While Congress did not meet their October 1st deadline to pass a federal budget for next year, they did manage to agree on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government in operation until March 31, 2013. We were happy to find out that this CR includes level funding for the EPA BEACH Grants program which was proposed to be zeroed out by both the President's proposed FY2013 budget and the budget passed by the House of Representatives.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies also just released their draft spending bill for 2013, and they showed their support for this important program by proposing level funding for 2013 as well.
What does this mean? Will we actually see money disbursed out to the states to help pay for beach water testing programs next year, or in 2014 rather?
Communications from EPA program staff indicate that at least a portion of the $9.846 million included in the CR will be available to disburse to the states before the end of March. How big that portion is, is still unknown, but Surfrider will continue to ask Congress for full funding to extend throughout the year.
This recent show of support for the BEACH Act also gives the program better standing as Congress contiues to negotiate the federal budget throughout the end of this year, and likely into next.
To find out how you can plug into this campaign to support your local beach water testing programs, click here.