Recently the Capitol Chapter Executive Committee sent letters to Congressman Denny Heck, Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell asking them to uphold important funding programs for federal agencies that directly support beach and ocean health. Check out the letter:
Here’s a quick recap from Gus Gates, our WA State Policy Manager, on what’s been going on since we sent out these letters:
NOAA– Members of the House and Senate have begun their work to develop a congressional spending bill. Unfortunately, the House’s budget proposal is almost as damaging as the one released by the Trump administration. While the House version does include support for Sea Grant, Ocean Exploration, and National Estuarine Research Reserves, it would still cut funding for NOAA by $700 million, including a 50% slash to the Coastal Zone Management program. The good news is that the Senate proposal is much stronger. The Senate bill includes level funding or slight increases for Coastal Zone Management, Climate Research, Fisheries Management and other core ocean and coastal programs.
EPA– The House appropriations bill does include level funding for the Beach Act at 9.59 million. The House EPA bill also gives more funding to the regional programs (great lakes, Chesapeake, Puget Sound) but some regions have been left out (S. Florida, San Fran).
For a more in-depth look at this issue, check out this recent blog post from Surfrider’s Environmental Director Pete Stauffer.
While we’ve received support from Heck, Murray and Cantwell, there is still plenty more work to be done to ensure our oceans and beaches receive the federal funding protections they need. If you’d like to write a letter to your representative, send an op-ed to your local newspaper, or need other ideas on how to get involved, send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll work on it together!