Congress approves funding for research on toxic algae
Congress has authorized $82 million for new research aimed at controlling toxic algae outbreaks. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., sponsored the bill. The Senate agreed Tuesday to a House amendment to the bill.
Nelson said the legislation will "help battle the algae that's been choking off life in Florida's waterways," causing economic, environmental and health problems for state residents.
This bill was passed by Congress on June 17, 2014 and goes to the President next. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 19, 2014 (Passed Congress/Enrolled Bill).
Link to the complete bill
Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013 - (Sec. 3) Amends the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 to revise the membership requirements for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia to require the Task Force to have a representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The bill requires that the follow guidelines and standards be met:
(Sec. 4) Requires the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, acting through the Task Force, to: (1) establish maintain, and periodically review a national harmful algal bloom and hypoxia program, and (2) develop and submit to Congress a comprehensive research plan and action strategy to address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.
Establishes additional Task Force functions, including: (1) expediting the interagency review process; and (2) promoting the development of new technologies for predicting, monitoring, and mitigating harmful algal bloom and hypoxia conditions.
Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to have primary responsibility in administering the Program.
Establishes the Under Secretary's duties, including administering merit-based, competitive grant funding to: (1) maintain and enhance baseline monitoring programs established by the Program, (2) support the Program's projects, and (3) address the research and management needs and the Action Strategy's priorities.
Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to: (1) research the ecology and impacts of freshwater harmful algal blooms; (2) forecast and monitor event response to freshwater harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, estuaries, and reservoirs; and (3) ensure that activities carried under this Act focus on new approaches to addressing freshwater harmful algal blooms and are not duplicative of existing research and development programs authorized by this Act or any other law.
Requires the collection of monitoring and observation data under this Act to comply with all data standards and protocols developed pursuant to the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009.
(Sec. 7) Requires the Administrator, through the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, to report to appropriate congressional committees and the President on the progress made by activities directed by the Task Force and carried out or funded by EPA and other state and federal partners toward attainment of the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008 within 12 months after this Act's enactment and biennially thereafter.
(Sec. 8) Requires the Task Force to: (1) submit within 18 months to Congress and the President an integrated assessment that examines the causes, consequences, and approaches to reduce hypoxia and harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes; and (2) develop and submit to Congress a plan, based on such assessment, for reducing, mitigating, and controlling such hypoxia and blooms.
(Sec. 11) Authorizes the departments and agencies represented on the Task Force to participate in interagency financing and share, transfer, receive, obligate, and expend funds appropriated to any member of the Task Force for the purposes of carrying out the Act.