Over the next few days, 151 Surfrider activists, surf industry leaders and ocean enthusiasts will be in Washington, D.C. to advocate for stronger protections for our coasts and ocean.
Surfrider’s Coastal Recreation Hill Day, now in its seventh year, has engaged more than 600 chapter members, student club leaders, ocean spokespeople, and corporate partners with their representatives in Congress and White House administrations to advocate for our ocean, waves and beaches.
This year, 23 U.S. states and territories are represented. We are calling for more action on three key issues - plastic pollution, clean water on our beaches, and climate resilient coastlines.
Each year, more than 11M metric tons of plastic enters our ocean. Plastic pollutes throughout its entire life cycle, from production to disposal. This is why Surfrider is asking for laws aimed at reducing plastic pollution at the source. We are calling on Congress to ban needless single-use plastic, promote refill and reuse systems and cease promoting plastic recyling as a justification for increasing plastic production. We hope to do this through legislation like last session’s Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act.
Meanwhile, significant upgrades are needed for our failing wastewater infrastructure and our nation needs to do a better job of keeping people safe from polluted water on our beaches. Every year, more than 900 billion gallons of wastewater goes into our waterways. Since December 28, more than 20 billion of gallons of sewage has flowed into the Tijuana River on the U.S. Mexico Border in Southern California.
We need more action to ensure our safety when we surf, swim and play at the beach.
So we are asking for the largest investment to date - to the tune of $15M - in the EPAs Beaches Environmental Assesment and Coastal Health Act Grants Program to fund beach water quality monitoring and public notification. We are asking for $3 billion for the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund to upgrade our failing wastewater infrastructure and we are advocating for $100 million for the Border Water Infrastructure Program to put an end to the ongoing sewage crisis on the U.S.-Mexico Border.
Last, we will be in D.C. to advocate for nature-based and ocean climate solutions to help coastal communities prepare and respond to climate change. We are asking for comprehensive climate legislation like last session’s Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act to plan for sea level rise, invest in ecosystem restoration and ensure that climate planning is inclusive, just and equitable.
We also need to prohibit new offshore oil and gas development through the West Coast Ocean Protection Act and Coast Anti-Drilling Act.
Surfrider has a busy few days ahead, but we couldn’t be more excited to advocate for these strong solutions to better protect our coastlines.
If you would like to make your voice heard during this year’s Coastal Recreation Hill Day, please take action here.