October 11, 2000: SAN CLEMENTE, CA – The Surfrider Foundation is pleased to announce that S. 522 the Beaches Environmental Awareness and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (B.E.A.C.H. bill) sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) was signed by President Clinton late Tuesday evening.
“This is the most sweeping legislation ever regarding national ocean water quality testing. Surfers have become the indicator species and this is a personal achievement that our members and beach users in general will benefit from. After all, we wear that water every day,” said Surfrider Foundation’s Executive Director, Christopher Evans, Esq.
The B.E.A.C.H. bill establishes consistent nationwide standards for beach water quality monitoring, testing and notification.
“Beachgoers won’t have to hesitate before going for a dip. They’ll know what they’re getting into when they go for a swim,” said Elizabeth Sturcken, President of the Surfrider Foundation.
Water quality standards vary wildly from state to state. In fact, several states lack any testing or monitoring of their coastal water quality. It was this lack of any national standards that inspired Surfrider Foundation to establish its Blue Water Task Force volunteer water-quality testing program in 1991. This program helped shed light on the often-overlooked water quality problems in our coastal areas and provided the public with valuable information about the health of their local beach.
The House of Representative’s version of the B.E.A.C.H. bill (HR 999) passed by unanimous consent on Earth Day last year and was written by Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) with assistance from Surfrider Foundation National Legal Issues Team member, Gary Sirota, Esq.
Over the last several years, the Surfrider Foundation and its 50 grassroots chapters in 16 coastal states has worked with a coalition of groups, including Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Marine Conservation, and American Oceans Campaign on making the B.E.A.C.H. Bill a reality. For more information on the B.E.A.C.H. Bill, see http://www.surfrider.org/press_releases/beachbill1.htm