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Addressing America’s Toxic Algae Crisis on Every Front

“Florida’s toxic algae crisis is particularly extreme but there are similar situations across the country…”

WASHINGTON —Today, the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation is holding a hearing on the recent upswing in outbreaks of toxic algae nationwide. Collin O’Mara made the following comment in advance of the hearing:

“I just got back from southwest Florida and I was astounded by the carnage – tens of thousands dead fish, dead sea turtles, manatees, and dolphins, closed beaches, and a putrid stench that went on for miles. Florida’s toxic algae crisis is particularly extreme but there are similar situations across the country—in Arkansas, the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake, the Finger Lakes, and elsewhere. Increasing water pollution, poor water management decisions, and warming waters fueled by climate change are exacerbating these outbreaks and creating economic and environmental disasters nationwide.

“If we want to reverse the toll of toxic algae on America’s wildlife and communities, Congress needs to face the problem on every front by strengthening the federal algae task force, keeping Clean Water Act protections strong, expediting Everglades restoration, investing in water infrastructure upgrades and source water protection, confronting climate change, and restoring habitat collaboratively through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.”

Background:

Last September, the Senate passed the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017, sponsored by Senators Nelson, Portman, and Peters, which reauthorized the national harmful algal bloom and hypoxia program. Earlier this month, Congressman Mast introduced a companion bill in the House, reauthorizing and modernizing federal task force efforts to combat harmful algal blooms.

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