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house Bill H.R. 944

Should the Programs That Keep Estuaries Clean be Re-Funded?

Argument in favor

This bill provides critical funding to estuaries. Estuaries are home to a whole cornucopia of diverse flora and fauna. We must protect them.

Owen's Opinion
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06/02/2015
The maintenance of estuaries creates jobs, promotes the surrounding environment, and provides for educational scenarios.
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ebolaza's Opinion
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06/06/2015
Taking care of our natural environment is a no brainer. This should have never been de-funded in the first place!
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Allislight's Opinion
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06/06/2015
The water is polluted with chemicals, pharmaceuticals, farm waste, and mercury that is impacting everyones health but especially children and pregnant women. We keep adding new chemicals into the environment without understanding the longterm effects. So yes, please focus on improving the water quality and cleaning up the toxic sites (coal ash ponds) that sit along our waterways waiting for disaster to strike.
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Argument opposed

There are so many other more critical needs that the U.S. should be funding, before it even thinks about pouring money and resources into estuaries.

Eddie's Opinion
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06/02/2015
If you are appropriating money to take care of estuaries, why is only 15% of the money going for that, while 80% goes for bureaucratic costs? Swap those numbers, then fund it.
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ThomasParker's Opinion
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06/05/2015
Leave this to the private sector, which has an incentive to sell a reproducible product in order to maximize profit over the longer term. I do not envy the fate of the things government has attempted to protect.
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CallofMcClellan's Opinion
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06/02/2015
Should be handled at the state/local level.
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What is House Bill H.R. 944?

This bill seeks to promote the environmental wellness of estuaries by renewing their federal funding. Recap: estuaries (and nearby wetlands) are the bodies of water where rivers (fresh water) meet the sea (salt water). 

First and foremost, this bill reauthorizes the National Estuary Program (NEP). A part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the NEP is tasked with making sure that estuaries are clean and able to provide a safe environment for wildlife.

That’s not all. This bill also authorizes and encourages the NEP to promote a new grant program. Applicants competing for the grants would have to demonstrate that they’re tackling issues like:

  • The destruction of seagrass
  • Algae blooms
  • High mortality rates for marine mammals
  • Invasive species
  • Too many jellyfish
  • Flooding
  • Low levels of oxygen in estuary waters

To accomplish all of this, the bill allows the Administrator of the EPA to appropriate a cool $27 million for each year from 2016 to 2020. At least 80 percent of this money would have to go to developing and monitoring the programs for which states and regional governments could receive grant money. At least 15 percent would have to go to making the awards themselves.

Impact

Estuaries, the flora and fauna that live in them, people that visit estuaries, surrounding bodies of water, the NEP, and the EPA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 944

$27.00 Million
This bill appropriates $27 million from 2016 to 2020. The CBO estimates that implementing it would take $116 million over the course of the same period.

More Information

Of Note: Alright, let’s get this out of the way: middle school biology was a long time ago. You don’t know an isthmus from an estuary. That’s fine.

An estuary is a body of water that’s connected to both rivers and the ocean, though it’s partially enclosed from it. The water in estuaries in brackish—it’s salty, but not as salty as the ocean. Puget Sound in Washington is one. Chesapeake Bay and San Francisco Bay are, too. New York City has seven: the Hudson River, the East River, Long Island Sound, Newark Bay, Upper New York Bay and Jamaica Bay.

Because of their unique water conditions, estuaries play an important role for wildlife. Birds often stop and rest at them while migrating. Many fish depend on them as a spot to reproduce. But they’re also important to humans—you’ll notice that all the estuaries above are home to major U.S. cities—who dump all sorts of noxious stuff into them. Hence their protection by the NEP.


In Depth:

This bill has bipartisan support. It amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act —better known as the Clean Water Act — which regulates facilities that can cause water pollution. The House passed a previous version of this bill in the 113th Congress, but it never saw a vote in the Senate. The current version is set to expire in 2020.


Media:

Summary by James Helmsworth

(Photo Credit: Flickr user USFWS Pacific Southwest Region)

Official Title

To reauthorize the National Estuary Program, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • The house Passed June 1st, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Water Resources and Environment
    IntroducedFebruary 12th, 2015

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    The maintenance of estuaries creates jobs, promotes the surrounding environment, and provides for educational scenarios.
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    If you are appropriating money to take care of estuaries, why is only 15% of the money going for that, while 80% goes for bureaucratic costs? Swap those numbers, then fund it.
    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
    The water is polluted with chemicals, pharmaceuticals, farm waste, and mercury that is impacting everyones health but especially children and pregnant women. We keep adding new chemicals into the environment without understanding the longterm effects. So yes, please focus on improving the water quality and cleaning up the toxic sites (coal ash ponds) that sit along our waterways waiting for disaster to strike.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Taking care of our natural environment is a no brainer. This should have never been de-funded in the first place!
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Anything that helps protect the environment is never wasted spending.
    Like (9)
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    We are losing too much natural habitat as it is!
    Like (6)
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    Leave this to the private sector, which has an incentive to sell a reproducible product in order to maximize profit over the longer term. I do not envy the fate of the things government has attempted to protect.
    Like (5)
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    The health of our estuary systems directly impacts our water quality, and our ecosystems, with impact reaching far beyond the estuaries borders. Fully funding (not shorting the funding as too many elected officials love to do) is critical for the health of our water sources. Supporting this should be a "no brainer".
    Like (3)
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    Think of the creatures who live in these waters! They have no choice in their environment - water is a precious resource for all creatures. You cannot drink money. We need clean waters.
    Like (3)
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    Protecting the environment is one of the best ways to protect and defend the country from disaster. This is national defense, and it is important that it gets done.
    Like (2)
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    Should be handled at the state/local level.
    Like (2)
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    As long as this keeps the environment clean and safe.
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    Stop funding every other country on earth! Do that and we will have plenty of money here at home.
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    Should be handled at the state and local level.
    Like (2)
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    Protecting and maintaining clean waters is the most important issue of our time. Without clean water, humans will not survive.... the campaign to brainwash our population that this is a hoax has no basis, no scientific proof and serves no one. Do not be fooled, you too depend on water!
    Like (2)
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    Of course they should
    Like (1)
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    End run by the corrupt EPA trying to get their funding reinstated. Pathetic
    Like (1)
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    It is important to protect any part of the environment. Any money we can direct towards protecting our planet should help protect our planet.
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    No-brainer
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    Our land is so important. Please keep funding to keep it clean.
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