Decades of special-interest driven policy making, including unfettered pollution and toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee, have destroyed the ecology of our waterways and repeatedly turned the Indian River Lagoon into an algae-infested toxic waterway that kills manatees.
In fact, more Florida manatees died in the first three months of 2021 than in all of 2020 and most of the deaths were concentrated in the Indian River Lagoon. Data indicates that a decline in seagrass is starving the manatees to death, which has now been classified as an “Unusual Mortality Event.” There’s little doubt about the cause: toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee kill the seagrass that manatees need to survive.
That is why I just helped introduce a new bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy to protect marine mammals like manatees, dolphins, seals and whales. Our bill, The Marine Mammal Research and Response Act, will provide federal support for efforts to rescue and rehabilitate these mammals while also strengthening efforts to stop this destruction before it’s too late.
I will be fighting to get this bill passed, and as always, fighting to prevent toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee into our community! I will keep you updated on our progress.