Blue Water Task Force, Water Quality
December 16 2014

Beach Water Testing Programs Saved Again

by Mara Dias

Funding for the EPA BEACH Grants program was saved by Congress for the third year in a row, with the passage of the $1.1 trillion federal spending bill this week.  While concessions were made by both Democrats and Republicans in order to pass a funding bill for FY 2015 and to avoid another government shutdown, Surfrider is very pleased to see that this bill includes level program funding of  $9.549 million to keep state and local beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs in operation for another year. 

Surfrider has been working with a coalition of motivated NGOs across the country to preserve the EPA Beach Grant program since the Administration first proposed eliminating its funding back in 2012.  This win would not have been possible without the support and leadership of Senators Reed (RI), Menendez (NJ), Nelson (FL), Whitehouse (RI), and Merkley (OR) in the Senate and Representatives Waxman (CA) and Pallone (NJ) in the House.  Learn more about our campaign here.  

The EPA BEACH Grants program is authorized under the BEACH (Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health) Act of 2000.  Since the BEACH Act’s initial passage, Surfrider has been working hard to both secure federal funding and to improve the EPA’s oversight of this critical public health program.

The EPA BEACH Grants provide annual funding to support state and county-run beach water testing programs.  Beach-goers depend on these programs to know whether it is safe to go in the water or not.  Through our Blue Water Task Force, Surfrider Chapters collaborate with state and local beach programs to help disseminate water quality information, cover more beaches, and identify and fix water pollution problems. 

The FY 2015 federal budget approved by Congress now goes to the President for his signature, and Obama has pledged to sign the bill.

Surfrider now looks ahead to next year’s budget and insuring long-term funding for the EPA BEACH Grant program.  Join us in asking President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to include level funding for the program in the President’s FY 2016 budget.  Click here to send an email to make the same request.

More than 100 million people visit US beaches every year. We deserve to know if a day at the beach will make us sick.