Change Begins Onshore

Restore Beach Act Funding

Restore Beach Act Funding

The goal of this campaign is to get Congress to pass a budget that includes at least level funding for the BEACH Act grants program that supports beach water quality monitoring and ensures national safety standards are followed at beaches across the country. This funding is essential to protect public health for the millions of people who visit our nation's beaches every year and the multi-billion dollar coastal economies that they support.

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May 29 2012

President proposes to eliminate federal funding for beach programs for the third year in a row.

The President's FY2015 budget release on March 4, 2014, proposes, for the third year in a row, to eliminate all funding for the EPA's BEACH Act grant program that supports water-testing programs at beaches around the country.  After Congress restored funding for the BEACH Act in their 2014 compromise budget bill passed earlier this year, Surfrider was hopeful that the President would see the value in investing in U. S. beaches and protecting the health of more than a 100 million annual beach visitors.

Without this funding, beach programs in many states will be forced to cut back or completely close shop, leaving surfers, swimmers and other beach-goers at risk of contracting waterborne illnesses such as diarrhea, nausea, ear and eye infections and skin rashes.

“The President’s proposed program savings of less than $10 million, will be putting coastal tourism and recreation economies valued at nearly $90 billion at risk,” says Surfrider Foundation’s Water Quality Manager, Mara Dias. “The potential public health cost could result in more people being exposed to polluted water at the beach and will also dwarf any potential savings.”

Surfrider will working hard throughout the year to build support in Congress to restore funding for the beach and water testing and public notification programs supported by the EPA’s BEACH Act grants program. Families have the right to know if a day at the beach will make them sick.

May 29 2012

Saving Beach Water Testing Programs

While the House of Representatives released a draft bill this summer that agreed with the President's budget for FY2014 by eliminating all funding for the EPA Beach Grant program, the Senate's proposal is more favorable.  The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the Interior & the Environment, chaired by Senator Reed from RI, released their draft bill this past week and proposed to restore funding for this critical EPA program.  View the Senate draft bill and explanatory statement online.

The EPA Beach Grant program provides assistance to all coastal states to help them pay for their beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs.  Without continued funding for this program, we will surely see less testing happening at the beach and people will not have the information they need to decide if a day at the beach could make them sick or not.  Read more history on this funding issue and the beach grant program here.

We will continue to try to build support for beach water testing programs as summer ends and Congress returns to DC to continue their negotiations over the federal budget.  Join Surfrider in asking your Congressional representatives to support beach water testing programs by clicking here.

Click on the photo below to watch a brief (2.5 min) video of Senator Reed and the Director of the RI Dept. of Envionmental Management speaking of the value of beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs.

Since the passage of the BEACH Act in 2000, the EPA has been awarding federal beach grants to coastal and Great Lake States to pay for their beach water testing programs. The administration, however, has proposed to eliminate all funding for this program for the third year in a row, leaving coastal states and the beach-going public to fend for themselves. If federal funding for this program is not restored we will see fewer beaches being tested and less often, the elimination of winter testing programs and possibly the loss of some state beach monitoring programs in their entirety. Surfrider is looking to Congress to once again restore the approximate $10 million annual appropriation to the FY 2015 budget. This is a small price to pay to protect our coastal tourism-based economies and a family's right-to-know if a day at the beach could make them sick.

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  • Chapter:
  • State: --
  • Country: USA
  • Theme: Clean Water
  • Launch Date: February 13 2012
  • Completion Date: Ongoing