For the fourth year in a row, the Trump administration has released a federal budget proposal for FY 2021 that includes massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - both lead federal agencies responsible for managing clean water and healthy, resilient coasts.
Critical federal programs administered by these agencies that protect the health of swimmers and help coastal communities prepare for extreme weather are at risk of being completely eliminated in the President’s Budget for FY2021.
Environmental Protection Agency
Tasked with protecting human health and the environment, the EPA is facing a whopping 26.5% 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 that help local communities reduce sources of water pollution, such as the National Estuaries Program and the Non-Point Source Grants program have also been zeroed out by the President’s budget. Details of EPA’s FY2021 budget request here.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
NOAA, the lead federal agency responsible for managing our nation's ocean and coasts and monitoring weather and climate is likewise facing a 14% funding cut in the President’s Budget for FY 2021. 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. NOAA’s Coastal Resilience Program, which provides tools and resources for communities to address the impacts of extreme weather and climate-related hazards, is also affected by the proposed cuts.
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 over $124 billion annually to the nation’s GDP and support 2.4 million jobs!
What Can You Do to Help?
The good news is that Congress has resoundly rejected the massive cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for EPA and NOAA three years running now. With your help our elected officials in Congress have been hearing loud and clear that these bad proposals from the President’s administration are 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 by the President’s Budget. Remind Congress that clean water, healthy beaches and resilient coasts are important to you and everyone who lives, works and plays at the coast. Click here to send your email to Congress.