WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II applauded House approval this week of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2013, legislation that reduces red tape and eliminates delays in U.S. Army Corps projects, expands the roles of private companies in water infrastructure, and strengthens the global competitiveness of America’s maritime transportation. The WRRDA bill also includes Southerland’s provision to jumpstart talks between Florida, Georgia and Alabama on the devastating impact of decreased water flows on Apalachicola Bay.
“This common sense water resources bill is a big step forward for Florida’s maritime industries,” Southerland said. “Our 15 deepwater ports will be better positioned to accept large ships in 2015 as a result of the Panama Canal expansion and capitalize on the tremendous economic growth opportunities that come with it. I am also pleased that the full House adopted my provision urging regional tri-state negotiations to save Apalachicola Bay’s oystermen and small businesses from the devastating impact of unchecked water withdrawals in metro Atlanta.”
Also regarding Franklin County’s oyster fishery, Southerland applauded Florida Governor Rick Scott for requesting on Wednesday an Economic Injury Declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Franklin County small businesses that have been crippled as a result of the region’s commercial oyster fishery failure.
“I appreciate Governor Scott’s tireless efforts to strengthen Franklin County’s economy, specifically its once-thriving oyster industry. An Economic Injury Declaration through the SBA would be a critical step forward for local small businesses that are struggling to survive in the wake of our commercial oyster fishery failure. I look forward to continuing working with the Governor to get our oystermen and hardworking families in Franklin County back on their feet.”