Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, has introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress to spend $1 billion to restore and clean up San Francisco Bay.
The bill, the San Francisco Bay Improvement Act of 2010, would give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about $100 million annually over a 10-year period to fund projects that would restore the health of the Bay, which has been harmed by pollution, invasive species, and the loss of wetland habitat, she said.
Speier said Congress has spent money on problems with other estuaries, including the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes, and she expressed hope that her fellow members of Congress would approve a bill for the Bay Area.
"I never predict whether a bill's gonna pass, but I don't introduce a bill without putting every effort to make sure it will end up on the President's desk," she said.
The bill was co-sponsored by the Bay Area's congressional delegation: Anna Eshoo, John Garamendi, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Jerry McNerney, George Miller, Pete Stark, Mike Thompson, and Lynn Woolsey.
The EPA has already included a plan for the Bay that includes hundreds of projects that would be eligible for funding if the bill were to pass, according to Speier. There are about 36,000 acres of publicly owned land that is in need of restoration, she said.
She said the reasons to restore the Bay include preserving the $8 billion tourism industry in the surrounding cities, and that "this area is ground zero for the sea level rise through climate change."