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Governor Cuts Ocean Testing Funds

San Diego environmental groups are upset with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's line-item veto eliminating all state funding for beach water quality monitoring. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has

Governor Cuts Ocean Testing Funds

San Diego environmental groups are upset with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's line-item veto eliminating all state funding for beach water quality monitoring.  KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

The Governor's veto means monitoring in the state's 15 coastal counties - including San Diego County - could be severely reduced because of the nearly $1 million cutback.

Bruce Reznik is the Executive Director of San Diego Coastkeeper.

He says the state's budget crisis is real.

Reznik: But I think we need to prioritize issues that are related to public health and safety as well as the environment.

He says for a relatively small amount of money in the state budget, the program has a huge impact.

Since 1999 the County Department of Environmental Health has received state funds to monitor the water between San Onofre and the U.S. / Mexico border. 

Reznik says the testing has helped promote clean beaches during that time.

Reznik: We have to stay vigilant. And if we kind of turn our backs on monitoring the health of our waterways it's very easy to envision the health of those waterways being degraded relatively quickly.
 
Heal The Bay Water Quality Director Kirsten James says Schwarzenegger's decision to eliminate all state funding for beach water quality monitoring is a blow to a successful statewide program.

James:
It's the tenth anniversary so we should be celebrating the successes and not looking to a future of less and less monitoring.

Serge Dedina is Executive Director of Imperial Beach-based Wildcoast.

He calls Schwarzenegger's veto a "catastrophic step backward for the state and especially for San Diego."

Dedina says the reduced  testing can literally mean the difference between sickness and health for millions of people who swim in the ocean and play at the beach everyday.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

 

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