U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today introduced legislation to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon. This legislation would make it illegal for the Army Corps of Engineers to discharge water containing algal blooms with a level of toxicity above the Environmental Protection Agency’s human health standard of 8 parts per billion microcystin.
“The Army Corps has proven that if left to their own devices, they will continue to poison our communities with toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee that they have acknowledged to be toxic. No Floridian should tolerate being poisoned by their government,” Rep. Mast said. “The EPA has told us exactly what level of microcystin is too toxic for human contact, and now we must tell the Corps to stop these discharges that are destroying our waterways and putting our health at risk!”
The legislation is supported by Captains For Clean Water and Friends of the Everglades.
For decades, Florida’s coastal communities have been on the receiving end of toxic discharges, including recently discharges that have tested more than 60 times more toxic than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for human contact. These discharges put public health at risk, damage the economy and destroy the environment. Last year, Rep. Mast worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a new public health standard for microcystin (8 parts per billion), which in turn forced the Army Corps of Engineers to admit to knowingly discharging toxic water to the coastal estuaries. Despite acknowledging that these releases are toxic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has continued to poison Americans.
The legislation is can be found HERE.