The Florida Congressional Delegation will meet in Washington next week to discuss water issues challenging the state.
Reps. Vern Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, jointly announced the 29-member state Delegation will hear from many of Florida’s leading voices on the environment.
“Florida relies on clean water and white sandy beaches to support our economy and our way of life,” Buchanan said. “I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panelists about how we can best address the state’s water issues. It’s essential that Florida’s bipartisan congressional delegation work together to maintain Florida’s natural resources while also protecting our economy and our environment for generations to come.”
The delegation will convene in the Rayburn building on Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Wesley Brooks, the federal affairs director for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will attend.
So will Col. James Booth, district commander for the Jacksonville District of the Army Corps of Engineers. Booth just recently took over at the district and comes on as the Army Corps considers an update to the discharge schedule as part of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual.
In non-governmental testimony, Mote Marine Laboratory President and CEO Dr. Michael Crosby will also speak to the delegation. The Sarasota-based institution, headquartered in Buchanan’s congressional district, have received millions in federal funding to study red tide in the Gulf of Mexico.
And Michael Messmer, federal policy manager for Oceana, will also speak. The national group formed in 1999 after a nonprofit study found that less than 0.5% of all resources spent by environmental nonprofit groups in the United States went to ocean advocacy.
As for subject matter, red tide research, Everglades restoration, offshore oil drilling and wildlife conservation all have a place on the agenda. Members of the delegation this year have focused on harmful algae blooms, manatees’ place on the endangered species list and other water quality issues on a number of fronts.