Coastal Preservation, Ocean Protection, Water Quality
February 13 2018

President’s Budget for 2019 Cuts Funding for Clean Water and Coastal Management

by Mara Dias

The Trump administration has released its 2019 President's Budget which proposes enormous funding cuts to clean water, coastal and ocean management, and climate change programs. Fortunately, the final budget will need to be approved by Congress.

As Congress continues to haggle over 2018 federal government spending levels, the Trump administration has released a budget proposal for next year that doubles down on attacking clean water and healthy beaches. The President's Budget for FY 2019 proposes steep and sweeping cuts for both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). Critical federal programs administered by these agencies that protect the health of swimmers and other beachgoers and help coastal communities prepare for extreme weather, are at risk of being completely eliminated.

Environmental Protection Agency

Tasked with protecting human health and the environment, the EPA is facing a whopping 34% funding cut. A budget reduction of this magnitude would eliminate agency staff and several critical programs that are necessary to reduce pollution and protect clean water at the beach and in coastal watersheds. Of particular concern is the complete elimination of the BEACH Act Grants program that helps coastal states fund their beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs. Without this funding, beach programs in many states will just stop. Most of the regional grants that help fund habitat restoration and water quality protection efforts will be eliminated as well, including those in the Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, South Florida Everglades and the Long Island Sound. In addition, other programs will be impacted that assist local communities to reduce sources of water pollution, such as the National Estuaries Program and the Non-Point Source Grants program. Find out budget details for EPA here

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)

Likewise, over $1 billion in cuts proposed for NOAA will mean the elimination of several important programs that benefit all Americans. NOAA is the lead federal agency responsible for managing our nation's ocean and coasts, as well as monitoring weather and climate. Americans profit from NOAA every time we check the weather, visit the seafood counter, plan a trip to the beach, and more. Two programs on the chopping block this year, the Coastal Zone Management Program and Sea Grant, assist states and coastal communities with protecting coastal resources, enhancing public access and recreation opportunities, and stimulating sustainable, economic development.  

All federal funding for NOAA’s Coastal Resilience Program, which provides tools and resources for communities to address the impacts of extreme weather and climate-related hazards, has also been eliminated. In fact, major reductions in funding have been proposed for climate change programs at both agencies. It is really disappointing that the administration is turning a blind eye to the dire needs of coastal communities across the country in terms of preparedness and repair after a devastating hurricane season. These communities support ocean and coastal economies that contribute $359 billion annually to the nation’s GDP and support three million jobs! Find more budget details for NOAA here.  

What Can You Do to Help?

If there is a silver lining to the bad news coming out of the administration this week, it is that with the passing of last week’s budget deal, which set top-line spending targets for the next two years, Congress resoundly rejected the massive cuts that the Trump Administration proposed just last year to EPA and NOAA. Our representatives in Congress heard loud and clear from their constituents that the President’s proposal would be bad for our health, our livelihoods and the continued prosperity of our thriving coastal economies.

Join Surfrider in asking your members of Congress to once again push back against these debilitating cuts proposed in the President’s Budget for FY 2019. Remind Congress that clean water, healthy beaches and resilient coasts are important to you and everyone who lives, works and plays at the coast.

  • Make Your Voice Heard. Send an email to Congress to reject the President’s budget proposal and support level funding for EPA and NOAA in next year’s budget. Just click here.
  • Get Involved. Attend a Surfrider chapter meeting. You’ll learn how you can work side by side with our Surfrider network of volunteers to ensure clean water and safe, accessible beaches in coastal communities across the country. We are fighting campaigns at the local, state & federal level to protect our coasts and to ensure safe and healthy beaches for everyone. Find the closest chapter to you here.
  • Donate. The urgency of the work on the ground has never been more important. Opening up your wallet and becoming a member, renew or give an additional donation will help fuel our network of volunteer coastal defenders with the resources we need to win at this most critical time. Please join us at: Surfrider.org/support-surfrider.