Lake Erie Algal Bloom, NOAA

USA - Harmful Algal Blooms: Congressional Request for U.S. Governmental Accountability Office Recommendations

Several Congressmen from the United States House of Representatives Majority sent an April 29th request to the Comptroller General of the United States, U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) addressing harmful algal blooms (“HAB”).

The April 29th request asked that GAO address a number of questions related to HAB.

HABs are overgrowths of algae in water. Such blooms can produce toxins that can cause illness in people and animals. They can occur in warm, fresh, marine or branch water if abundant nutrients are present.

Besides producing dangerous toxins, HABs can also:

  • Create dead zones in the water
  • Increase treatment costs for drinking water and industry facilities that need clean water

The United States Environmental Protection Agency and a number of states have focused significant efforts on studying and addressing HABs.

The April 29th Congressional letter references:

  • Impacts of HABs
  • Activities of federal agencies, states, international organizations, etc. researching HABs
  • Report by the Interagency Working Group

The Congressional request asks GAO to:

. . . conduct HAB and hypoxy-related activities to address these growing threats to our nation’s public health, environment and economy. . .