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Congress Passes Red Tide Bill

On Sunday, August 5, thousands of dead fished washed onto Anna Maria Island in Manatee County due to a red tide aglae bloom.

A Red Tide bill backed by Florida lawmakers was passed by the United States Congress and is now headed to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law.

“Red tide has plagued our local economy, environment, and way of life,” said Congressman Vern Buchanan,co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation, in a news release. “I urge the president to swiftly sign this bill into law.”

“Red tide is a problem that requires more research and development of cutting-edge technologies to mitigate its damaging effects.”

The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017 was included in the legislation passed by Congress, providing more than $100 million to combat HABs like red tide. It also establishes a process to declare an “Event of National Significance.” That declaration would trigger disaster-like funding for affected communities.

The bill also reauthorizes the Harmful Algal Bloom Federal Interagency Task Force adding the U.S Army Corps of engineers to a group created to battle red tide, and allows private donations to be used to fund recovery for events that threaten U.S. coastal ecosystems. 

Separate legislation signed into law earlier this year included a proposal to provide the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with an additional $8 million to reduce the threat of algal blooms, including red tide.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.