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Florida Senate sets aside $3 million for Piney Point clean-up

State lawmakers voted to amend the state's budget to include money for a permanent fix for Piney Point.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — State lawmakers are setting aside $3 million to clean up Piney Point as part of the state budget.

The Florida Senate amended the budget on Wednesday, providing a path for the remediation process following the crisis at the former phosphate plant in Manatee County that has resulted in wastewater pouring into Tampa Bay. The rest of the up to $200 million needed for the project will come from the state's share of federal funds in the American Rescue Plan. Sen. Kelli Stargel told senators the state expects to receive up to $10 Billion from the stimulus plan.

Sen. Darryl Rouson, who once represented Manatee County in the state House and now represents neighboring St. Petersburg in the Florida Senate, says fixing this is in the best interest of the Bay area. He co-sponsored the budget amendment with Senator Jim Boyd.   

“This nutrient-laden water spilling out near Piney Point has serious implications to the fragile environment that represents Tampa Bay, and the funds that we are appropriating will start us on a pathway to cleaning up what has been recognized as a true mess. We can not stand idly by while this environmental hazard is dealt with,” Rouson said.

“This is a fix for private property, and now we are essentially stuck taking care of this, and I think a lot of people want to point a finger at Mosaic, but this is not a Mosaic property. This never was. But this is an issue. And I think we’ll have to take a look at what’s happening here for the future and some more of these areas,” said Sen. Janet Cruz of Hillsborough County. 

She visited the property Tuesday along with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and says she was astounded with what she saw there.

Click here for live updates on the Piney Point emergency.

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