Tampa Bay Times: Congressional delegation vows to tackle Florida's many water issues
WASHINGTON - Florida's congressional delegation, which stretches from the far left to the far right, has successfully joined together to fight oil drilling efforts. Now the lawmakers are seeking common cause on a broader array of water quality issues facing the state.
A group of Republican and Democratic members met this morning to discuss algae blooms, red tide, Everglades restoration and Apalachicola Bay, even the sewage situation in St. Petersburg.
“Let’s get the politics out of this and make a difference,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, co-chairman of the delegation. “We should be doing all we can to preserve the natural beauty of our state’s beaches and waterways. Coasts, lakes and rivers are key contributors to Florida’s thriving economy and serve as a vital habitat for plants and wildlife.”
It was the first meeting of the delgation this year and members posed questions to officials from the Army Corps and NOAA.
Attending the meeting was Buchanan, Neal Dunn, Gus Bilirakis, Darren Soto, John Rutherford, Francis Rooney, Charlie Crist, Al Lawson, Ted Yoho, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, Brian Mast and Lois Frankel.
"We are a powerful delegation when we united together," Wasserman Schultz said, recalling the effort to fight oil drilling. She and Buchanan are preparing new legislation against drilling.
Buchanan said he wants the group to develop a multi-year plan. "A lot of things have been brushed under the rug for too long and now we need to get a comprehensive vision."