Jul 25 2017

Mast Introduces Amendments to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms

Proposals Increase Funding by More Than $2 million

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) offered four amendments to the FY2018 Energy and Water Development and the Department of Defense Appropriations bills designed to increase research and funding into harmful algal blooms. In total, the amendments would increase funding by more than $2 million.

“We must tackle the lack of clean, safe water in our area from as many different angles as possible,” Rep. Mast said. “In addition to supporting efforts to build a southern reservoir, increasing funding to research and combat harmful algal blooms will move us closer to preventing future public health crises like we lived through last summer.”

The funding increases would impact the following programs:

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 compared to FY2017 enacted levels. The amendment offered by Rep. Mast restores the program to full funding and would fund the program at $2.04 million higher than the President’s requested level.

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. Rep. Mast’s 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
Rep. Mast’s 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 main objective of this program is to conduct interdisciplinary research on the prevention, control, and management of aquatic nuisance species that impact Corps of Engineers projects and public facilities.

The Aquatic Plant Control Research Program - $500,000
Rep. Mast’s 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.

An appropriations bill containing both Energy and Water Development appropriations and Department of Defense Appropriations is scheduled to be considered later this week.