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MIAMI (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed a bill authorizing $82 million for new research aimed at controlling toxic algae outbreaks. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., sponsored the bill.

The legislation streamlines existing national efforts to study and fight harmful algae blooms nationwide. It amends the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998.

When Congress authorized the funding earlier this month, Nelson said it would "help battle the algae that's been choking off life in Florida's waterways," causing economic, environmental and health problems for state residents.

The president of the advocacy group Ocean Champions applauded the legislation Monday, saying that the frequency and intensity of algae blooms are increasing.

David Wilmot says harmful algae outbreaks cost the country nearly $100 million a year.

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