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Environment


The algal bloom reauthorization shifts emphasis toward the Great Lakes
Ohio Sen. Portman celebrates passage of the research, monitoring and mitigation law that includes new emphasis on freshwater
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
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In The Region:

After nearly two years, Congress has approved a bill to address what’s been a growing problem in Ohio’s lakes and reservoirs: toxic algae blooms. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

LISTEN: The changes in the algal bloom bill

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The U.S. House voted to reauthorize a mouthful of a law called the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act.

The Senate passed the bill back in February, nearly two years after it was introduced by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson. Though it reauthorizes a law that’s been around since 1998, Portman says this version makes some crucial adjustments that directly affect Ohio. 

“It’s focused in the past on coastal areas and salt water. This legislation this year puts a new emphasis on fresh water, specifically fresh water lakes. ... It creates a new Great Lakes component for the program. And it focuses the federal efforts on research, which it always has, but also on monitoring what’s going on, on responding and mitigating some of these fresh water algal blooms.” 

Every summer, Ohio posts notices warning people not to swim at a half dozen or more state lakes and reservoirs because of the blooms, which produce a liver toxin. 

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