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Harmful Algal Blooms And Hypoxia Research And Control Amendments Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BAIRD. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3650) to establish a National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program, to develop and coordinate a comprehensive and integrated strategy to address harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, and to provide for the development and implementation of comprehensive regional action plans to reduce harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:
H.R. 3650

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2010''.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENT OF HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM AND HYPOXIA RESEARCH AND CONTROL ACT OF 1998.

Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 (16 U.S.C. 1451 note).

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

(a) Amendment.--The Act is amended by inserting after section 602 the following:

``SEC. 602A. DEFINITIONS.

``In this title:

``(1) ADMINISTRATOR.--The term `Administrator' means the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

``(2) PROGRAM.--The term `Program' means the National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program established under section 603A.

``(3) STATE.--The term `State' means each of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, any other territory or possession of the United States, and any Indian tribe.

``(4) UNDER SECRETARY.--The term `Under Secretary' means the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.''.

(b) Table of Contents Amendment.--The table of contents in section 2 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 is amended by adding after the item relating to section 602 the following new item:

``Sec..602A..Definitions.''.

SEC. 4. NATIONAL HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM AND HYPOXIA PROGRAM.

(a) Amendment.--The Act is amended by inserting after section 603 the following:

``SEC. 603A. NATIONAL HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM AND HYPOXIA PROGRAM.

``(a) In General.--Except as provided in subsection (d), the Under Secretary, through the Task Force established under section 603(a), shall establish and maintain a National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program pursuant to this section.

``(b) Duties.--The Under Secretary, through the Program, shall coordinate the efforts of the Task Force to--

``(1) develop and promote a national strategy to understand, detect, predict, control, mitigate, and respond to marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia events;

``(2) integrate the research of all Federal programs, including ocean and Great Lakes science and management programs and centers, that address the chemical, biological, and physical components of marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(3) coordinate and work cooperatively with State, tribal, and local government agencies and programs that address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(4) identify additional research, development, and demonstration needs and priorities relating to monitoring, prediction, prevention, control, mitigation, and response to marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(5) encourage international information sharing and research efforts on marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, and encourage international mitigation, control, and response activities;

``(6) ensure the development and implementation of methods and technologies to protect the ecosystems affected by marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms;

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``(7) integrate, coordinate, and augment existing education programs to improve public understanding and awareness of the causes, impacts, and mitigation efforts for marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(8) assist in regional, State, tribal, and local efforts to develop and implement appropriate marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia response plans, strategies, and tools;

``(9) provide resources for and assist in the training of State, tribal, and local water and coastal resource managers in the methods and technologies for monitoring, controlling, mitigating, and responding to the effects of marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia events;

``(10) oversee the development, implementation, review, and periodic updating of the Regional Research and Action Plans under section 603B; and

``(11) administer peer-reviewed, merit-based competitive grant funding to support--

``(A) the projects maintained and established by the Program; and

``(B) the research and management needs and priorities identified in the Regional Research and Action Plans.

``(c) Cooperative Efforts.--The Under Secretary shall work cooperatively and avoid duplication of efforts with other offices, centers, and programs within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies represented on the Task Force established under section 603(a), States, tribes, and nongovernmental organizations concerned with marine and freshwater aquatic issues related to harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.

``(d) Freshwater Program.--With respect to the freshwater aspects of the Program, the Administrator and Under Secretary, through the Task Force, shall carry out the duties otherwise assigned to the Under Secretary under this section and section 603B, including the activities described in subsection (e). The Administrator's participation under this subsection shall include--

``(1) research on the ecology of freshwater harmful algal blooms;

``(2) monitoring and event response of freshwater harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, estuaries (including their tributaries), and reservoirs;

``(3) mitigation and control of freshwater harmful algal blooms; and

``(4) an identification in the President's annual budget request to Congress of how much funding is proposed in that request for carrying out the activities described in subsection (e).

``(e) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Activities.--As part of the program under this section, the Under Secretary shall--

``(1) maintain and enhance existing competitive grant programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration relating to marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(2) carry out marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia events response activities; and

``(3) enhance communication and coordination among Federal agencies carrying out marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia activities, and increase the availability to appropriate public and private entities of--

``(A) analytical facilities and technologies;

``(B) operational forecasts; and

``(C) reference and research materials.

