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Latest Buzz on The Beach Act Reauthorization

Thanks to every CWN Member who signed on to the letter asking the U.S. House Transportaton & Infastructure Committee (T & I) to support HR 2093, the BEACH ACT Reauthorization Bill.

Unfortunately, the T & I Committee supported amendments to make weakening changes to the bill last week . One of the amendments would define a rapid test for beach monitoring, as one that takes 6 hours or less even though molecular tests now in use take less than 4 hours.  A second amendment was passed that would eliminate the authorized funding for cleaning up identified sources of beachwater pollution.  Such funding is necessary because the other principal source of funds, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), is very unlikely to fund cleanup of smaller sources, such as leaky bathhouses at beaches.

There is however another opportunity in the Senate in S. 878 (and as the bill proceeds in the House) to pass a stronger bill.  Markup is not yet scheduled in the Senate, but may be as early as Thursday, the 11th. We will need your help in the Senate where there is support for stronger legislation.
Here’s what S. 878 does:
Reauthorizes the BEACH Act of 2000 for 5 years; Doubles the amount of funding available to states, to $60 million, so that a greater number of beaches can be monitored and more frequent monitoring can be conducted; Allows funds to be used for pollution source detection and cleanup to prevent future incidences of closings and advisories; Requires EPA to approve and states to use rapid test methods for monitoring beachwater pollution; Speeds up requirements to notify beachgoers immediately after contamination is found; Requires public health authorities to notify environmental agencies when contamination is found at the beach; and Requires compliance reviews to ensure that state and local programs receiving federal funds are meeting the minimum requirements of the BEACH Act. If you need additional information please contact Nancy Stoner at Nstoner@nrdc.org. Stay tuned for further developments on how you can help in the Senate!

There is however another opportunity in the Senate in S. 878 (and as the bill proceeds in the House) to pass a stronger bill.  Markup is not yet scheduled in the Senate, but may be as early as Thursday, the 11th. We will need your help in the Senate where there is support for stronger legislation.

Here’s what S. 878 does:

Reauthorizes the BEACH Act of 2000 for 5 years; Doubles the amount of funding available to states, to $60 million, so that a greater number of beaches can be monitored and more frequent monitoring can be conducted; Allows funds to be used for pollution source detection and cleanup to prevent future incidences of closings and advisories; Requires EPA to approve and states to use rapid test methods for monitoring beachwater pollution; Speeds up requirements to notify beachgoers immediately after contamination is found; Requires public health authorities to notify environmental agencies when contamination is found at the beach; and Requires compliance reviews to ensure that state and local programs receiving federal funds are meeting the minimum requirements of the BEACH Act. If you need additional information please contact Nancy Stoner at Nstoner@nrdc.org. Stay tuned for further developments on how you can help in the Senate!