Congressman Francis Rooney introduced a bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur to require the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), which monitor waters for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) to continue forecasting and monitoring, even during a government shutdown.
Congressman Rooney stated, “Over the last several years, Southwest Florida and the rest of the United States have been plagued by severe outbreaks of red tide. The most recent outbreak in the Gulf of Mexico lasted 16 months and generated over 2000 tons of dead sea life. In the midst of this outbreak, government shutdowns prevented NOAA’s satellites from monitoring red tide and publishing forecasts across the nation.”
“Especially due to the adverse implications that red tide causes for human health, I introduced this bipartisan legislation to make sure NCCOS continues forecasting and monitoring during a shutdown. Specifically, we must ensure that the information gathered is continually updated and available to local officials and the public.”
“The negative economic and environmental impact harmful algal blooms have on Lake Erie and coastal communities across the country cannot be overstated,” said Rep. Kaptur. “I look forward to supporting this legislation to reign in the spread of deadly algal blooms and thank Congressman Rooney for his leadership on this issue.”
This legislation requires that web services and server processing for the HAB Operational Forecasting System (HABOFS) continue monitoring and remain online during a government shutdown.