04 • 26 • 2017

Coalition to Save Beach Water Testing Programs and #SavetheEPA

By Mara Dias

With looming budget cuts to both EPA and NOAA heavy on our minds, Surfrider joined forces with Riverkeeper and Clean Ocean Action to draft a letter to federal appropriators in Congress asking them to reject these cuts and to support level funding for the EPA BEACH Grants Program in the FY 2018 budget.  Over 100 environmental, public health and research organizations that operate on the national, regional, state and local levels signed onto this letter of support, which was sent into both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees for the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.  View letter here.  

As a grassroots organization fighting for the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches, the Surfrider Foundation leans heavily on EPA programs and regulations to ensure that the water that flows down to the beach is clean and free from pollution, and continued funding for the BEACH Grants program is critical to providing beachgoers with the information they need to avoid getting sick at the beach.  Beach water quality monitoring and public notification programs funded through the BEACH Act are also necessary to protect public confidence in healthy beaches, which fuels coastal tourism and recreation economies that are worth over $100 billion and provide 2.15 million jobs nationwide (National Ocean Economic Program).  

To continue to fight back against the cuts being proposed by the President Trump's administration, we are now asking coastal businesses to sign onto this petition to speak to the importance of clean water and healthy beaches in supporting thriving coastal businesses, communities and coasts.  

It isn't only budget cuts though that are threatening the EPA's ability to meet its mission of protecting the environment and public health, but a whole series of executive orders and adminstrative actions aimed at rolling back and repealing many environmental, clean water and public health safe guards.  The latest threat is a new 'public' process that the EPA has undertaken under the direction of Administrator Pruitt to evaluate existing regulations that can be “repealed, replaced, or modified.” See U.S. EPA, Office of Water:  Feedback on Reducing Regulatory Burden.   Directly from the letter Surfrider signed objecting to the very limited opportunities that the public has to understand, react and give input into this process (along with over 100 other environmental organizations nationwide):  

We object to the false premise that public safeguards are holding back our nation. In reality, environmental protections have saved lives, improved health, conserved resources and spurred innovation, all while allowing for economic growth and providing far more in benefits than they cost. There is no evidence that EPA is saddling industry with numerous outmoded or unnecessary regulations. EPA should ensure that it runs an open and balanced process if it is to get a true picture of what regulations are doing for Americans and how they feel about them. It is vital that you put in place a process that provides the public with adequate notice and the ability to meaningfully comment.

Read full letter here.  The EPA is holding a public listening session on Tues May 2nd from 11-2pm EDT.  Visit the Office of Water website to register by this Friday, April 28th if you are interested.  Only 150 phone lines are available nationwide, and they will be assigned at random from all who preregister, so…

Good Luck to us All!