Legislation making its way on Capitol Hill could help Florida communities hit by toxic algae blooms.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved the measure that for the first time would make federal funding available to communities and states affected by toxic algae blooms.
The legislation would grant authority to NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency to declare the blooms nationally significant, opening access to funding.
Toxic algae blooms last year on Florida’s east and west coasts including in the Indian River Lagoon prompted emergency declarations in four counties.
The blooms are a growing problem. A 2014 occurrence in Lake Erie disrupted the drinking water for more than 200,000 in Toledo, Ohio, shutting down the city.