Please take a moment to read this and then call or write to our Senators! Share this with friends!
By defunding the Beach Grant Program, the Obama Administration is about to put you and your kids at risk next time you swim in the ocean.
Every year millions of American’s visit the coast for a swim in the ocean. Some of us swim or surf in the ocean hundreds of times each year.
Swimming, surfing and beach going are incredibly healthy activities as long as you wear sunscreen and you don’t get sick from polluted ocean water.
Sadly, in many areas along the coast, the ocean water is polluted from urban runoff. Last year, there were 24,091 beach closures and advisories for dirty water in the US.
Just like health safety inspections for food, we rely on water quality monitoring and reporting to ensure that the water we recreate in is safe. In 2000, when the federal BEACH Act was passed, water quality monitoring made big advancements in setting standards and funding monitoring programs to ensure your safety.
Sadly, when Obama released his budget proposal yesterday, which included a detailed document (1475 pages!) summarizing the EPA’s spending, it states that Obama would eliminate the program that provides grants to “develop and implement program to inform the public about the risk of exposure to disease-causing microorganism in the water at the nation’s beaches.”
Here is the quote from the budget:
In this difficult financial climate, the Agency will eliminate the Beaches Grant Program with a reduction of $9.9 million in FY 2013. While beach monitoring continues to be important, well-understood guidelines are in place, and state and local government programs have the technical expertise and procedures to continue beach monitoring without federal support.
Given that tourism and recreation along our coasts generated over 70 billion dollars and supported 1.7 millions of jobs in 2004 alone, an annual expenditure of 10 million dollars spread across all coastal states (you can see the state by state break down here) to protect the health of beach goers seems like a worthwhile investment.
We have an opportunity this week (March 19th) to urge our Senators to support New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg in asking the Senate Appropriations Committee to restore funding for water quality monitoring. Here are the 3 easy steps to encourage your Senator to join him.
1. Find your state and identify your Senator(s) here.
(Download .pdf of Senator contact list here.)
Note: This list includes only Senators identified because of their influence on the Committee on Appropriations. If your Senator is not on the list you can help us out by contacting them via this action alert. Thanks.
2. Tell them to support federal funding for the Beach Act
How to tell them:
1. Phone – best
2. Internet -okay
3. Twitter – not bad
4. All three – activist ninja
What to say:
Phone & Internet:
Hi, my name is [your name] and I live in [your state]. I would like to urge Senator [your senator] to support funding for the EPA’s Beach Grant Fund.
More specifically, I encourage you to join Senator Lautenberg in sending a letter of support to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies to fund the Beach Act. Thank you.
Dear @[your senator] I urge you to support funding for EPA’s Beach Grant fund via the Appropriations Committee (via @surfrider) #wwd
3. Share this with your friends
Find background information here: http://bit.ly/no_monitoring
After you’ve done the above (and perhaps attained Activist Ninja status), let us know in the comments below!