Federal Priorities

Each year, the Surfrider Foundation prioritizes a set of federal bills and funding opportunities to advance Surfrider's mission at the national level. We then encourage our U.S. network of chapters, members, and supporters to advocate in support of these bills and funding needs through grassroots advocacy and lobby days in Washington D.C. Listed below are Surfrider's Federal Priorities for 2017. We encourage you to contact your federal representatives, and participate in the Ocean Recreation Hill Day in Washington D.C. on February 15-16 to express support for these issues!

Clean Water - The goal of Surfrider’s Clean Water Initiative is to reduce ocean pollution so it is safe to surf, swim and play in the ocean. The water quality at our beaches is threatened by pollution from urban and agricultural runoff, sewage spills and overflows, and waste discharged into the ocean by industry, sewage treatment plants and power plants.  As a grassroots organization fighting for the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches, the Surfrider Foundation leans heavily on Environmental Protection Agency programs and regulations to ensure that the water that flows down to the beach is clean and free from pollution and that beachgoers have the information they need to avoid getting sick at the beach.  But the EPA's ability to continue to meet its mission of protecting clean water and public health is under threat by looming  budget cuts and executive orders and proposed legislation aimed at repealing and rolling back environmental and health safeguards.  Learn more about our efforts to Save the EPA and its ability to meet its mission by ensuring qualified leadership, sufficient funding and regulatory authority.  

Surfrider is also advocating for continued federal funding for the BEACH Act, which supports beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs in coastal states, and we oppose any attempts to prevent implementation of the Clean Water Rule that restores Clean Water Act protections for intermittent streams and wetlands that support clean water at the beach.

Ocean Protection - Surfrider is working to Defend NOAA's Budget, so the agency can continue to provide strong management of our ocean and coasts, as well as weather forecasting and climate change research. The Trump administration has proposed a budget cut of nearly $1 billion, including elimination of funding for coastal management, estuary reserves, coastal resilience, and Sea Grant - programs that go to the heart of Surfrider's mission. Surfrider is also fighting to Stop New Offshore Drilling in U.S. waters to protect our ocean and coastal communities from this polluting and dangerous industry. The Trump administration has announced plans to revise the 5 Year Offshore Drilling Plan, putting the Atlantic, Pacific, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Arctic potentially at risk of new oil rigs. Finally, Surfrider is working to defend the National Ocean Policy, which provides a roadmap for advancing the stewardship of our ocean and coastal ecosystems. Specific priorities include the successful implementation of regional ocean plans that protect the marine environment and recreational uses. 

Plastic Pollution - Surfrider works at the federal level to support laws that address prevention and reduction of plastic ocean pollution.  WIth the success of the 2015 Microbead-Free Waters Act we know that there can be bipartisan movement to keep plastics and microplastics out of the ocean.  We will continue to look for opportunities to attack plastic pollution at the federal level.  Surfrider Foundation's Rise Above Plastics program has been successful in educating the public and decision-makers about the harms of plastic pollution like single-use bag pollution; there are now 275 local plastic bag bans nationwide and the voter-affirmed statewide bag ban in California.  Surfrider works at the federal level to support laws that address marine plastic pollution like the Save Our Seas Act of 2017 and federal legislation to regulate single-use plastic bags to help eliminate this common form of plastic pollution.

Climate Change - Surfrider is working to influence policy at the national and local levels to advance climate change adaptation measures and curtail ocean acidification. In 2017 we will urge the new Administration to not withdraw from the Paris Agreement. This unprecedented agreement brings together over 190 countries to focus on curbing climate change.  We will also be opposing legislation H.R.673 to prohibit United States contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Green Climate Fund.  In addition, Surfrider will continue to engage in high-level policy reform discussions (including reform for insurance and subsidy programs, legislation requiring state and federal adaptation, and improving federal emergency response plans to extreme weather events). Visit our climate change page for more information.