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GLIN==> Beach Bill Would Boost Funding, Public Health

Title: Beach Bill Would Boost Funding, Public Health

Alliance for the Great Lakes

Friday, April 25, 2008
Contact: Lyman Welch (312)939-0838 ext. 230

Beach Bill Would Boost Funding, Public Health

The Alliance, along with 17 other Great Lakes groups, is asking all 16 U.S. Senators in the Great Lakes states to co-sponsor legislation aimed at improving beach monitoring and funding.

Now before the Senate, the Beach Protection Act of 2008 doubles current federal beach funding to $60 million annually for state and local coastal beach health monitoring programs, public notification programs and pollution source removal through 2013.

“The Senate’s version of the Beach Protection Act allows states to spend a portion of their funding to remove pollution sources,” says Lyman Welch, Alliance Water Quality Program manager.  “We need to eliminate pollution at our beaches. The funding authorized through this bill will help states to identify and remove pollution sources to protect everyone who enjoys the beach.”

The legislation (S 2844), amends the Clean Water Act to reauthorize the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (“BEACH”) Act.  In addition to increasing funding, the bill would require the U.S. EPA to approve new rapid testing methods to reduce the public’s exposure to polluted water.

Since its passage in 2000, the BEACH Act has improved public health nationwide by authorizing the EPA to award grants for the creation of comprehensive beach monitoring and public notification programs for state and local recreational beaches.

The Alliance is urging people to contact their senators and ask them to sponsor S 2844. Groups that have joined the Alliance to date in signing onto a letter to Great Lakes senators seeking support for the legislation are:

The Door County Environmental Council, Freshwater Future, Friends of the Boyne River, Friends of the Branch River, Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers, Friends of Whiskey Island, Lake Macatawa Shoreline Association, Preserve the Dunes,, Religious Coalition for the Great Lakes, Save the Dunes Council, Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Clair River Channel Keeper, Surfrider Foundation-Lake Michigan Chapter, The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse Group of the Sierra Club, Water and Air Team Charlevoix, and the Western Lake Erie WATERKEEPER® Association.

For more information, see http://www.greatlakes.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=701&srcid=243

Susan Campbell
Communications Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes

Visit http://www.greatlakes.org