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Francis Rooney introduces bipartisan legislation targeting red tide

Rep. Francis Rooney introduced a new bill last week that would ensure monitoring of algal bloom, even during government shutdowns.

Florida politicians are all about controlling red tide outbreaks this season. In a similar fashion, recently Florida Senators prodded the Commerce Department to declare a disaster and release aid money to the state.

Rooney’s bill introduction comes at the same time as reports that Florida’s marine industry could be suffering.

Congressman Rooney announced, “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.”

Unfortunately, red tide isn’t the only thing plaguing Florida’s gulf coast. The Bradenton Herald reported that more than 7,000 miles of the Gulf of Mexico will be a dead zone for sea life. This prediction suggests nutrient-rich sediment runoff is the malady.

It remains to be seen what contribution, if any, the red tide will have on that phenomenon.

As for red tide, however, Rooney says:

“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.”

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