Rep Speier Passes San Francisco Bay Restoration Act

Article Source:  U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s (CA-14) bill to provide $25 million in federal funding each year to revive the Bay Area’s wetlands, improve water quality, and protect coastal communities from the damaging effects of sea level rise. H.R. 1132, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act, passed the House of Representatives by voice vote and heads to the Senate for consideration.

“Over the last 200 years, 90 percent of the Bay Area’s wetlands have been destroyed by human activity. We know that by 2030, the damage to the San Francisco Bay – which generates more than $370 billion in goods and services annually, and is central to the region’s booming economy and home to over 3.5 million jobs – will be irreversible. This is beyond a wakeup call; we are now in a fight for life and without radical environmental action and federal support, the future of this delicate but critically-relied upon region is in grave danger,” Rep. Speier said. “We have made some progress in restoring this national treasure to its former glory, but so much more must be done. To make matters worse, we have consistently received less funding than watersheds that are smaller and less populated in the past. With the passage of H.R. 1132, the Bay Area is finally on the right track to get desperately needed federal dollars.” 

In August 2018, the GAO published a report on the S.F. Bay Delta Watershed and found that the lack of sufficient federal funding is one of the biggest risks to long-term restoration efforts needed for the survival of numerous species, including more than 100 endangered species. H.R. 1132 authorizes $25 million each year for five years to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to award grants to conservation and restoration projects, consistent with the federal Clean Water Act’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for San Francisco Bay. These funds will match the $25 million that the local Measure AA is expected to raise annually. The bill will also establish a San Francisco Bay Program Office within the EPA and authorize the EPA Administrator to appoint a Director of that Program Office to oversee federal funding.

Rep. Speier’s bill is supported by the entire Bay Area Congressional delegation, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representatives Anna Eshoo, John Garamendi, Ro Khanna, Jared Huffman, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Jerry McNerney, Mark DeSaulnier, Eric Swalwell, and Mike Thompson.

Watch Rep. Speier's floor remarks on the bill here.

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