The Clean Water Act, adopted in 1972, set the goal of making all of our waterways safe for swimming. Nearly a half-century later, Americans visiting their favorite beach are still met all too often by advisories warning that the water is unsafe for swimming. And each year, millions of Americans are sickened by swimming in contaminated water.
An analysis of fecal indicator bacteria sampling data from beaches in 29 coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico reveals that 328 beaches – more than one of every 10 beaches surveyed – were potentially unsafe on at least 25% of the days that sampling took place in 2020.[i] More than half of all the 3,166 beaches reviewed were potentially unsafe for swimming on at least one day. Beaches were considered potentially unsafe if fecal indicator bacteria levels exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Beach Action Value” associated with an estimated illness rate of 32 out of every 1,000 swimmers.[ii]
To protect our health at the beach, policymakers should undertake efforts to prevent fecal pollution, including deploying natural and green infrastructure to absorb stormwater.
Fecal contamination makes beaches unsafe for swimming. Human contact with contaminated water can result in gastrointestinal illness as well as respiratory disease, ear and eye infection and skin rash.[iii] Each year in the U.S., swimmers in oceans, lakes, rivers and ponds suffer from an estimated 57 million cases of recreational waterborne illness.[iv]
Offshore Wind For America documents the potential of offshore wind in the United States, broken down by each coastal region and state. The Atlantic region as a whole has almost twice the amount of offshore wind it would need to power itself in 2050, and New Jersey has potential to cover 379% and 167% of its 2019 and 2050 electricity needs. The report also examines recent advancements
in turbine technology, as well as documenting existing offshore wind projects around the world.
After years of setbacks on the environment, in the Biden administration’s early days, it is critical that we take swift action to clean up our environment and address the climate crisis. There are several important environmental policies that can be set in motion on day one that will protect our natural landscapes and give Americans cleaner air, cleaner water and a more livable climate. This report lists the First Thigns to Fix.
Americans agree: Our nation’s infrastructure needs work. This report provides the blueprint that should form the basis of an infrastructure plan that will make America stronger today and lay the foundation for a brighter future.
Renewables on the Rise 2020 documents and compares the growth of five key clean energy technologies in each state over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. New Jersey has seen a 9.9-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun, ranking 8th in the nation, and a 1.7-fold increase in wind power production since 2010. New Jersey ranks 6th for growth in battery storage capacity since 2010 and the state ranks 7th in the nation for total electric vehicle sales.
Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.