Sending Office: Honorable Marcy Kaptur
Sent By:
TJ.Lowdermilk@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Support research into harmful algal blooms

Current cosigners: Kaptur, Joyce, Posey, Soto, Gallagher, Wasserman-Shultz

Supporting Orgs: Alliance for the Great Lakes, Natural Resources Defense Council, Healing Our Waters Coalition, and Ohio Environmental Council

Cosigners of the FY18 version of this letter: Kaptur, Joyce, Duffy, Tim Ryan,
Curbelo, Soto, Katko, DeFazio, Bonamici, Love, Keating, Slaughter,
Ros-Lehtinen, Mast, Quigley, Holmes Norton, Gibbs, Beatty, Deutch,
Posey, Renacci, Shea-Porter, Chaffetz, Bobby Scott, Langevin,
Huizenga, Kilmer, Higgins, Takano, Castor, McCollum, Mike Kelly, Barbara Lee, Moulton, Conyers, Fudge, Dingell,
Latta, Crist, Levin, Yarmuth, Esty, Bergman, Kind, Pingree,
Bill Johnson,
and Welch

 

Dear Colleague:

 

Please join us in supporting research into harmful algal blooms (HABs).  HABs are a naturally occurring phenomena which have long plagued every state in the nation.  In recent years, however, both the incidence and the toxicity of HABs have increased markedly. 
These increases have wrought many negative impacts on our society, including costs to human health, the economy, and the environment. 

 

Numerous examples exist of the significant damages that HABs cause.  In 2014, a toxic algal bloom in Lake Erie forced 400,000 residents in the Toledo, Ohio area to go without home water service for 3 days.  The massive algae “blob” during the summer of 2015
which spanned the west coast from southern California all the way to Alaska and forced numerous fisheries to close due to the dangerous neurotoxins in their catch.  The summer of 2016, the algal bloom in Lake Okeechobee in south Florida spread to both the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts resulting in the declaration of a state of emergency and forced many of their prized beaches to be closed. 

 

To minimize the consequences of these events, we must increase our understanding of HABs, our ability to forecast them accurately, and our knowledge of the human health impacts associated with them.  Please join us in a letter to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney
asking for robust funding of HAB-related programs.

 

For more information, or to cosign the letter, please contact T.J. Lowdermilk (TJ.Lowdermilk@mail.house.gov; 5-4146) in Rep. Kaptur’s office.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Marcy Kaptur                                                             David P. Joyce

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

November XX, 2017

 

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney

Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20503

 

Dear Director Mulvaney:

 

We write to respectfully request that you allocate robust funding in the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for programs that address a widespread and ever-increasing problem affecting every state in the nation: toxic algae blooms, also called harmful
algal blooms (HABs).  Toxic algae affect marine, coastal, estuarine, and freshwater systems in all 50 states, causing negative impacts on the lives of millions of Americans.  A strong investment in programs that address toxic algae will help protect economic
activity, the health of U.S. citizens, and our environment.

 

Toxic blooms harm human health and cause several billion dollars in economic losses each year.  While we have made significant advances in our understanding of where, when and why blooms occur, we must improve our ability to mitigate their impacts on our
communities.  We strongly support investment in science, research, and management to increase our capacity to forecast, detect, and prevent HABs, as well as to lessen their impacts on human health and economies across the country.

 

Recent examples of these impacts include:

 

  • In 2014 in Toledo, Ohio, more than 400,000 residents could not drink their water for three days after a massive microcystin bloom from Lake Erie was detected in the municipal water system.
  • During summer 2015, potent neurotoxins associated with the so-called warm water “blob” off the West Coast triggered a toxic algae bloom from Southern California to Alaska that closed hundreds of miles of shellfish and crab fisheries.  Coastal communities
    lost tens of millions of dollars from the closure of the Dungeness crab fishery alone.
  • In 2016, Utah Lake experienced a toxic bloom.  Utah Poison Control reported hundreds of calls about the bloom, including calls from at least 130 people reporting vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and rashes after coming in contact with the toxic water.
  • In 2016, a massive toxic algae outbreak caused a region-wide public health emergency in New England, where toxicity levels more than 10 times the regulatory limit were found, leading to a major shellfish recall and shellfish harvesting closures across approximately
    half of Maine’s coastline and large areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The toxic substance, domoic acid, can cause permanent brain damage in humans.
  • In 2016, four Florida counties (Martin, St. Lucie, Lee, Palm Beach) declared states of emergencies due to the thick guacamole-like green slime of algal blooms.  More than 50 percent of vacationing tourists said the blooms would lead them to vacation elsewhere.
     Tourism is one of Florida’s leading economic drivers.

 

Alarmingly, a coordinated study released this year from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that from a single sampling of all lakes nationwide,
39% contained toxic algae.  A follow-up study using a nationally-representative subset of lakes took daily samples over the course of a year.  This effort revealed that toxins were present at some point during the year in 78% of the lakes.

 

Yet, it is more frightening to note that these studies also highlighted the fact that the detection methods we have relied upon in fresh, brackish, and salt water were inadequate to detect all the toxins that various types of algae produce.

 

To make the necessary progress toward understanding and addressing the significant and expanding threats that toxic algae pose to human health and our national economy, we ask that you prioritize a strong and coordinated federal response in this year’s budget
request with robust funding allocated for HAB-related work.

 

We look forward to your response and to working with you to reduce the impacts of HABs on the American people.

 

 

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources, Science

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