The legislation — HR 2537 — would reauthorize the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act that was enacted in 2000.
The BEACH Act amended the Clean Water Act to require States with coastal recreation waters to adopt water quality criteria and standards for waters with pathogens and pathogen indicators that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified.
Last week, Miller spoke on the House floor to urge her colleagues to reauthorize the legislation, which would provide assistance to many Michigan recreational beaches and offer protections for those that would use the waters. Miller released a statement Wednesday saying, “In Michigan we are incredibly blessed to be surrounded by the Great Lakes which provide incredible recreational opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming.”
Millions of Michigan residents and visitors from out of state come to Michigan to enjoy these activities, the congresswoman went on to say in her statement. “In fact, Great Lakes beaches provide recreational opportunities for more than 30 million people each year,” she added.
Miller said she feels this program could have been designed with her district in mind.
“Frequent and proper monitoring is a critical tool in this area for our water intakes and also for our beachgoers,” she said in her statement. “It is important for us to know what the bacteria levels are in these waters before we permit them to unwittingly expose themselves to harmful pathogens, which can cause sicknesses ranging from sore throats to skin infections to hepatitis.”
The BEACH Act has provided resources to help state and local governments ensure that Michigan’s beaches are safe for recreational activity, Miller said. “In many ways, the BEACH Act has been successful,” her statement reads. “This reauthorization bill improves it.”