Fact Sheet: President Clinton: Strengthening Protection for Our Beaches and Coasts (10/10/00)
  President Clinton: Strengthening Protection for Our Beaches and Coasts
                             October 10, 2000

President Clinton today signed new legislation to strengthen protection for
America?s  beaches  and  coasts  by requiring states to adopt coastal water
quality  standards  and  notify  the  public  when  they are not being met.
America?s  coasts are the number one family vacation destination, and these
new protections will ensure that fewer families arrive at the beach only to
discover  that  it  is not safe to go in the water.  The legislation, which
builds  on  the Administration?s strong record of protecting and conserving
America?s  coasts  and  oceans, also provides assistance to states to carry
out  these new efforts. The President also urged Congress to fully fund his
requests for ocean and coastal conservation programs.

Ensuring  a  Healthy  Trip  to  the Beach. The President signed the Beaches
Environmental  Assessment  and Coastal Health Act.  The act aims to improve
the  health of America?s beaches and give visitors the assurance that trips
to the beach will be healthy ones. The Beach Act amends the Clean Water Act
to accomplish the following:
?    Adoption of state water quality standards for coastal recreational
waters;
?    A national assessment of potential health risks resulting from
exposure to pathogens in coastal recreation waters;
?    Improved detection of pathogens harmful to human health;
?    Improved public notice ? including beach signage ? that coastal waters
are not meeting or are not expected to meet water quality standards; and
?    A publicly available database of discrete coastal recreation waters
that lists whether such waters are part of a monitoring program.

Only  a  few states currently comprehensively test their beaches and notify
their  citizens  when  they are unsafe, and last year coastal states issued
thousands  of  beach closures and advisories. The Beach Act calls on states
to  adopt minimum standards for beach water quality, regularly test beaches
for  pathogens,  and  notify  the public of unsafe conditions. The act also
includes  a  $30  million  authorization  through  2005 to assist states in
developing and implementing monitoring plans.

Safeguarding   Our  Oceans  and  Coasts.  The  Clinton-Gore  Administration
continues to work for healthier beaches and cleaner coastal waters, greater
protection  for  endangered  and threatened marine species, sound fisheries
management,  and  support  for  marine  protected  areas. To better address
long-term  challenges,  the President and Vice President launched the Clean
Water  Action  Plan,  and  a  national  dialogue leading to a comprehensive
strategy for strengthening federal ocean policy for the 21st century.

The  President  urged  Congress  to  fully  fund his requests for ocean and
coastal  conservation  programs  so that communities around the country may
enjoy healthy beaches and clean waters for years to come.

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