Senate bill to help with algae crisis passes first hurdle


A bill proposed by Senator Bill Nelson passed the Senate panel would make federal funds available to asses and help with the environmental, economic, social, and pubic health effects of the toxic algae crisis. 


“It would be a huge help for me and just the way of life here in Florida,” Giles Murphy with Stuart Angler said. “I’m sure business will pick up more and more as the eco system in our river gets better.”


The bill still has to pass the full senate and the house. Congressman Brian Mast told NewsChannel 5 in a statement:


"Senator Nelson's bill and my Federal Do No Harm Act share the same goal: to get federal aid for areas on the Treasure Coast hit hard by toxic algae.  The federal government has played a big role in this problem and it's unacceptable that they aren't taking responsibility for the damage.  I look forward to working with our Senators to tackle this issue."


The toxic algae crisis has left a mark on the environment and on those depending on the water for their business. 


“Last year’s algae crisis definitely impacted business like 10 fold,” Murphy said. “The water right now looks incredible. It’s crystal clear water. I can guarantee you it will happen again this year. “t’s become like the normal now to have this water crisis.”


Michael Conner with the grassroots organization Bullsugar said that’s why more needs to be done. 


“Last year was unprecedented,” Conner said. “We had 10 months of discharge (from the dike).”


He said he is hopeful after Senate Bill 10 passed and was signed by the Governor last week.


“That bill was going to create a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to take on the excess water from the Herbert Hoover dike,” Conner said. 


To create that reservoir will take around 10 years. In the meantime, businesses on the Treasure Coast are hoping they can survive another algae crisis. 


“The question is whether or not I want to go through that, not making much profit at all,” Murphy said. 









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