Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) released the following statement regarding the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of S. 1254, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act. The legislation reauthorizes a program to monitor and mitigate the harmful impacts of algal blooms on freshwater resources and expands the Task Force within the program to include a representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our Great Lakes and freshwater resources are some of the world’s greatest natural treasures, and we must do everything we can to preserve them for future generations,” said Latta. “The legislation passed today will expand research efforts to monitor and combat the harmful impacts algal blooms have on these freshwater bodies, while also protecting the multi-billion dollar tourism and fishing industries in this region.”
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are excessive growths of poisonous or toxic algae that can cause illness or death in humans, pets, wildlife or food sources, such as fish and shellfish. HABs occur in fresh and marine waters and result in the depletion of oxygen, also known as hypoxia, in the water. Over the past few decades, HABs have resulted in more than $1 billion in costs due to fish kills, human illness, and lost tourism and fisheries revenue.