Congress approves funding to battle toxic algae in Caloosahatchee River

Lawmakers Tuesday gave final passage to a bill aimed at battling toxic algae outbreaks which dirty, discolor and choke off life in the Caloosahatchee River and estuary around Fort Myers…

The legislation, authored by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), okays the use of $82 million for new research into the causes and control of large algae blooms while also giving affected communities additional resources to respond when outbreaks occur.

“This will help battle the algae that’s been choking off life in Florida’s waterways,” Nelson said. “At the end of the day, this will be good for the environment and the economy.”

Its expected President Obama will sign the measure into law. Nelson successfully ushered the bill through the Senate Commerce Committee and it passed the full Senate earlier this year. The House then added some amendments to the bill before approving it last week, so a second Senate approval was required for final passage.

Its passage comes just one week after the president signed into law a broader water resources bill that contains some $800 million Nelson sought for Everglades restoration projects on the Caloosahatchee.

Together, the two measures are aimed at reducing harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee from Lake Okeechobee during the rainy season and at controlling outbreaks of algae that have had negative economic, environmental and health impacts.


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