Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reporting from the Inauguration: A new day dawns for the Bay

by David Lewis, Executive Director

I’m huddled with my wife and two young daughters below the U.S. Capitol, watching Barack Obama’s historic swearing-in as the 44th President of the United States.

The spectacle is impressive – the huge throngs, the dramatic setting, the pomp and circumstance. The emotion and import is overwhelming –a nation founded upon legal slavery is actually installing an African-American as its national leader.

Most stunning: this dramatic transfer of power and enormous political shift is again accomplished peacefully and orderly, as it has been for more than two centuries.

So what will it mean for San Francisco Bay? We have reason to be optimistic that the federal government will start doing more to prevent pollution of our Bay and accelerate restoration for fish and wildlife. President Obama says a challenging economy actually presents an opportunity for bold steps to strengthen our environment and infrastructure – saving the Bay is a great place to start.

Save The Bay and our sister organizations from estuaries around the nation are already working with the Obama administration on an ambitious plan to increase federal funding for wetland restoration. Restored tidal marsh helps combat global warming by capturing carbon from the atmosphere, protects against coastal flooding, and provides wildlife habitat and recreation for people.

Creating jobs that rebuild the nation’s infrastructure should include upgrading stormwater and sewer systems so they stop trash, bacteria and other toxics from polluting our Bays and oceans.

Nancy Sutley, the new director of the Administration’s Council on Environmental Quality, knows San Francisco Bay and Save The Bay from her years of service on California’s Water Resources Control Board. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and many of our region’s Members of Congress are Bay champions.

These are all reasons for us to work harder than ever to make progress for the Bay.

Ways to help Save The Bay:
Sign up to volunteer
Join our Bay Saver Email Action Network
Become a Facebook Fan

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