``(f) Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System.--All monitoring and observation data collected under this Act shall be collected in compliance with all data standards and protocols developed pursuant to the National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 (33 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.), and such data shall be made available through the System established under that Act.

``(g) Action Strategy.--

``(1) IN GENERAL.--Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2010, the Under Secretary, through the Task Force established under section 603(a), shall transmit to the Congress an action strategy that identifies--

``(A) the specific activities to be carried out by the Program and the timeline for carrying out such activities; and

``(B) the roles and responsibilities of each Federal agency in the Task Force established under section 603(a) in carrying out Program activities.

``(2) FEDERAL REGISTER.--The Under Secretary shall publish the action strategy in the Federal Register.

``(3) PERIODIC REVISION.--The Under Secretary shall periodically review and revise the action strategy prepared under this subsection as necessary.

``(h) Report.--Two years after the submission of the action strategy, the Under Secretary shall prepare and transmit to the Congress a report that describes--

``(1) the activities carried out under the Program and the Regional Research and Action Plans and the budget related to these activities;

``(2) the progress made on implementing the action strategy; and

``(3) the need to revise or terminate activities or projects under the Program.''.

(b) Table of Contents Amendment.--The table of contents in section 2 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 is amended by adding after the item relating to section 603 the following new item:

``Sec..603A..National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program.''.

SEC. 5. REGIONAL RESEARCH AND ACTION PLANS.

(a) Amendment.--The Act is amended by inserting after section 603A the following:

``SEC. 603B. REGIONAL RESEARCH AND ACTION PLANS.

``(a) In General.--The Under Secretary, through the Task Force established under section 603(a), shall--

``(1) identify the appropriate regions and subregions to be addressed by each Regional Research and Action Plan; and

``(2) oversee the development and implementation of the Regional Research and Action Plans.

``(b) Contents.--The Plans developed under this section shall identify--

``(1) regional priorities for ecological, economic, and social research on issues related to the impacts of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(2) research, development, and demonstration activities needed to develop and advance technologies and techniques for minimizing the occurrence of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia and improving capabilities to prevent, predict, monitor, control, and mitigate harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(3) ways to reduce the duration and intensity of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, including in times of emergency;

``(4) research and methods to address human health dimensions of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(5) mechanisms, including the potential costs and benefits of those mechanisms, to protect vulnerable ecosystems that could be or have been affected by harmful algal blooms and hypoxia events;

``(6) mechanisms by which data, information, and products are transferred between the Program and State, tribal, and local governments and relevant research entities;

``(7) communication, outreach, and information dissemination methods that State, tribal, and local governments and stakeholder organizations can undertake to educate and inform the public concerning harmful algal blooms and hypoxia; and

``(8) the roles that Federal agencies can play to assist in the implementation of the Plan.

``(c) Building on Available Studies and Information.--In developing the Plans under this section, the Under Secretary shall--

``(1) utilize and build on existing research, assessments, and reports, including those carried out pursuant to existing law and other relevant sources; and

``(2) consider the impacts, research, and existing program activities of all United States coastlines and fresh and inland waters, including the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, and estuaries and tributaries.

``(d) Development of Plans.--The Under Secretary shall develop Plans under this section with assistance from the individuals and entities described in subsection (f).

``(e) Plan Timeline and Updates.--The Under Secretary, through the Task Force established under section 603(a), shall ensure that the Plans developed under this section are completed not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2010, and updated once every 5 years thereafter.

``(f) Coordination and Consultation.--In developing the Plans under this section, as appropriate, the Under Secretary--

``(1) shall coordinate with State coastal management and planning officials;

``(2) shall coordinate with tribal resource management officials;

``(3) shall coordinate with water management and watershed officials from both coastal States and noncoastal States with water sources that drain into water bodies affected by harmful algal blooms and hypoxia; and

``(4) shall consult with--

``(A) public health officials;

``(B) emergency management officials;

``(C) science and technology development institutions;

``(D) economists;

``(E) industries and businesses affected by marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

``(F) scientists, with expertise concerning harmful algal blooms or hypoxia, from academic or research institutions; and

``(G) other stakeholders.''.

(b) Table of Contents Amendment.--The table of contents in section 2 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 is amended by adding after the item relating to section 603A, as added by section 4(b) of this Act, the following new item:

``Sec..603B..Regional research and action plans.''.

