Friday, October 10, 2008
Governor Vetoes Marine Debris Bill
After cutting the budget for water quality testing, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also managed to veto the few environmental bills that passed through the legislature, including an important, low-cost marine debris bill. Despite the environmental community's successful efforts to gain support from the commercial fishing community and bipartisan support in the Legislature, Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill addressing derelict fishing gear, SB 899 (Simitian). His veto message stated cost concerns with Dept of Fish & Game, even though the bill had a negligible cost and the Ocean Protection Council would have worked with UC Davis to pick up the bulk of reporting and data management responsibilities. Schwarzenegger also nixed a new fee on cargo ships at the port of Long Beach (also a top environmental effort).
Thursday, October 2, 2008
CA Beaches Lose Funding for Water Quality
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has used his line-item veto power to cut all funding (approximately $1 million per year) for beach water quality monitoring throughout the state. The funding is for California’s AB 411 monitoring program, in existence since 1999 and a model for many other state programs and the federal BEACH (Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health) Act. Surfrider Foundation activists were instrumental in advocating for both the state and federal pieces of legislation. The funding for monitoring had allowed state officials to identify beaches where high levels of bacteria from unknown sources pose a risk to public health and then communicate the information with the public. Now public health and the environmental health of our beaches are left at risk.
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