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senate Bill S. 1254

Fighting Toxic Algae

Argument in favor

Algal blooms have the potential to destroy not just ecosystems, but also seafood and tourist industries across the country.

Argument opposed

The bill spends more money while blooms lessen. Fails to address cities and farmers dumping into effected bodies of water.

bill Progress

  • EnactedJune 30th, 2014
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed June 9th, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
  • The senate Passed February 12th, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedJune 27th, 2013

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What is Senate Bill S. 1254?

This bill would reauthorize the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. Passed into law in 1998, the Act addresses harmful algae populations in American bodies of water, and has both a research and response component. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are proliferations of toxic and sometimes poisonous algae. 


If enacted, the bill would continue to combat algae blooms that negatively impact the marine ecosystems, the seafood industry, and the tourism industry.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1254

$20.50 Million
The CBO estimates that extension of the Act would cost $20.5 million through 2018.

More Information


In Detail:

According to the bill's official summary, the Act:

-Requires the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, acting through the Task Force, to: (1) establish maintain, and periodically review a national harmful algal bloom and hypoxia program, and (2) develop and submit to Congress a comprehensive research plan and action strategy to address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia;

-Establishes additional Task Force functions, including: (1) expediting the interagency review process; and (2) promoting the development of new technologies for predicting, monitoring, and mitigating harmful algal bloom and hypoxia conditions;

-Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to have primary responsibility in administering the Program;

-Establishes the Under Secretary's duties, including administering merit-based, competitive grant funding to: (1) maintain and enhance baseline monitoring programs established by the Program, (2) support the Program's projects, and (3) address the research and management needs and the Action Strategy's priorities;

-Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to: (1) research the ecology and impacts of freshwater harmful algal blooms; (2) forecast and monitor event response to freshwater harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, estuaries, and reservoirs; and (3) ensure that activities carried under this Act focus on new approaches to addressing freshwater harmful algal blooms and are not duplicative of existing research and development programs authorized by this Act or any other law.

-Requires the collection of monitoring and observation data under this Act to comply with all data standards and protocols developed pursuant to the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009.

(Sec. 7) Requires the Administrator, through the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, to report to appropriate congressional committees and the President on the progress made by activities directed by the Task Force and carried out or funded by EPA and other state and federal partners toward attainment of the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008 within 12 months after this Act's enactment and biennially thereafter.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Task Force to: (1) submit within 18 months to Congress and the President an integrated assessment that examines the causes, consequences, and approaches to reduce hypoxia and harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes; and (2) develop and submit to Congress a plan, based on such assessment, for reducing, mitigating, and controlling such hypoxia and blooms.

(Sec. 11) Authorizes the departments and agencies represented on the Task Force to participate in interagency financing and share, transfer, receive, obligate, and expend funds appropriated to any member of the Task Force for the purposes of carrying out the Act.

(Photo Credit: William West)


Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2014

Official Title

A bill to amend the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998, and for other purposes.