The Surfrider Foundation was alarmed this week when the Obama Administration released their FY2013 EPA budget. Among the notable cuts was the elimination of the $9.9 million federal Beach Grant Program.
The Beach Grant Program funds beach water quality monitoring efforts in coastal states across the country. With the loss of the funding, it is likely that many states will eliminate or significantly curtail their beach water quality monitoring programs.
Additionally, since the only stick the EPA has to enforce the current health standards is to withhold state beach grant monies, standards set by the BEACH Act may be ignored or otherwise compromised.
“The Surfrider Foundation has been working for decades to warn surfers and swimmers about the health risks of swimming in polluted water,” says Surfrider Foundation Environmental Director Chad Nelsen. “Eliminating the Beach Grant Program puts every beachgoer's health at risk because they won’t know when or where it’s safe to surf or swim.”
In response the Surfrider Foundation has initiated an online petition asking President Obama to restore the funding back to the budget: http://tinyurl.com/6rmtcws.
“These cuts represent the single largest attack on marine water quality standards in a decade,” says Nelsen.