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Politics

Congress Passes Bill to Provide $100 Million for Harmful Algal Blooms, Red Tide Fight

December 20, 2018 - 4:45pm

Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan on Thursday applauded House passage of bipartisan legislation to combat the devastating impact of harmful algal blooms (HABs), including red tide. The bill now heads to President Trump for his signature.

“Red tide has plagued our local economy, environment, and way of life,” Buchanan said in a written statement. “I urge the president to swiftly sign this bill into law.” 
 
Buchanan, co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, worked with three other Florida congressmen, Alcee Hastings, Bill Posey and Brian Mast, to get the bill passed. 

"Red tide is a problem that requires more research and development of cutting-edge technologies to mitigate its damaging effects," Buchanan continued.

The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017 was included in the legislation passed Thursday by Congress, providing more than $100 million to combat HABs like red tide. It also establishes a process to declare an “Event of National Significance.” That declaration would trigger disaster-like funding for affected communities.

The bill also reauthorizes the Harmful Algal Bloom Federal Interagency Task Force; formally adds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the task force; and permits private donations to be used to fund recovery for events of national significance, according to Buchanan's statement.

Harmful algae blooms cause $82 million in economic losses to the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries each year in the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) claims.

Buchanan co-sponsored nearly identical bipartisan legislation in the House (H.R. 4417) and earlier this summer wrote a letter with Democrat Hastings urging House leadership to immediately bring this legislation to the floor for a vote. Buchanan and Hastings are co-chairs of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation.

Separate legislation signed into law earlier this year included Buchanan’s proposal to provide NOAA with an additional $8 million to reduce the threat of algal blooms, including red tide.

Comments

MagneGas!!! Problem solved!

Magnegas would be great in helping resolve the issue of Red tide!

HAVE ANY OF YOU HEARD OF MAGNEGAS? THEY CAN FIX THIS PROBLEM!

These discussions are getting quite too politically based. None of us were here one thousand years ago to know the extent of red-tide at that time. But we DO know that there were NO PHOSPHATE SPILLS one thousand years ago. Therefore , mitigate the spills ( including Lake O discharges, etc.) and the water quality should return to it's natural state. POA: Legislate reasonable agriculture reductions/protections, residential and golf course fertilizer management and septic system inspections , back-pumping limitations, protect remaining natural shorelines,restore oyster bed filtration and implement any and all other methods. All of these proposal locations should be measured at baseline before construction so that their actual efficacy can be measured scientifically when functional. Pollutant limits should be set for agricultural,industrial and residential properties, and $$$ FINES $$$ set that would be high enough to motivate violators to correct their ways. Agencies should publish who the violators are, so the public can pressure them to modify their behavior. Fines collected should be used to create additional mitigation in that locale. Honestly, I am ready to relocate to another state if this water quality issue is not resolved ASAP.

With less than 80% of the oyster beds we had just 200 years ago, man made issues are exacerbated by the lack of a great natural filter mechanism. If we work on restoring living shorelines we could do a lot of good. In fact just 5 linear miles of oyster bed can filter the entire Lake Okeechobee in just one year. Nature has a way of fixing things on her own, but this time she needs a push from us.

Enlist the help of local fishing clubs and guides. I'm not sure how the re-establishment of oyster beds works, but I've seen video of people placing net bags of oyster shells around locations. My idea would be to coordinate with the clubs and guides /or at the boat ramps frequented by flats fisherman and their shallow water craft to deliver the juvenile oyster sacks to the proposed areas. The 'drop locations' could be stacked out in advance. I believe most anglers in South Florida would gladly support and participate in this type of project to enhance the water quality.

