and even death.
  • Last week, algae considered too toxic for contact was again discovered in Lake Okeechobee, and as a result, experts are concerned that the fish caught on the lake may not be safe to eat.
Today I introduced the PROTECT Florida Act, which would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finally prioritize the public health of every person in our state.
This bill will require the Army Corps to:
  • Minimize the potential of toxic cyanobacteria and other harmful algal blooms;
  • Prevent discharges containing cyanobacteria or related toxins into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee watersheds, downstream users, and any other area where it would exacerbate public health risks;
  • Ensure the integrity and stability of the Herbert Hoover Dike;
  • Make sure necessary water volume and quality reaches the Everglades, Tribal lands, Everglades National Park, Florida Bay and Caloosahatchee Watershed to restore the natural habitat.
We cannot allow this to man-made human health crisis to continue any longer. We absolutely should not tolerate this mismanagement of Florida’s waterways that results in putting people’s lives at risk. Everybody’s health and safety has to be prioritized, plain and simple, and that’s exactly what this bill will do.

 

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1650 S Kanner Highway
Stuart, FL 34994

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