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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

A Big Win for Florida Fishing

January 21, 2016
Bilirakis Blog

In our home state of Florida, water is a pretty big deal. We all know about the many benefits our bodies of waters provide to our communities. What you may not know, is that Congress recently took a stand to protect our waters.

Last November, the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved the Microbead-Free Waters Act, legislation that would begin the phase out of plastic microbeads from personal care products. These are the tiny, nearly invisible plastic beads that are found in various soaps, toothpastes, scrubs, and even shampoos. Microbeads are known to absorb pollutants and are often mistaken as food by fish and other wildlife. These beads easily make their way down our drains and into our lakes, rivers, and waters.

These small microbeads pose a huge threat to our nation’s waters and this seemingly small bill will have a huge impact in safeguarding our waters from pollution.

In the Energy and Commerce Committee, we worked with the cosmetic industry and local and state representatives to draft a bipartisan, common sense bill that would encourage collaboration and simplify the regulations and requirements for manufacturers. This legislation provides clear regulations for easy compliance and prevents the use of harmful materials without burdening manufacturers and businesses.

This is also a big win for the fishing industries and recreational fisheries in Florida communities. Fishing plays a huge role in my district and I’m proud to help fishermen continue to work in a safer, cleaner environment.

I’m proud to have worked on this important legislation, in a bipartisan manner, to protect our waters, wildlife, and communities.

This bipartisan bill was quickly advanced through the House and Senate and made its way to the President’s desk before the holidays.

Late last month, the President signed the bill into law. In the Washington culture of party lines and “grid-lock” we managed to get a big win for water. In the new year, this momentum will build.