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Higgins Calls for Swift Action to Address Threat to Health of Great Lakes & Community

Jul 12, 2019
Press Release
NOAA Warns of Significant Harmful Algal Bloom, Which Are Toxic to People & Animals, in Lake Erie

In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling for swift action in response to new warning about toxic algae threatening the health of the Great Lakes and the communities around them.

Higgins letter calls on the EPA to accelerate efforts to combat Harmful Algal Blooms, writing, “Such a bloom may impact the health of the entire lake, including the eastern basin near my district in Buffalo, New York. As climate change increases the threat of algal blooms, our efforts must escalate proportionately.”

This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a warning predicting a harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie.  According to NOAA, “Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae—simple photosynthetic organisms that live in the sea and freshwater—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal.”

In his letter, Higgins specifically calls for an increased emphasis on methods to reduce or prevent harmful algal blooms in the third phase of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan for 2020 – 2024, which is set to be finalized by October 1 of this year. 

Congressman Higgins, whose Western New York district borders Lake Erie, is a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force and an avid supporter of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.