B.E.A.C.H. Bill Heads To Senate

The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (B.E.A.C.H. bill) is heading to the U.S. Senate floor for passage during this 106th Congress, and the Surfrider Foundation is riding on the wave of support for the legislation.

San Clemente, CA – In a rally today outside the U.S Capitol steps (on the Senate side at “The Swamp”), the Surfrider Foundation joined many others to ride on the wave of support for the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (B.E.A.C.H. bill) cruising toward passage this 106th U.S. Congress. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Work recently passed the BEACH bill (both S. 522/H.R. 999), and a vote on the Senate floor is getting closer each day. Both Surfrider Foundation and American Oceans Campaign (AOC) are very optimistic that, after 10 years of working and pushing hard, this legislation may very well get signed into law this year.

The rally today featured thoughtful and encouraging speeches in support of the BEACH bill by U.S Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), U.S Representative Brian Bilbray (R-CA 49th District), Michael Newman, (“Baywatch” star and host of the Discovery Channel program “Narrow Escapes”), Barbara Jean Polo (Executive Director, AOC), and Darryl Hatheway (Surfrider’s Federal Policy Analyst in Washington DC). There were also Surfrider representatives on site from the Wash DC-Capitol, Ocean City (MD), and Delaware Chapters, along with AOC staff from CA and Wash DC, and Congressional staffers.

Mike Newman brought his star power to the rally and spoke of his own personal experiences with beach closures in Los Angeles County and the impact that poor water quality and associated health risks can have on day-to-day lifeguard operations. The other speakers also brought forward their personal experiences and expressed the need for the BEACH bill today – it was great day for all!

Surfrider’s Darryl Hatheway said, “The event is another encouraging sign that this legislation has wide public and bipartisan support. The BEACH bill is necessary so that we can finally have uniform and consistent beach water quality standards for all 27 coastal states. Surfrider and AOC have continued to work together to get the BEACH bill to where it is today, and it looks like the House and Senate will make sure that this bill gets to the President for signature before the 106th session is over this fall.”

Chris Evans, Surfrider’s Executive Director, concurred with that assessment and said, “We believe that our nation’s passion and love of its beaches and coasts is exactly what is driving the BEACH bill forward in Congress. The Foundation’s new ‘State of the Beach 2000’ report clearly identified that degraded beach water quality poses a great risk to the beach loving public, and that there is little to no public notification on these risks nor access to beach water quality data – this is unacceptable.”

The Surfrider Foundation is an international 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to protection and preservation of our world’s coastal zones. Founded in 1984, today it consists of nearly 30,000 members in 50 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, with international affiliates in Australia, France, Japan, Brazil and Canada.