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Vote expected Tuesday on Mast legislation to reduce toxic discharges

Congressman Brian Mast talks about Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris. (WPEC)

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to debate and vote Tuesday afternoon on the final version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which includes several provisions written by Rep. Brian Mast to protect clean water in Florida.

These provisions include reducing toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee, expediting construction of the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir and developing new technology to combat harmful algal blooms.

Toxic discharges have impacted Florida’s coastal communities for many years, including recent discharges that have tested more than 60 times more toxic than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for human contact, according to a news release from Mast's office.

These discharges put public health at risk, damage the economy and destroy the environment, the release stated.

Mast has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency 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, a release from Mast stated.

Mast’s provisions in this year’s Water Resources Development Act mandate that the Army Corps must seek to reduce discharges from Lake Okeechobee, combat harmful algal blooms and accelerate construction of the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir all with the goal of protecting Floridian’s public health, our economy and our environment.