Bipartisan BEACH Act proposed by Joyce

A bipartisan bill sponsored on Feb. 1 by U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act regarding the reauthorization of federal funding for grants that support beach monitoring.

The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2024, H.R. 7203, would reauthorize $30 million for fiscal years 2024 through 2028 to help state and local governments test, monitor, and identify contamination in recreational waters, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Joyce’s staff. The bill has three original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).

“Every year, Ohio families and tourists across the country flock to the Great Lakes to enjoy the beaches, spurring economic growth in the region,” Rep. Joyce said. “The BEACH Act ensures that beaches and the surrounding waters remain clean and safe for generations to come.”

If enacted, H.R. 7203 also would expand eligible uses of BEACH Act grants to include identification of sources of contamination to help address the root causes of a contamination issue that BEACH Act funds are already being used to monitor, the summary says.

Additionally, the bill would expand the eligible testing locations to include shallow recreational waters adjacent to beaches where young and elderly citizens typically play and swim and are therefore more at-risk for contamination, states the summary. 

“New Jersey’s beaches are a treasure, and this bill will help make sure they remain clean and safe by improving our current water quality monitoring system and giving states and communities greater flexibility to use grants in a way that best addresses local conditions,” said Rep. Pallone. “I’m grateful for my House colleagues who share my concern for healthy coastal water, and I look forward to getting the bill across the finish line.”

H.R. 7203 is supported by the Surfrider Foundation, the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association, Environment America, and the Coastal States Organization.

“I encourage my colleagues in Congress to advance this legislation to protect our natural treasures,” Rep. Joyce said.