Smith Statement on House Passage of Bill to Mitigate Harmful Algal Blooms

Jun 9, 2014

Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2014 (S. 1254) by voice vote. The bill reauthorizes oceanic and freshwater research activities and improves and streamlines existing activities at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other federal agencies. The bill was passed out of the Science Committee in May with broad bipartisan support.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Harmful algal blooms are a significant problem that affects rivers, lakes, and tidal areas around the country.  Known most often as “red tide,” harmful algae hurts local economies that are dependent on fishing, recreation and tourism. Sometimes referred to as “dead zones,” Hypoxia harms ecosystems and fish populations by decreasing oxygen levels in the water. 

“Our current understanding and response to these problems is inadequate.  In my home state of Texas, red and brown tides often affect our bays and coastlines. This damages tourism, harms our fishing industry and impacts public health. This bill strengthens scientific research about these phenomena, fosters collaboration between federal agencies, states and localities, and advances technological solutions to better understand and respond to outbreaks when they occur. I thank Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio for their work on this legislation.”