08 • 03 • 2021
Surfrider Statement on the Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure Package
The Senate bipartisan infrastructure agreement is an important first step towards addressing key national priorities, including stewardship of our coasts and ocean. While we acknowledge the meaningful collaboration across party lines, the package falls significantly short of the bold investments that are needed to tackle the critical issues of climate change, water quality and plastic pollution.
The bipartisan agreement increases annual funding for wastewater and stormwater treatment by roughly $3 billion annually through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. While this represents an impressive increase, it is still insufficient to address our nation’s $270 billion backlog in maintenance and repair needs. Upgrading our nation’s crumbling wastewater treatment systems is essential to stop sewage spills at the beach and protect public health, the environment and the economy.
The agreement includes important provisions to address the climate emergency, yet fails to provide sufficient funding for coastal restoration projects that are critical to climate adaptation. Coastal restoration is a key part of a new infrastructure package that will create jobs and economic growth while increasing resilience to sea level rise and extreme weather events. The agreement includes roughly $2.6 billion in funding for NOAA, however Surfrider is joining hundreds of groups across the U.S. in calling for Congress to invest $10 billion in coastal and ocean restoration through the infrastructure package and other federal investments.
The Senate agreement includes support for marine debris assessment, prevention and removal, but fails to address the root causes of the plastic pollution crisis, such as the proliferation of single-use plastic and rampant production of virgin plastic. The House of Representatives notably added language to incorporate the Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act, a provision to prohibit plastic pellets from entering our waters from plastic production infrastructure, to their original infrastructure package, the INVEST in America Act. However, this was not included in the senate bipartisan version.
The Surfrider Foundation will continue to push Congress and the Biden administration to provide strategic federal investments that will drive an equitable recovery, tackle the climate change emergency and protect our coasts and ocean.
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