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US Beach Water Testing Programs Saved

January 17 2014 | Blue Water Task Force, Water Quality,
by Mara Dias

Congress has passed a federal budget that includes 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. The EPA Beach Grant program provides assistance to all coastal states to help pay for their beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs.

In 2000, when the federal BEACH Act was passed, water quality monitoring made big advancements in setting standards and funding monitoring programs to ensure the public’s safety. Unfortunately, the President’s budget has proposed to eliminate all federal funding for this successful and critical public health program for the last two years.  More background on the President's proposal here.

"After a long-fought effort to defend and sustain the purpose of the BEACH Act to protect the nation's coastal water quality, we are very happy to see this decision out of Capitol Hill this week," said Surfrider Foundation’s Legal Director Angela Howe.

Just like health safety inspections for food, we rely on water quality monitoring and reporting to ensure that the water we recreate in is safe. In 2012, there were over 20,000 beach closures and advisories for dirty water in the U.S.

The Surfrider Foundation has been working hard to build support in Congress for the BEACH Act ever since the President first released his budget proposal to zero out funding for the program two years ago.  The President, however, quickly signed this funding bill that both houses have finally been able to agree upon.  We hope that the President's budget proposal for next year, FY2015, does not cut out the EPA Beach Grant program again.

The Foundation is able to achieve national successes like this one because of its supporters and their donations. Please visit surfrider.org/beachact to help the Surfrider Foundation in the fight for future coastal issues across the country.

Media coverage here:  Sun Sentinel

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