WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) last Friday reintroduced H.R. 1132, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act, a bill to provide much needed federal funding to help revive the Bay Area’s wetlands, improve water quality, and protect coastal communities from the damaging effects of sea level rise.
The Bay Area generates more than $370 billion in goods and services annually and is home to more than three and a half million jobs. It is also home to the largest estuary on the West Coast and over 100 endangered species.
“It should alarm us all that over the last 200 years, 90% of the Bay’s wetlands have been destroyed by human activity. While we have made some progress in restoring this national treasure to its former glory, much more must be done,” Rep. Speier said. “In the past, we have received less funding than watersheds that are smaller and less populated. That must end. With Democrats holding the majority in the 116th Congress, I am confident that we will succeed in getting our fair share of federal dollars for critically-needed restoration funds.”
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. H.R. 1132 is a critical step forward in the process of providing the funding needed to restore this natural habitat.
The bill 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.
It 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.
The San Francisco Bay Restoration Act 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.