U.S. Rep. Castor’s Statement on the Threat to Florida’s Environment and Economy Under Pres. Trump’s Budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14), elected officials, activists and experts stood together on the shore of Tampa Bay on the seven-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, to speak out in strong opposition to President Trump’s elimination of the Tampa Bay Estuary program, clean water, clean air and NOAA coastal resource initiatives under his proposed budget.

“President Trump’s budget cuts will be devastating to Florida’s environment and economy.  We intend to fight to protect what makes Florida special and drives our economy: clean and healthy beaches and a beautiful Tampa Bay,” said U.S. Rep. Castor.  They warned that slashing clean water protection would undercut the progress that the City of Tampa and other communities have made over decades in cleaning up Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

“Tampa Bay water quality has improved greatly thanks to the National Estuary Program and efforts to recover bay seagrasses and end harmful pollutant runoff.  Our neighbors and tourists love to go fishing and sailing on Tampa Bay, but that’s at risk under Trump,” said U.S. Rep. Castor, referencing President Trump’s proposed 31 percent budget cut to clean water, clean air and coastal research under the Environmental Protection Agency and NOAA that send support back to state and local communities.

With both the Cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg struggling in recent years to address stormwater and sewage backups caused by heavy rains, members of both city councils – Harry Cohen and Guido Maniscalco of Tampa, and Steve Kornell of St. Petersburg – argued that local efforts not be undermined per Trump’s proposed cuts.  In addition, Councilman Maniscalco serves on the Tampa Bay Estuary Policy Board.  Councilman Kornell served on the same for seven years and explained that the Tampa Bay Estuary Program brings together policymakers, scientists as well as the business community on ways to preserve and improve our environment and maintain our economy.

“The Tampa Bay Estuary Policy Board is a success on every level.  The business community has been at the table … In an era that is so divided, this program has brought so many people together and cutting it should never be considered,” Councilman Kornell said.

In addition, Dr. David Hollander, Professor of Chemical Oceanography and the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, called for members of Congress and the White House to stop rejecting science: “I hope, through U.S. Rep. Castor’s work, science can gain a better foothold [in Congress] and help in making better informed policy decisions.”

Many of Florida’s top environmental advocates, including Frank Jackalone, Director of the Florida Sierra Club; Jennifer Rubiello, State Director of Environment Florida; Doug DeNeve, Conservation Chair of the Tampa Audubon Society; and Rachel Arndt, Communications Manager of Tampa Bay Watch, were on hand to stand up for clean water, clean air and Florida’s closely linked economy.

Since its unveiling, U.S. Rep. Castor has been outspoken about President Trump’s proposed budget and its threats to Florida’s economy and jobs.  President Trump’s budget will force the EPA to abandon its commitment to public health and environmental protection, and instead supposedly shift regulatory duties to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a state agency that has been gutted by more than 600 employees under Gov. Rick Scott.  Castor serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the top environmental committees in the Congress, with jurisdiction over EPA, the Department of Energy and NOAA.

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