BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A state representative from Brevard County is pursuing legislation to require Port Canaveral to pay to help restore the ailing Indian River Lagoon.
- State Rep. Sirois pushes legislation for Indian River Lagoon restoration
- Funds would go to the IRL National Estuary Program
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This is on top of the half-cent sales tax referendum passed by voters in 2016.
Florida District 51 Rep. Tyler Sirois' district encompasses the port area.
He said he is asking the question on the heels of a record revenue year for Port Canaveral. Could they do more to help the lagoon's plight?
The idea isn't sitting too well with port officials.
One of them who attended Thursday's announcement said port commissioners were told about the idea one day earlier on Wednesday.
"This legislation would require the port to invest 2 percent of gross revenue to lagoon restoration over the next 30 years," Sirios said.
Brevard-area mayors said the aim is to add to the Port District's Charter a section on environmental impact.
Based on Port Canaveral's record breaking $103 million revenue year in 2018, that would mean the potential to invest $61 million over 30 years toward restoring the polluted Indian River Lagoon.
The funds would go to the IRL National Estuary Program, which is tasked with cleaning up the waterway.
"The Canaveral Port Authority can, if it so chooses, take bold action towards restoring and protecting this valuable natural resource," Sirios said.
He said this idea is intended to spark discussion with port leaders and the responsibility they have in contributing to the lagoon's condition.
Commissioner Wayne Justice says they were just told about it Wednesday.
"If the issue is about supporting the lagoon, we are happy to do it." Justice said. "If the issue is another tax on my constituents, that's a different issue. There are ways to do things, and we will see how this shakes out."
"My message to the port today is clear -- help fix the lagoon," Sirios said.
Sirios said he will ask Brevard-area cities and the county commission to endorse his proposal in the coming weeks.
He will be attending the Canaveral Port Authority Commission meeting on August 28 to talk more about it.