SEC. 6. NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO HYPOXIA.

Section 604 is amended to read as follows:

``SEC. 604. NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO HYPOXIA.

``(a) Task Force Initial Progress Reports.--Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2010, the Administrator, through the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, shall complete and transmit to the Congress and the President a report on the progress made by Task Force-directed activities toward attainment of the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008.

``(b) Task Force 2-Year Progress Reports.--After the initial report required under subsection (a), the Administrator, through the Task Force, shall complete and transmit to Congress and the President a report every 2 years thereafter on the progress made by Task Force-directed activities toward attainment of the coastal goal of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008.

``(c) Contents.--The reports required by this section shall assess progress made toward nutrient load reductions, the response of the hypoxic zone and water quality throughout the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin, and the economic and social effects. The reports shall--

``(1) include an evaluation of how current policies and programs affect management decisions, including those made by municipalities and industrial and agricultural producers;

``(2) evaluate lessons learned; and

``(3) recommend appropriate actions to continue to implement or, if necessary, revise the strategy set forth in the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008.''.

SEC. 7. PACIFIC NORTHWEST, ESTUARIES, AND PUGET SOUND HYPOXIA.

(a) Amendment.--The Act is amended by inserting after section 604 the following:

``SEC. 604A. PACIFIC NORTHWEST, ESTUARIES, AND PUGET SOUND HYPOXIA.

``(a) Assessment Report.--Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2010, the Task Force established under section 603 shall complete and submit to Congress and the President an integrated assessment of hypoxia in the coastal and estuarine waters of the Pacific Northwest that examines the status of current research, monitoring, prevention, response, and control efforts.

``(b) Plan.--The Task Force shall include in the regionally appropriate Regional Research and Action Plan developed under section 603B a plan, based on the integrated assessment submitted under subsection (a), for reducing, mitigating, and controlling hypoxia in the coastal and estuarine waters of the Pacific Northwest. In developing such plan, the Task Force shall consult with State, Indian tribe, and local governments, and academic, agricultural, industry, and environmental groups and representatives. Such plan shall include incentive-based partnership approaches. The plan shall also address the social and economic costs and benefits of the measures for reducing, mitigating, and controlling hypoxia.''.

(b) Table of Contents Amendment.--The table of contents in section 2 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 is amended by adding after the item relating to section 604 the following new item:

``Sec..604A..Pacific Northwest, estuaries, and Puget Sound hypoxia.''.

SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

(a) Authorization.--Section 605 is amended to read as follows:

``SEC. 605. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

``There are authorized to be appropriated--

``(1) to the Under Secretary to carry out sections 603A and 603B, $34,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015, of which, for each fiscal year--

``(A) $2,000,000 may be used for the development of the Regional Research and Action Plans and the reports required by section 604A;

``(B) $3,000,000 may be used for the research and assessment activities related to marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms at research laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;

``(C) $8,000,000 may be used to carry out the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms Program (ECOHAB);

``(D) $5,500,000 may be used to carry out the Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms Program (MERHAB);

``(E) $1,500,000 may be used to carry out the Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Hypoxia Assessment Program (NGOMEX);

``(F) $5,000,000 may be used to carry out the Coastal Hypoxia Research Program (CHRP);

``(G) $5,000,000 may be used to carry out the Prevention, Control, and Mitigation of Harmful Algal Blooms Program (PCM);

``(H) $1,000,000 may be used to carry out marine and freshwater harmful algal bloom and hypoxia events response activities; and

``(I) $3,000,000 may be used for increased availability, communication, and coordination activities; and

``(2) to the Administrator to carry out sections 603A, 603B, and 604, $7,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015.''.

(b) Extramural Research Activities.--The Under Secretary shall ensure that a substantial portion of funds appropriated pursuant to subsection (a) that are used for research purposes are allocated to extramural research activities.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Baird) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hall) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Washington.

GENERAL LEAVE

Mr. BAIRD. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on H.R. 3650, as amended, the bill now under consideration.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BAIRD. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of H.R. 3650, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. This bill represents a timely and necessary step to address a large and growing problem. The Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Hypoxia Research and Control Act was first signed into law in 1998 and last reauthorized in 2004. And from the outset, I want to commend my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Ehlers, for his tireless work on this over many years.

