Friday, July 15, 2011

House Science Subcommittee Approves Algal Bloom and Dead Zone Research Bill

Yesterday (July 14) the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment unanimously approved on a voice vote H.R. 2484, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2011, sending the measure on to the full committee for consideration.  The legislation authorizes a targeted research plan to improve efforts to monitor, prevent, mitigate and control both marine and fresh water algal blooms and hypoxia.  

The bill was introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (D-MD-1), and has seven co-sponsors.  In commenting on the need for the bill, Harris stressed that “harmful algal blooms affect nearly every State in the U.S., and the complexity in understanding and responding to these events has eclipsed our current research and response structure.”

Among the bill's provisions is one that would establish an Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia consisting of representatives of  the Department of Commerce, EPA, USDA, Interior Department, Navy, NSF, FDA, NASA, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and White House CEQ.  The Task Force would coordinate activities within each agency in carrying out provisions of the Act. 

The bill calls for the Task Force to prepare and submit to Congress within two years a comprehensive research plan and action strategy to address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.

The "Freshwater Program" established under the measure would carry out research on the ecology of freshwater harmful algal blooms, monitor and respond to freshwater harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, estuaries and reservoirs, and work to mitigate and control freshwater harmful algal blooms.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to know that there's a new law that will respond to algae bloom problem, and will give more attention to the hazard that it can cause.