Fairhaven, Massachusetts: citizens forced to choose another beach

While Barack Obama swims in the Gulf of Mexico, beachgoers in Fairhaven, Massachusetts were met with a nasty surprise last week when thousands of dead fish washed up on local beaches, causing a smell one young interviewee described as "wicked bad."

The dead fish, all of them menhaden (a species belonging to the herring family), also washed up en masse along the Delaware Bay in New Jersey.

Environmental experts are unsure of why the fish are dying, but don't believe pollution, a broken commercial fishing net, or toxic algae blooms are to blame.

The best explanation thus far is a lack of oxygen in the unusually warm water.

Beach Act: for safe sands and waters | Photo: Cumulus Clouds

For the third year in a row, Congress is considering a bill to reauthorize the Beach Act. This landmark law was first championed by Surfrider Foundation a decade ago.

The Clean Coastal Environment & Public Health Act of 2009 will increase the amount of federal dollars that can be spent on beach water quality monitoring and will modernize the technology we rely on to protect the health of the beach-going public.

It also expands the scope of the Beach Act to include tracking and cleaning up the sources of beach water pollution. The House of Representatives has passed this bill twice now, but it has not yet seen the Senate floor.

Urge your Senators to show their support for healthy beaches and robust coastal economies by cosponsoring the Clean Coastal Environment & Public Health Act of 2009. Don't let them put this off for yet another year!

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The Gulf of Mexico oil tragedy: green fields and oil aren't friends

The Obama Administration today issued new suspensions on deepwater drilling on the OCS that will last until Nov 30, 2010.

Last week a federal appeals court rejected the federal government's effort to impose an offshore deepwater drilling moratorium, opening the door to resumed drilling in the Gulf while the legal fight continues.

Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) to issue new suspensions of deepwater drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), saying a pause is needed to ensure that oil and gas companies first implement adequate safety measures to reduce the risks associated with deepwater drilling operations and are prepared for blowouts and oil spills.