I stand in support of these programs because this affects virtually every coastal waterway in America as well as freshwater ecosystems. Let me share with you an example of how serious this problem is.

In a small lake in my own district recently, a person was out with their dog, playing fetch in the water. They threw their favorite tennis ball in the water. The dog jumped into the water, retrieved the tennis ball, swam back up on the shore, and promptly died.

Harmful algal blooms are what we know in the saltwater environment as red tides. In freshwater, it's often blue-green algae. They are deadly in both environments. Estimates suggest the cost may be $82 million a year, the annual economic impact of HABs, according to a 2006 study. This means billions of dollars over decades.

I mentioned already the tragic loss of this animal, but on a human scale, red tides pose a serious neurotoxin that can actually affect your ability to remember things over the long run. So we have a serious problem. It is growing in the case of harmful algal blooms.

We have a parallel and related problem that the bill also addresses, and these are so-called dead zones, or hypoxia, so known because they are areas of lack of oxygen. These are expanding. Perhaps the most well known is in the Gulf of Mexico, areas literally thousands of square miles wide that if virtually any marine organism swims into them, they die very shortly thereafter because they do not have sufficient oxygen to survive. This has impacted not only the Gulf of Mexico, but also my own coast and elsewhere in the country.

Now, within the freshwater system, I want to underscore a particularly important point. From the Great Lakes to small creeks of West Virginia and throughout the country, this is a problem. My friend and colleague, Mr. Mollohan from West Virginia, has been particularly interested in this. We need to understand that these harmful algal blooms in freshwater are particularly toxic for the following reasons:

Most of the mechanisms that we currently use to purify water do not work with harmful algal blooms. If you boil water to kill pathogens, that normally purifies it. If you boil water that has harmful algal blooms in it, you actually increase the toxin and increase its lethality. If you filter water to get out protozoa and other things, as many of us do when we are hiking or climbing, that can purify normal water. It is totally ineffective and may be actually counterproductive in harmful algal blooms because all you do is break up the bodies of the algae, but the toxin survives. Chlorination does not work to stop these things.

So we have a problem that is deadly to organisms ranging from fish to shore birds and to human beings. And again, both harmful algal blooms and hypoxic events are spreading.

I want to also mention that in my own district, which has a coastal area that is very economically benefited by the clamming season, all you need is one red tide to come in, shut down the clamming season, and you literally lose millions of dollars of business. And for many of our hotel owners and restaurateurs and others, that's the season. You lose that because of a harmful algal bloom, you have basically lost your economy for the year. So this bill would expand our ability to study and ultimately to control these harmful algal blooms and hypoxic events.

I appreciate the support of many colleagues.

I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BAIRD. Madam Speaker, at this point, I want to acknowledge that, as is so often the case, H.R. 3650 was a collaborative effort, not just with my minority colleagues on the Science and Technology Committee, but also with the Natural Resources Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well. I would like, here, to insert a letter of exchanges with those committees into the Record, and I want to also thank both Chairmen Rahall and Oberstar for their efforts on this legislation.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES,

Washington, DC, November 12, 2009.
Hon. Bart Gordon,
Chairman, Committee on Science and Technology, Rayburn H.O.B., Washington, DC.

Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for the opportunity to work with you on H.R. 3650, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009, which was referred to the Committee on Science and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Natural Resources.

Because of the continued cooperation and consideration that you have afforded me and my staff in developing these provisions, and knowing of your interest in expediting this legislation, I am willing to waive further consideration of H.R. 3650 by the Committee on Natural Resources at this time. Of course, this waiver is not intended to prejudice any future jurisdictional claims over the provisions of this legislation or similar language. I also reserve the right to seek to have conferees named from the Committee on Natural Resources on these provisions, and request your support if such a request is made.

Please place this letter into the committee report on H.R. 3650 and into the Congressional Record during consideration of the measure on the House floor.

With warm regards, I am

Sincerely,

Nick J. Rahall II,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources

--

House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Technology,

Washington, DC, November 12, 2009.
Hon. Nick J. Rahall, II,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Rahall: Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 3650, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009. Your support for this legislation and your assistance in ensuring its timely consideration are greatly appreciated.

