09.18.17

SCHUMER PUSHES BIPARTISAN PLAN TO COMBAT DANGEROUS TOXIC ALGAE SPREADS LIKE THOSE FOUND IN UPSTATE NEW YORK; FEDERAL TASK FORCE COULD DELIVER FED FUNDS TO UPSTATE NEW YORK WATERS—BUT IT REQUIRES CONGRESS TO ACT; PLAN SETS ASIDE UP TO $100 MILLION TO PROTECT MARINE LIFE, BAYS, ESTUARIES—AND DRINKING WATER

Senator Pushes For Federal Program That Delivers Resources & Money To Help Fight Problem Needs Reauthorization; Blooms Could Contaminate Drinking Water & Put Recreational Activities At Risk, Prompting Schumer To Push A Plan That Could Mean New Help & Resources For Upstate NY

Schumer Says If Bipartisan Plan Can Pass, Upstate New York Would Be Eligible For More Resources To Combat Enviro Threat To People & Environment

Schumer: If We Pass This Plan, We Can Better Fight Blooms In Upstate New York

On the heels of reports confirming that harmful algae in bays and estuaries continues to spread throughout Upstate New York, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called on Congress to quickly pass the “Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act.” Schumer says the bill would help combat the recent rise in toxic algae found in Upstate New York. And Schumer warned, that left unchecked, these toxic blooms could contaminate drinking water for Upstate New York residents, as well as damage the local economy dependent on fishing and recreation

“Knowing there is a federal effort that requires the approval of Congress to help Upstate New York combat dangerous algae and bloom spreads demands an effort to act,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “If we pass this plan, we 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. Waterways throughout the country, including those in Upstate New York, 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 US 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. 

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