Aug 16 2017

Mast Unveils Bill to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful Algal Blooms Solutions Act will Incentivize Development of Innovative Technology

Stuart, Fla. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today announced the Harmful Algal Blooms Solutions Act establishing a competitive program to award prizes for the development of innovative, environmentally safe solutions to combat harmful algal blooms.

“When I talk to experts about the challenges of cleaning up harmful algal blooms, one of the most frequent roadblocks I hear about is the difficulty in scaling technology to the size needed to clean huge bodies of water,” Rep. Mast said. “This new program would go a long way toward improving the type of technology that cleans algae out of fish tanks to be able to keep our rivers clean.”

The bill instructs the Secretary of Commerce to create a program that will recognize and award financial prizes to individuals who develop technology to assist with the 1) large scale physical removal of algal biomass, 2) removal of, or rendering harmless, harmful algal bloom toxins in the environment, 3) reduction of available nutrients that fuel harmful algal blooms, and 4) real-time monitoring of harmful algal blooms and early-warning systems.

In order to implement the program, the Secretary of Commerce must establish a board to administer the program made up of federal officials, state officials in impacted states and non-government experts. The board will operate as a public-private partnership, soliciting private donations to fund the awards, as well as determining specific award categories and amounts.

The introduction of the bill builds on Rep. Mast’s successful effort to secure more than $1 million in research and development money to combat harmful algal blooms as part of the Make America Secure Appropriations Act passed by the House of Representatives in July.