Fifth Coalition Email

March 11, 2010 Call For Action This is the 5th 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). Passage is needed to protect human and animal health, aquatic ecosystems and our economy, and help ensure a sustainable supply of usable freshwater. We experienced a setback Tuesday night when the House failed to pass the reauthorization of the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA; HR3650, attached). As you will recall, the FHAB Act was folded into the HABHRCA reauthorization bill. HABHRCA originally mandated a National HAB Research & Control Program for oceans, estuaries and the Great Lakes, but the reauthorization expands the Program to EPA and all freshwater. The bill was considered under suspension of the rules (aka expedited rules), a method used to quickly pass bills that are usually noncontroversial. The maneuver limits debate to 40 minutes and no amendments can be offered, but a two-thirds majority is required for passage. After debate on the House floor earlier in the day, no one objected to the bill and it appeared poised to clear by voice vote. However, Representative Baird requested a recorded vote, which apparently led to the defeat. The vote was 263 yea to 142 nay with 25 not voting, a 64.9% yea majority, just 1.77% short of passage. The bill would have passed if 7 nay votes had been yea, or if 21 abstainers had voted yea. The House Science & Technology Committee is not giving up on passage, and is asking for our help. We urge each of you to call your representative’s staff, or if you are prohibited from lobbying activities, to encourage friends and colleagues to do so. Your representative’s phone number can be found through http://www.house.gov/. Enter your Zip Code in the box in the top left corner of the House page and click on Go. Then click on your representative’s name. This will take you to your representative’s webpage where you can click on their contact button. To easily find out how your representative voted Tuesday night on HR3650, click on http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/, scroll down to Recent Votes, click on “More House votes”, then click on “Roll Call 92.” The page will show you how Democrats and Republicans voted overall. • You can click on your representative’s party, Democrat or Republican, to see how all party members voted. • Alternatively, you can click on “By state/territory”, then click on your state’s name. You will see how all representatives from your state voted. If your representative voted yea, thank the staffer for the vote, and tell the staffer that it is critical that your representative keep fighting for passage of HABHRCA, HR 3650, until it is enacted. Request that your representative inform colleagues that voted nay about the importance of passage to help ensure a sustainable supply of usable water. If your representative voted nay, tell the staffer that passage of HABHRCA, HR 3650, is critical for your state and district; that passage is needed to protect human and animal health, aquatic ecosystems and the economy in your state and district. Inform the staffer that the Act will mandate and authorize funding for a National HAB Research & Control Program for both freshwater and marine waters, and that enactment will not place any requirements on your state, but will help ensure that your state has a sustainable supply of useable water into the future. Ask the staffer to request that your representative vote for the bill at the next opportunity. • You can do a Google search using your state’s name and “algal bloom” to identify specific HAB events that have adversely impacted your state and district. The staffer likely does not know that HABs are happening in your “back yard.” • If you live along the Gulf Coast or in the Pacific Northwest, inform the staffer that the bill mandates a specific research and control program in your region because of the increasingly severe impact of HABs there. • Tell the staffer “It’s simply the right thing to do.” A special request for residents of Texas – Incredulously, Ralph Hall (D-TX), an 83 year old fiscal conservative, and 18 other representatives from Texas voted nay. Texas is severely impacted by HABs along the Gulf Coast, by freshwater cyanobacterial blooms during warmer seasons, and by Golden algal blooms during cooler seasons. These representatives likely don’t have a clue about HAB impacts in their state. We request that Texas residents contact as many of these representatives as they can. Ken will return to Washington, DC, the week after next to visit the offices of key representatives that voted nay to inform their staff about the need to pass HABHRCA. He will also attend the 2nd National Dialogue of the Clean Water America Alliance to promote HABHRCA and assist in the Alliance’s effort to develop an Integrated National Water Policy. 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/HABHRCA 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. Unfortunately, I am unable to remove those that may receive this email through a list service. Thank you for supporting the FHAB Act.