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Legislation targets toxic algal blooms, awaits Obama OK

Rochester Business Journal
June 18, 2014

Legislation designed to stop the spread of algal blooms in New York’s waterways has been passed by Congress and awaits approval by President Obama, officials announced Wednesday.

The Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendment Act was passed Tuesday by the Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said. The bill already had passed through the House of Representatives.

“New York’s vast water systems help drive our economy, offer miles of recreation, attract tourists and provide clean drinking water for millions of families,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

The Senate passed a similar bill in February. It was amended in the House, leading to the Senate’s passing of the final version this week.

The legislation stipulates that a task force complete an assessment of hypoxia and algal blooms in the Great Lakes no later than 18 months after the bill becomes law.

It requires that a plan to reduce, mitigate and control Great Lakes hypoxia and algal blooms be submitted no later than two years after the law passes.

Algal blooms are a problem throughout the state, Gillibrand said, resulting in beach and lake closures and damaged fish habitats.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued blue-green algae notices for 76 New York lakes in 2013, she said.

Blue-green algae are a form of algal bloom with an unpleasant appearance and odor. It is particularly troublesome for New York’s fresh-water lakes because it causes illness in humans and animals that come in contact with it, Gillibrand said.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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