WASHINGTON – The House approved $3 million Wednesday to fight Pfiesteria – the third and latest federal effort to secure money to combat the fish-killing microbe.
After weeks of discussion on Capitol Hill, the vote is the closest that lawmakers have come to making federal help for the Pfiesteria problem a reality.
The money would go to Pfiesteria research and monitoring efforts that would be run through the Environmental Protection Agency.
The funds were attached to the agency’s annual funding bill by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. The bill passed the House 405-21 and now awaits Senate approval before going to President Clinton.
The proposal is one of three congressional efforts aimed at securing money to provide answers to why the microbe, which has killed fish in three Maryland waterways, assumes its toxic form and what affect it has on humans.
Last month the House included $7 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its version of another spending bill.
That money, championed by Reps. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kent, and Steny Hoyer, D-Prince George’s, would be used to set up a multi- state effort to track the human health effects of the microbe.
House and Senate negotiators are meeting this week to shore up differences in their respective versions of that bill before sending it back to both chambers for final approval.
The House version of a third funding bill includes $3 million to give to states during a Pfiesteria outbreak and to conduct research. A House-Senate negotiating committee has yet craft a final version of that measure.