Greed and Political corruption have built a corrupt process allowing a couple of industries in Florida unbridled pursuit of profit while gutting most of the rest of the economy that rely on tourism, realestate the hospitality industry, etc. It isn't just Lake O runoff. The creeks, steams, rivers and harbors of Florida's West Coast serve as the Phosphate Industry's drain field into the Gulf of Mexico. This has been allowed for 130 years now- it is why Phosphate giant, MOSAIC donates to MOTE Marine (Doing the Red Tide study for the state of Florida), or why environmental looking groups like Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program never really has advocated on behalf of Charlotte Harbor against Phosphate. Even though (By there own industry count) there have been 30 Phosphate Spills in the Peace River since 1930. The 1971 spill, according to a State of Florida biologist (in a 1972 legal proceeding) said that phosphate spill killed greater than 90% of the fish in the 106 mile long Peace River (A year after the state re-stocked it because of the previous spill in 1967. I witnessed both of those spills you could have walked across the river behind my house on dying or dead fish for a month, had they supported your weight. I still live on the river - MOSAIC is allowed to monitor their own discharge - classic Fox guarding the Hen House approach. One day someone will show the link with Phosphate Discharge - of course it will end their career because it isn't in the best interest of the crooked politicians and industries that are coming closer to killing humans because of tainted drinking water (MOSAIC dumped 250 Million Gallons or toxic "slightly" radioactive waste into our aquifer in the Mulberry 2015 Sink Hole incident). To some of us who pay attention, a worsening Red Tide after the May Rains we experienced equates to phosphate runoff - when you see Water Authorities taking monitoring stations off line and then see non-typical species dying (attributed to red tide) like Whale Sharks, Sea Turtles, Dolphin, Sea Birds. Etc. Here's a piece of a great of an article that indicates how long the Phosphate industry has worked to suppress the connection between Phosphate discharge and worsening red tides. RED TIDE-LIKE AREA IS SPOTED IN GULF Sarasota Herald-Tribune (January 12, 1972) By DAVE BROWN Herald-Tribune Staff Writer A discoloration that gives the appearance of being an outbreak of red tide was spotted Monday in the Gulf of Mexico southeast of Venice. Its sudden appearance had been predicted by Venice City Councilman Frank Walther following a massive phosphate spill in the Peace River last month. The River empties into the Gulf. Councilman Joseph Tucker said he ran into the fish-killing organism about 20 miles out from Venice Inlet. For five miles, Tucker said, he crossed strips of red tide, 15-20 feet wide, which ran for as far as he could see. Councilman Walter, who said he also had heard reports of the red tide, blamed the Peace River phosphate spill for the condition. Walter, who said he did work on the subject with the Miami Marine Laboratory in 1951, said overfertilizing the organism with phosphate can cause it to “grow hundreds to thousands of times its normal size.” “Whenever there is a discharge of phosphate into the Gulf, we lave a red tide,” said Walther, who said he has been observing the phenomena since 1934. According to Walther, there is an eddy, or small current, that sweeps out of Charlotte Harbor and up the coast to Clearwater. This eddy carries with it phosphate laden water which will feed the tide and cause it to grow in size. Councilman Tucker said he spotted what he thinks is red tide in an area northwest of Charlotte Harbor, drifting from southeast to northwest. A sample of the suspected substance will have to be taken and then be analyzed by a marine laboratory before positive identification can be made. The red tide is an organism which robs the water of oxygen, often causing massive marine life kills. Last year thousands of residents and visitors were sent scampering from Gulf beaches by the odor of tons of dead fish washed ashore. January is early in the season for the organism. *

MageGas has a very unique CHEMICAL FREE sterilization process that would be a perfect solution for this if they can scale up one of their units and they are in the heart of Florida. Check them out!

MagneGas is actively working a solution now hopefully they can get some of that money!

Upstream fixes are needed. Stop the nutrients and the effects of red tide will be limited.

Stop it at the source. Usually “big business” must change their ways.

