Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Congress Passes Buchanan-Backed Bill to Combat Red Tide

Dec 20, 2018
Press Release

Legislation Provides $100 Million to Address Harmful Algal Blooms

Now Heads to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON –  Congressman Vern Buchanan today 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. “I urge the president to swiftly sign this bill into law.”

Buchanan, co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, continued, “red tide is a problem that requires more research and development of cutting-edge technologies to mitigate its damaging effects.”

The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017 was included in the legislation passed today 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.

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

Buchanan co-sponsored nearly identical bipartisan legislation in the House (H.R. 4417) and earlier this summer led a letter with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) 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.