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Clean Beaches Strategy
In April 2004, the Bush Administration announced its commitment to further protect the water quality of the nation's beaches and to ensure compliance with the Beaches, Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000. The Administration's Clean Beaches strategy includes a Clean Beaches Plan, grants to states for beach monitoring and notification programs, technical guidance, scientific studies and Federal water quality standards to backstop state and territorial efforts where necessary.
The BEACH Act of 2000 requires coastal states, including those bordering the Great Lakes, to adopt up-to-date pathogen criteria by April 10, 2004 to protect beach goers from harmful bacteria. The Act provides that, if a state fails to meet this deadline, EPA must promptly propose Federal standards to protect that state's beaches. To date, only 11 of the 35 affected states and territories have adopted up-to-date criteria for pathogens. EPA proposed revised standards for pathogens for the states and territories that have not yet done so.
In May 2004, EPA began awarding grants to states and territories to augment their monitoring of beaches and reporting to the public when the beaches are closed for health reasons. Almost $10 million in grants are available to eligible States and territories to protect public health at the Nation's beaches. The grants provide funding to monitor water quality at beaches and to notify the public of beach warnings or closings while reducing the risk of exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in the water. The grants are available to 35 eligible states and territories, and are awarded based on criteria including the length of beach season, the miles of beaches and the number of people using those beaches.
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