‘Help our kelp’: Lawmakers promote aid for underwater forests

By Rob Hotakainen | 03/18/2024 06:21 AM EDT

Seaweed will be on the agenda when a House Natural Resources panel examines legislation to provide more federal assistance for struggling kelp forests.

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) speaks during a House Natural Resources Committee markup on July 13, 2022. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Seaweed could get a boost on Capitol Hill this week when a panel of the House Natural Resources Committee considers legislation that would provide more federal aid for underwater kelp forest ecosystems.

H.R. 5487, the “Help Our Kelp Act,” is one of four set for a hearing Thursday before the Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries.

When Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) introduced the bill last September, he said that the changing climate, overfishing and poor water quality had damaged between 40 to 60 of the nation’s kelp forests over the last half-century.


As a fix, Huffman called for “an all-hands-on-deck approach” from the federal government to rescue the forests “before it’s too late.”