I agree that provisions in the bill are of jurisdictional interest to the Committee on Natural Resources. I acknowledge that by discharging the Committee on Natural Resources from further consideration of 3650, your Committee is not relinquishing Its jurisdiction and I will fully support your request to be represented in a House-Senate conference on those provisions over which the Committee on Natural Resources has jurisdiction. A copy of our letters will be placed in the Committee Report on H.R. 3650 and in the Congressional Record during consideration of the bill on the House floor.

I value your cooperation and look forward to working with you as we move ahead with this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Bart Gordon,
Chairman.

--

House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,

Washington, DC, December 14, 2009.
Hon. Bart Gordon,
Chairman, Committee on Science and Technology, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Gordon: I write to you regarding H.R. 3650, the ``Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009''.

H.R. 3650 contains provisions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. I recognize and appreciate your desire to bring this legislation before the House in an expeditious manner and, accordingly, I will not seek a sequential referral of the bill. However, I agree to waive consideration of this bill with the mutual understanding that my decision to forgo a sequential referral of the bill does not waive, reduce, or otherwise affect the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure over H.R. 3650.

Further, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure reserves the right to seek the appointment of conferees during any House-Senate conference convened on this legislation on provisions of the bill that are within the Committee's jurisdiction. I ask for your commitment to support any request by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for the appointment of conferees on H.R. 3650 or similar legislation.

Please place a copy of this letter and your response acknowledging the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure's jurisdictional interest in the Committee Report on H.R. 3650 and in the Congressional Record during consideration of the measure in the House.

I look forward to working with you as we prepare to pass this important legislation.

Sincerely,

James L. Oberstar, M.C.,
Chairman.

--

House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Technology,

Washington, DC, December 14, 2009.
Hon. James L. Oberstar,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Oberstar: Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 3650, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2009. Your support for this legislation and your assistance in ensuring its timely consideration are greatly appreciated.

I agree that provisions in the bill are of jurisdictional interest to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. I acknowledge that by forgoing a sequential referral, your Committee is not relinquishing its jurisdiction and I will fully support your request to be represented in a House-Senate conference on those provisions over which the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has jurisdiction in H.R. 3650. A copy of our letters will be placed in the Committee Report on H.R. 3650 and in the Congressional Record during consideration of the bill on the House floor.

I value your cooperation and look forward to working with you as we move ahead with this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Bart Gordon,
Chairman.

If I may, at this point, I would like to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Kratovil).

Mr. KRATOVIL. I thank the gentleman from Washington for yielding.

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3650 and urge my colleagues to support it.

Maryland's First Congressional District, my district, is a district defined by the water that surrounds it. Healthy water in our district means commerce, recreation, and, most importantly, jobs.

A harmful algal bloom is a rapid overproduction of certain species of algae that produce toxins which are detrimental to plants and animals. These outbreaks are commonly referred to, as you have heard, as red or brown tides and have the potential to kill fish and other aquatic life by decreasing sunlight available to the water and by using up available oxygen in the water.

In recent years, many of the Nation's coastlines, near-shore marine waters and freshwaters have experienced an increase in the number, frequency, duration, and types of HABs. If we continue to allow this problem to persist, bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay in my district will see a detrimental decline in water quality which will affect the thousands of species that call the bay home.

More importantly, perhaps, the thousands of men and women who rely on the bay to pay their bills will be put out of work. Watermen, commercial fishermen, charter boat captains, and any number of similar professions have been part of the Eastern Shore culture for decades. If gone unchecked, these professions will become less and less prominent, and an entire segment of our local economy will be hurt.

H.R. 3650 is a good bill that takes important steps in the fight against red tides and other harmful algae by creating a coordinated national strategy to deal with HABs while at the same time allowing for flexibility so that different regions can best address their unique concerns.

I am also pleased, again, as was mentioned, that funding will actually be directed to control and prevention of this problem in addition to, simply, research. This will no doubt limit the severity and frequency of this dangerous environmental concern.

Madam Speaker, I once again urge my colleagues to support this measure.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BAIRD. I want to thank the gentleman from Maryland. He has been a tireless champion of this. The watermen in his district and the others who depend on this great natural resource owe him, I am certain, a great debt of gratitude.

I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlelady from Florida (Ms. Castor), who has also been a tireless champion of clean water and of this issue.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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