SCHUMER CALLS ON HOUSE TO PASS BIPARTISAN PLAN TO COMBAT DANGEROUS TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS, LIKE THOSE FOUND ACROSS UPSTATE NEW YORK; FEDERAL TASK FORCE COULD DELIVER FED FUNDS TO CLEAN NY WATERS—BUT IT REQUIRES HOUSE TO ACT; PLAN SETS ASIDE UP TO $110 MILLION TO PROTECT LAKES, PONDS—AND DRINKING WATER
Just As Harmful Algae Has Been Detected In Over 60 Bodies of Water In New York State, Federal Program That Delivers Resources To Help Fight Problem Needs Authorization; Blooms Could Contaminate Drinking Water & Put Recreational Activities At Risk
Schumer Says If Bipartisan Plan, Which Has Already Passed The Senate, Passes The House, Upstate New York Would Be Eligible For More Resources’ To Combat Threat To People & Environment
Schumer: Senate Has Done Its Part, House Must Pass Bill So We Can Better Fight Blooms In Upstate New York
On the heels of reports confirming that harmful algae continues to spread across Upstate New York, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today called on the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass the “Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 2017.” Schumer says the bill, which recently passed the Senate would help combat the recent rise in toxic algae found across Upstate New York, including Owasco and Skaneateles Lake. Schumer warned that, if left unchecked, these toxic blooms could not only harm household pets but could contaminate drinking water for Upstate New York residents, as well as damage the local economy dependent on fishing and recreation.
“Congress must swiftly act and approve the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act which would provide assistance to communities across Upstate New York to help combat dangerous algae and bloom spreads,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “Now that the Senate has passed this bill, we are counting on our colleagues in the House to do the same. This vital legislation will help protect marine life, bays, estuaries and drinking water while continuing to seek out new dollars and resources exclusively for Upstate New York. These toxic blooms not only threaten our ecosystems and public health, but also hurt the local economy by closing beaches and limiting recreational activities. New York’s waterways, including drinking water from Owasco and Skaneateles Lake, need access to the resources this bill provides in order to research and respond to toxic algae more effectively. That’s why I am making a push to get this legislation across the finish line and spread more dollars and researchers to Upstate New York to fight the blooms.”
Due to a number of factors, including nitrogen pollution as a result of older wastewater systems, the amount of phosphorous in waterways throughout New York has increased: in recent years, causing large algal blooms to grow in the water. Experts say climate change has also brought warmer temperatures and more spring rainfall, both of which favor the growth of algae blooms. According to the EPA, red tides, blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, harmful algal blooms have severe impacts on human, health, aquatic ecosystems and the economy.
Schumer said that the bill, sponsored by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), provides funding, but also a research and response framework to combat Blue Green Algal bloom outbreaks throughout the country. Specifically, the bill would authorize $22 million a year for 5 years (2019-2023) to help conduct research on harmful algal blooms and continue an interagency working group to advance the understanding of hypoxia and harmful algal blooms. Additionally, the bill requires the task force submit a scientific assessment to Congress at least every five years of harmful algal blooms in U.S. coastal waters and freshwater systems. Schumer says these kinds of dollars and resources, once enshrined in the law, should be used to help combat the rise of algal blooms in Upstate New York.
Recently, Schumer announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has