We must tackle the lack of clean, safe water in our community from as many different angles as possible. That's why, in addition to supporting efforts to build a southern reservoir, this week I offered four amendments to increase funding for researching and combating harmful algal blooms.
We all know this is a massive issue that won't be solved overnight. But this increase in funding would move us closer to preventing future public health crisis like we lived through last summer. In total, my amendments would increase funding by more than $2 million in four different programs that work to combat harmful algal blooms.
Here are the details:
Department of the Navy Research Laboratory - $598,000
The Environmental Sustainability Development Project under the Naval Research Laboratory works on coastal contamination and contaminated sediments. Funding for this program is cut in the proposed Department of Defense appropriations bill by $598,000 and my amendment restores the funding.
The Lakes Program - $750,000
The Lakes Program was authorized to “carry out a program for the removal of silt, aquatic growth, and other material,” but the proposed Energy and Water Development appropriations bill includes no funding for the program. My amendment allocates $750,000 to the Lakes Program to make grants available to states for projects to remove “toxic substances mobilized by high acidity,” such as algal blooms.
The Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program - $500,000
My amendment increases funding by $500,000 for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program, which provides the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managers and operational personnel up-to-date information on aquatic nuisance species, including basic life history and ecological information, risk assessment tools, preventative strategies, and cost-effective and environmentally sound management options.
The Aquatic Plant Control Research Program - $500,000
My amendment increases funding by $500,000 for the Aquatic Plant Control Research Program, which is the nation’s only federally authorized research program directed to develop technology for the management of non-indigenous aquatic plant species. The program provides effective, economical, and environmentally compatible methods for assessing and managing problem aquatic plants.
We'll be voting later this week on a bill to fund some of these programs and others that can make a real difference for our community. I'll be doing everything in my power to ensure Washington doesn't forget about the serious challenges we're facing.