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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 12, 1998


To help protect the nation's beaches and coastal waters -- as well as public health -- Vice President Gore is announcing a new website listing beach advisories and closings, and a coordinated strategy to respond to toxic algal blooms. He and President Clinton also are calling on Congress to fully fund the Administration's Clean Water Action Plan.

Despite significant progress in protecting our beaches, bays and coastal waters over the past quarter century, the job is not done. Many beaches and coastal areas remain threatened by bacterial contamination from sewage, polluted runoff from farms and city streets, and ocean dumping. Each year, thousands of beaches are closed to swimming because of pollution. And toxic algal blooms are choking marine life, threatening fishing and disrupting coastal economies.

In February, the President launched the Clean Water Action Plan -- a comprehensive blueprint for completing the job of cleaning our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The plan will set strong goals and provide states, communities and landowners with the tools and resources to meet them.

New initiatives under the plan that will protect coastal areas include:

       An Environmental Protection Agency website offers important
     information on beaches, including which beaches are monitored for
     microbial pollution, which have advisories issued because of
     pollution, and how to find out more. The new Beach Watch Program
     internet site is found at A similar
     website site is being developed to provide easy access to national
     fish advisories.

      The Beach Action Plan is a five-year strategy to develop stronger,
     faster and more accurate beach monitoring programs for states, to
     strengthen beach water quality standards, to improve public access 
     to information on beach water quality, and to increase research to
     address problems related to skin, upper respiratory tract, as well 
     as eye, ear, nose and throat infections in swimmers.

      Federal agencies will develop a coordinated response system to
     support state and local efforts to address toxic algal blooms such 
     as Pfiesteria, red and brown tides, and other harmful organisms.
     Agencies will work with states, academia, and others to implement 
     the National Harmful Algal Bloom Research and Monitoring Strategy.

      Federal agencies will work with coastal states and territories to
     ensure that, by December 1999, they have developed enforceable 
     plans to reduce polluted runoff in coastal areas.

Full Funding for Clean Water. The President's budget proposes an additional $568 million in fiscal year 1999 -- a 35 percent increase -- and a total increase of $2.3 billion over five years to carry out the Clean Water Action Plan. The President and Vice President are calling on Congress to approve those funds to ensure clean, healthy water for all Americans.