Fourth Coalition Email

January 28, 2010 This is the 4th email sent to those in the U.S. thought to have interest in freshwater harmful algal blooms (FHABs) by Drs. Ken Hudnell and Wayne Carmichael. As of today, over 550 people have joined our informal coalition to support the introduction and enactment of the proposed Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom Research & Control Act of 2010 (FHAB Act). I spent last week in Washington, DC, in meetings at EPA and Congressional offices. EPA meetings with: • Suzanne Schwartz, Acting Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, and staff; • Darrell Winner, Director, Applied Science Division, National Center for Environmental Research, and; • Gina Perovich, past ECOHAB Program Manager, a position eliminated when the Agency quit voluntarily funding ECOHAB projects in 2006; led to agreement that enactment of the FHAB Act with funding authorizations would be a welcomed event. It was further agreed that addressing eutrophication and FHABs solely with a policy of watershed management has proven to be inadequate. The U.S. has spent more that $1B per year for more than 20 years on watershed management projects. During the same time period, there has been a sharp increase in the number of U.S. freshwater bodies listed as impaired, and in the incidence and durations of FHABs. It was generally acknowledged that research is needed to better understand FHABs and to develop sustainable within water-body management methods. A policy including within water-body management is needed to compliment watershed management so that FHAB risks to health and aquatic ecosystems can be reduced in the near term. Going beyond FHABs, research is needed to develop within water body management techniques to recapture and reuse water pollutants, particularly phosphorus, and to prevent the methylation of mercury and the release of manganese to upper portions of the water column having source water intakes. A meeting with the House Science & Technology Committee staff was encouraging. They have revised HR3650 (attached), increasing the funding authorization from $6M to $7M per year for 2010-2014. They anticipate that the bill will be inserted into the upcoming “Jobs Act” since very few single bills are being advanced. They have reached agreement with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, which has a companion HABHRCA Reauthorization Bill, S952, that when both pass their bill and go into conference for reconciliation, the final bill will contain the EPA mandate and funding authorization. The House S&T staff expressed strong appreciation of our informal coalition and its efforts. They said that rarely have they seen a group so well organized, and that they really appreciated the letters you sent. They said they will be asking for our help on another bill involving EPA. That bill is to ensure that funding get to the Office of Research & Development to support research, rather than being used by the Agency for other purposes. A meeting with Sen. Kay Hagan’s (Dem., NC) staff led to their offer of active support for our effort. Sen. Hagan will call colleagues on the Commerce Committee to express support for the EPA mandate. Initial contacts with the Clean Water America Alliance and the National Council for Science & the Environment are also encouraging. The CWAA held a National Dialogue on an Integrated Water Policy (report attached) last September, chaired by Ben Grumbles, former Director of EPA’s Office of Water. We share common goals and are mutually supportive. The NCSE may include a position statement supporting inclusion of within water-body management policy in a report from a workgroup in which I participated last week. We are not asking you to take any actions at this time. However, soon we may ask you to call and/or write to legislators in your state requesting support for enactment of the Bill. You can learn of progress by visiting our website - http://www.FreshwaterHABlegislation.com or our Twitter page. This email list will be used only infrequently. The addresses are in the blind copy address field to ensure that they will not be used for other purposes. The effort to enact the FHAB Act and the views expressed here are personal and not those of any organization. If you do not want to receive future emails, please respond with "decline" in the subject line, and I will remove your name and address from the list. Thank you for supporting the FHAB Act.