House Passes Legislation to Combat HAB Impact

Government

SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY DEC 21, 2018

The office of Congressman Vern Buchanan yesterday announced House passage of bipartisan legislation to combat the impact of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), including red tide. The bill now heads to President Trump for his signature. Buchanan, co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, called red tide “a problem that requires more research and development of cutting-edge technologies to mitigate its damaging effects.” 

The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017 was included in the legislation passed yesterday by Congress, providing more than $100 million to combat HABs like red tide. It also establishes a process to declare an “Event of National Significance.” That declaration would trigger disaster-like funding for affected communities. The bill also reauthorizes the Harmful Algal Bloom Federal Interagency Task Force; formally adds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the task force; and permits private donations to be used to fund recovery for events of national significance.

Harmful algae blooms cause $82 million in economic losses to the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries each year in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Buchanan co-sponsored “nearly identical” bipartisan legislation in the House (H.R. 4417) and earlier this summer led a letter with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) urging House leadership to immediately bring this legislation to the floor for a vote. Buchanan and Hastings are co-chairs of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation.

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