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Surfrider’s Hill Day Puts Ocean and Coastal Protection on the National Agenda

Last week, over 160 grassroots activists and community leaders took part in Surfrider’s 8th annual Coastal Recreation Hill Day to advocate for stronger protections for our ocean and coasts. In just 48 hours, 163 Surfrider chapter volunteers, student club representatives, and staff met with 142 Congressional offices. Attendees made the case for our federal leaders to advance coastal resilience by supporting coastal clean water programs for our beaches, fighting plastic pollution, and prohibiting new offshore oil drilling. 

This year Surfrider advocated to protect clean water by calling for elevated funding of $15 million to the EPA BEACH Act Grants Program in the 2025 federal budget. At still just half the authorized funding level for this critical national water quality testing and public notification program, this would help fill the gaps of current testing efforts and ensure more people know where it’s safe to surf, swim, and play in the ocean. Surfrider also built support for the BEACH Act of 2024, a bipartisan legislation that Surfrider’s own water quality experts helped inform, that would allow greater flexibility in how states use their BEACH Act funding to better fit and protect local water quality issues.

To turn the tide on plastic pollution, Surfrider educated over 140 offices on the issue of microplastics, including pre-production plastic pellets called nurdles. Nurdles plague our coastlines due to insufficient regulation of plastic production, manufacturing and transport facilities that release trillions of these plastic particles into the environment each year. Surfrider is a strong supporter of the Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act, a straightforward common-sense bill that would simply prohibit the release of these plastic pellets from industry.

Lastly, Surfrider continued to build opposition for new offshore oil drilling, a dangerous and dirty practice that exacerbates climate change, exposes marine life to toxic chemicals, and threatens coastal economies from inevitable oil spills. The delegation advocated for a package of proactive bills that would prohibit new offshore oil drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States, including off of the West Coast, Alaska, East Coast, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico, banning this harmful practice once and for all.

This year’s Coastal Recreation Hill Day continues the lasting legacy of Surfrider’s annual federal advocacy event. Over eight years, "Hill Day" has engaged over 1,000 activists in 1,012 bipartisan meetings with their federal officials. Not only do these impactful events put coastal protection on the national agenda, they provide valuable, life-long skills that empower and inspire participants, including training in public speaking, civic engagement, advocacy, and community building. This is especially the case for Surfrider’s Student Club attendees, which learn about career opportunities, form impactful connections, and build confidence. Surfrider volunteers then bring these skills back to their communities to further advance local policies that protect their coastlines, public health and marine ecosystems.

Interested in supporting Hill Day, getting involved with Surfrider and taking action to support proactive policies for our coast? Visit!