The bill would also direct the EPA to annually compile a list of funding priorities for projects or studies that could lead to improvements in the Bay’s environmental quality. The studies or projects must include efforts for “(1) water quality improvement; (2) wetland, riverine, and estuary restoration and protection; (3) nearshore and endangered species recovery; and (4) adaptation to climate change,” according to the bill.
Within the past 150 years, 90 percent of the San Francisco Bay’s wetlands have been destroyed due to human activity, according to San Francisco Baykeeper, a Bay Area environmental nonprofit.
The bill has 10 co-sponsors, all from California, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Speier’s office noted that between 2008 and 2016, the EPA invested $45 million into the San Francisco Bay, compared to $260 million for Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest and $490 million for Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast.
“A mere $6 was spent on the Bay for each resident of the Bay Area, while almost $30 were spent for each resident living near Chesapeake Bay and almost $60 for residents near Puget Sound. This bill would also finally give the Bay the recognition it deserves,” Speier said.