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Mack applauds passage of legislation to combat red tide

By Staff | Mar 12, 2010

Connie Mack

Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14) hailed passage of legislation in the House of Representatives today that will authorize $34 million annually in federal funding for research on red tide and other harmful algal blooms.

The legislation also authorizes $7 million annually for freshwater red tide research and establishes a national strategy to oversee regional research and action plans.

Mack, an original cosponsor of the legislation, said “Southwest Florida has been battling the harmful health, economic, and environmental effects of red tide for decades. Today, red tide outbreaks are more and more frequent, and for a region like Southwest Florida that depends on its beautiful beaches for tourism, the potential economic losses can be crippling.

“There is a lot of research being done on the causes of red tide, but we must ensure that the research is peer-reviewed and not duplicative. We must also ensure that these programs are accountable, and that’s why this legislation requires a report be submitted to Congress detailing the action plans.

“Red tide is not a Florida problem; it is a national problem with far-reaching implications for the health of our oceans, lakes and waterways. I’m pleased the House has moved forward on this vital issue and passed this bill today, and I hope the Senate will vote on it soon so we can start implementing a hard-hitting plan to combat red tide.”

Mack is a leader in Congress on the red tide issue. In the 110th Congress, language from his Save Our Shores Act was incorporated into the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The bill authorized $90 million over a three-year period for research on red tide and other harmful algal blooms. Mack continues to fight for fully funding federal red tide research.

Specifically, the bill that passed today, H.R. 3650, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act, would establish a National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program, under the auspices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to develop and implement a national strategy and oversee the development and implementation of regional research and action plans. The regional plans will be developed based on existing research and reports, and the program will be authorized at $34 million annually.

The legislation now awaits further action in the Senate.

Video of Mack’s floor speech on the bill can be found at www.youtube.com/RepConnieMack.