Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Applauds Gov's Focus on Water Quality

Jan 15, 2019
Press Release
Congressman Says Florida’s Future Depends on Clean Water

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan, saying Florida’s economy depends on clean water, today applauded Gov. Ron DeSantis’ early focus on protecting the state’s environment and natural resources.  

“I was pleased to see your administration’s top priorities include efforts to protect Florida’s rich natural resources and address water quality issues plaguing our state,” Buchanan said in a letter to DeSantis. “It was particularly encouraging to see you promote efforts to combat Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), including red tide and denounce offshore oil and gas drilling off the coast of Florida.”

Buchanan also made the case to include efforts to combat red tide in the governor’s newly proposed Blue-Green Algae task force.

“I commend your calls for the establishment of a Blue-Green Algae Taskforce aimed at reducing the impacts of these toxic blooms and encourage you to include efforts to study and mitigate the damaging effects of red tide with equal vigor,” Buchanan said. “Due to the overwhelming environmental damage red tide has inflicted on our coastal communities, Suncoast businesses have reported millions of dollars in lost revenue in the last year alone. In fact, a survey by Visit Sarasota found that a staggering 95 percent of local businesses reported losses related to red tide.”

As co-chair of the Florida delegation, Buchanan said combatting red tide and Harmful Algal Blooms should be a top priority. President Trump recently signed a Buchanan-backed bill providing more than $100 million to combat Harmful Algal Blooms like red tide. In 2018, his proposal to increase funding for red tide research was signed into law.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Governor DeSantis,

I write to congratulate you on your recent inauguration as governor of our great state and look forward to working with you in this new capacity.

I was pleased to see your administration’s top priorities include efforts to protect Florida’s rich natural resources and address water quality issues plaguing our state. It was particularly encouraging to see you promote efforts to combat Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), including red tide and denounce offshore oil and gas drilling off the coast of Florida.

As you know, Florida is a beautiful, vibrant place to live and attracts millions of visitors to our home state every year. That’s why it’s so important that our congressional delegation works together to address any threat to our pristine environment and way of life. However, the recent outbreak of HABs, including the red tide impacting our Suncoast beaches and the blue-green algae ravaging Lake Okeechobee, pose serious threats to our health, marine wildlife and Florida’s economy.

I commend your calls for the establishment of a Blue-Green Algae Taskforce aimed at reducing the impacts of these toxic blooms and encourage you to include efforts to study and mitigate the damaging effects of red tide with equal vigor. Due to the overwhelming environmental damage red tide has inflicted on our coastal communities, Suncoast businesses have reported millions of dollars in lost revenue in the last year alone. In fact, a survey by Visit Sarasota found that a staggering 95 percent of local businesses reported losses related to red tide.

As a longtime opponent of drilling off the coast of Florida, I also look forward to working with you to fight against any attempts to open up our shores and invite the potential for disaster. Floridians know all too well that an oil spill can devastate a regional economy and inflict long-term environmental damage. The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, serves as a painful reminder that Florida’s beaches and economy are at risk even when oil rigs are hundreds of miles away from its shores. 

As the state with the longest coastlines in the continental United States, Florida is especially vulnerable to oil spills. In fact, experts believe we are still years, if not decades, away from fully understanding the extent of the damage from the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010. 

Again, I look forward to working with you on these important issues and finding bipartisan solutions to keep our waters and beaches clean. Our state’s residents and visitors are depending on us.

Sincerely,

Vern Buchanan
Member of Congress