Portman hopes bill floats in House

Senator hopes House will take up his bill to combat harmful algal blooms
Tom Jackson
Apr 1, 2014
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, hopes to convince the U.S. House that his water bill holds water. 
 
The Senate has approved Portman’s bill to combat harmful algal blooms. The measure has now advanced to the House.

“There is no companion bill in the House,” said Christyn Keyes, a spokeswoman for Portman. “Sen. Portman has been in touch with the relevant House committees, and there is interest in moving his version forward.”

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Portman’s measure, the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013, passed the Senate a few weeks ago. It’s co-authored by Portman and Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat.

The measure would renew the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act and would authorize $20.5 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to coordinate efforts against harmful algal blooms and provide research funding.

“The legislation is reauthorizing existing legislation, but it’s changed to provide more funding than has been provided in previous appropriations, but also to prioritize freshwater, and specifically talks about the Great Lakes, which it did not previously,” Portman said in a recent phone call with Ohio reporters.

The problem affects Ohio’s fishing industry and recreational tourism industry, he said.

“It’s a huge issue for Ohio” said Portman, who attended a forum on harmful algal blooms at Grand Lake St. Marys, which has been hard-hit by the algal bloom problem.

Lake Erie suffered a harmful algal bloom in 2011 that was the largest ever recorded, spreading green goo over much of the surface of the lake. The blooms put large amounts of harmful toxins in the water.

Blooms in the lake since then have been smaller, but scientists remain worried about the potential for large blooms.

Comments

Ralph J.

Cities dumping raw sewage into the lake get a free pass to lay blame on the farmers. Farmers provide food for the people. What about the herbicides and fertilizers that golf courses, businesses and home owners apply? If the people would cut the grass at the proper height and allow the clippings to decompose to put nutrients back into the soil, then fertilizers and herbicides would not be needed. The lawn would be full of earthworms to fertilize the grass with their castings and also to aerate the soil. I cringe when I see people cut the grass down to an inch or less down to the crowns. The blades of grass are needed for photosynthesis just like the leaves on a tree. Then these people wonder why weeds invade their yards and the grass turns brown during dry spells. Taller grass shades crabgrass seeds which needs the sun to germinate.Taller grass also has a deeper root system to keep the grass green during dry spells. Crabgrass will rarely grow in the shade. Stop the insanity.

Dinghy Gal

Just throw the money in the lake, that ought to do it.

coasterfan

Would it be possible to label Portman, Boehner and Jim Jordan as Harmful Algal Blooms? That way, if Portman's bill passes, we can use it for something truly positive: to rid Ohio of the Republican mindset that strives to return us to the Recession of 2007-2008.

A boy can hope...

I

The Recession of 2007-2008? You mean the years when democrats had majorities in both houses of congress and pretty much controlled the federal government? How can we return to something that never ended?

pntbutterandjelly

@ RalphJ; Good post with common sense ideas. Everyone needs to do their part with cleaning up our fresh water systems.