Not so sure the Army Corp of Engineers is an asset here. Permit private donations? More and more us being put on the backs of the little guy...guessing only those directly affected are likely going to contribute... Mitigate damaging effects...? hopefully implementing processess to reduce the cause...excess nutrient from sewage spills, biosolids use as fertilzers, fertilizers in general, over development, spraying glyphosate on waterways, killing vegetation that absorbs nutrients, banning phosphate mining , banning farming in areas directly in contact with Lake O watershed ( honestly most of SWFL due to water table, elevation above sea level and our seasonal heavy rains), maybe even letting everglades return to natural state, yup, some people will be relocated.....draining, filling and building on a river is not smart..hence my first statement...among other things the ACoE has failed at

Yes, let it return to its natural state.

I totally agree. Mitigate? How about preventing added causes?

This is not naturally occurring. It is man made disaster. Until the pollution source will not stopped such as the Okeechobee lake discharge and unlimited wastes dumping by mining fracking and oil companies into Gulf the environment pollution will continue.

Crappy over-development of Florida with no concern for environmental impacts and this is what you get. A shortage of drinking water will be next. The $100 million should go as a down-payment towards wastewater treatment and desalinization plants.

MagneGas is working on upscaling wastewater sterilization systems right now.

You are correct, with one of the worlds largest aquifers under us!

I lived on the West Coast of Florida for more than 20 years. The red tide was a naturally occuring phenomena, however, it NEVER wreaked the havoc that it does now. When satellite imaging shows the contaminated water released from the Everglades/Lake Okochobee area into the Gulf of Mexico immediately preceeding one of the worst episodes fo "Red Tide" in Florida history you know there is causal relationship. We swam in the Gulf during Red Tide with no problem. In all of my time living by the water there were no respiratory problems, thousands of dead marine life or any of the things that we are seeing now. Back in the 19060s we did not have air conditioning and there was no pervasive or caustic odor. Like so many things, a natural mild occurrence has been worsened by Man. It is time to bring an end to policies that have taken a horrific toll on the West Coast from Ft. Myers to Pensacola!

So the next question is what university gets the $100,000,000.00 to perpetuate the leftist agenda under the guise of the public good. In the end they will only tell us it is a naturally occurring phenomena (bacteria) that is able to proliferate in warm waters with low turbidity. I think we've got that already.

Well, since John is so smart ;( Tell us how a red tide is due to bacteria? DId you Faux news feed you that crrap?

Red Tide is in fact in-part fed by the polluted waters coming from Lake Okeechobee. When the ACOE releases water from Lake O into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers, this pollution flows out into the Atlantic and Gulf. And it is the nutrients and blue-green algae which originate in Lake O which feed the Red Tide. Another name for blue-green algae is cyanobacteria, as they are not really algae, but are in fact bacteria, many strains of which are quite toxic. However, studies have shown that once dead, these bacteria and other nutrients (fertilizer) in the water in large quantities are very likely the reason for the vast blooms of Red Tide we saw this year. Red Tide in much smaller size blooms are a natural occurrence off Florida coasts, but there is little doubt that without the nutrients we are dumping into the Ocean and Gulf on an ongoing basis, the Red Tide phenomena would be tiny in comparison to what we are seeing.

Red tide and blue green algae are two different types of algae blooms. Red tide (karenia brevis) occurs in marine waters, and blue green algae (cyanobacteria) in freshwater. Red tide is actually a dinoflagellate, not a bacteria at all. Though the same nutrient rich conditions can cause both. What's interesting about Karenia Brevis is it can actually swim up to 1m per hour. It will dive down at night to hit more nutrient rich waters, then surface during the day to absorb light for photosynthesis.

The idea that Red Tide is somehow part of a “leftist agenda” is debunked by the fact that Buchanan ‘s bill was passed by a bi-partisan consensus indicating that there are Republicans equally interested in studying the causes and mitigating the economic and quality of life impacts Red Tide has on Floridians. Nice try though and thanks for playing.

There's a wasted $100,000,000.oo..$! "Mother Nature" brings "Red Tide", and "Mother Nature" takes it away every few years; and has done so for thousands of years (if not LONGER...) Buchanan & Hastings: up til now, their interests usually revolved around horses and interns, as well as "media mention" (Well, I guess "one out of three" can be considered "an improvement"..)

Comments are now closed.

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