1/5/11: Republicans Torpedo Bay Funding Bill

Republicans Torpedo Bay Funding Bill

Election year politics often makes for misguided legislative decisions. The health of San Francisco Bay fell victim to such politicking this year as Congress failed to pass The San Francisco Bay Improvement Act of 2010.

The Act was part of a package of water project bills that had broad bipartisan support, yet the new Republican party leadership decided that it was important to make a statement against “earmarks” by killing the bill containing funds for hundreds of clean water projects across the nation.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Senator Dianne Feinstein championed the effort to greatly accelerate restoration of San Francisco Bay. Their legislation would increase federal funding for the Bay to a level comparable to that of a handful of nationally significant restoration programs such as the Florida Everglades, Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. These bodies of water are deemed so critical to the ecological and economic health of the nation’s waters that Congress carved out a special program for them in the Clean Water Act. The program enables them to receive greater level of federal support to conserve their massive aquatic ecosystems.
If passed, the Feinstein-Speier bill would have provided funds to Bay Area cities, counties and natural resource agencies to reduce pollution, restore wetlands and expand recycled water programs, among many other beneficial projects. Congress routinely enacts these legislative packages that contain funding for essential public works projects. These bills are not collections of “earmarks” for special interests, but crucial legislation that does what the founding fathers intended Congress to do—promote the general welfare of all the nation’s citizens.
The Bay Institute worked closely with Senator Feinstein and Congresswoman Speier to advise them about the needs of the Bay. We will continue to support their efforts to enact this much-needed legislation in the new Congressional session.