Estuaries are coastal transition zones between fresh water from rivers and saline water from oceans. These unique ecosystems protect water quality and provide a buffer against erosion which protects our coastal communities during extreme weather events. Also, healthy estuaries provide recreational opportunities, essential wildlife habitat, and commercial and recreational fishing.
The Clean Estuaries Act ensures that our nation's estuaries will better protect our communities and preserve wildlife habitat by:
- Requiring that estuaries in the NEP identify vulnerabilities to climate change and plan for adaptation responses
- Requiring that each approved estuary program be evaluated every four years and the results be publicly released
- Increasing federal attention to local priorities and requiring federal agencies to participate in the planning process
- Increasing the authorization for the program from $35 million to $50 million annually for fiscal years 2011 through 2016
Since estuaries are important to our public health and our wildlife, and play a major role in creating jobs and boosting local economies, no oil and gas development take place in National Estuary Program areas. This type of development would be inconsistent with goals and purpose of the NEP.
Funding and strengthening the NEP will protect the nation's estuaries from pollution, development and overuse. Protecting our nation's estuaries helps ensures clean water for our communities and a healthy environment for wildlife.
The House passed H.R. 4715, to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the National Estuary Program, by a yea-and-nay vote of 278 yeas to 128 nays, Roll No. 209. YES IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.