Congressman Malinowski Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Protect and Restore Water Quality

Congressman Malinowski Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Protect and Restore Water Quality and Ecological Integrity

(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman Tom Malinowski introduced the Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the National Estuary Program (NEP). He was joined by original cosponsors Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-Tex.) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), fellow members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment.

Among other provisions, the legislation:

  • Increases funding for the NEP’s 28 estuaries of national significance, including the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program, of which the 7th District is a part;
  • Ensures that the management plans governing nationally significant estuaries consider the effects of recurring extreme weather events, and that they develop and implement appropriate adaptation strategies; and
  • Expands eligibility for NEP grants to organizations working to address storm water runoff, coastal resiliency, and accelerated land loss issues.

“Estuaries support a diverse array of wildlife, protect inland areas from floods and storm surges, and act as economic drivers for communities around the country,” said Congressman Malinowski. “I'm proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to protect these important waters, and to preserve the natural beauty of our state.”

“Along the Texas Gulf Coast, we know the importance of protecting the water quality and wildlife in our estuaries. Galveston Bay is a great benefit—supporting our economy through the Port of Houston and providing a natural habitat that protects us and enriches our quality of life,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “I am proud to join with my colleagues today to introduce this legislation to make sure that Galveston Bay and estuaries like it have the resources available to support their diverse marine life, maintain water quality, and encourage economic opportunity.”

“Representative Malinowski is demonstrating vision and leadership through his efforts to affirm strong congressional support for the National Estuary Program. This locally-based, non-regulatory program has an unparalleled track record of engagement with fishers, businesses, citizen groups, and government at all levels to develop a range of effective, durable solutions” said Rich Innes of the Association of National Estuary Programs. “It is designed to safeguard and restore the estuaries and bays which define our communities, and provide us with jobs, inspiration, and safe places to recreate and raise our families”.

“Each of the 28 National Estuary Programs mobilizes a diverse set of partners to improve the nation’s waterways through locally-supported, science-based action” said Rob Pirani, Director of the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program. “We appreciate the leadership taken by Congressman Malinowski and his colleagues to ensure that this vital federal program continues to serve communities in New Jersey and across the nation.”

The National Estuary Program, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, is comprised of a network of organizations working to improve the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries—areas where freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with salt water inflows from the ocean. The NEP was created by Congress in 1987 through amendments to the Clean Water Act.