We, the undersigned businesses and groups of the coastal recreation and tourism sector, are deeply concerned with budget cuts that have been proposed for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Of particular concern is the complete elimination of the BEACH Act Grants Program, which provides financial assistance to coastal states and territories to monitor water quality at the beach and to provide warning to beach-goers when bacteria levels exceed health standards.
Coastal recreation and tourism are major economic drivers for our communities and the nation as a whole. Valued at over $100 billion, coastal tourism and recreation industries support nearly 2.15 million jobs nationwide. If the BEACH Grants Program is eliminated, water quality testing at the beach will significantly be reduced and even completely stopped in many states. This will leave over 100 million U. S. beachgoers and recreational water users at risk of being exposed to bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that make people sick, but it also puts our businesses and the booming, multi-billion dollar coastal tourism economies that depend on public confidence in clean water at the beach at risk too. We just can’t afford to take that risk.
Please take a stand to ensure that a federal budget is passed that provides the Environmental Protection Agency with the funding and staff resources necessary to continue to meet its mission of protecting public health and the environment. We ask for at least level funding for the BEACH Act Grants Program that protects our families’ health at the beach and the continued success of our coastal businesses.