Congress passed a bill yesterday to expand the testing of coastal waters for pathogens and encourage states to warn beach goers when water is contaminated, and President Clinton is expected to sign it into law. The bill would offer states about $150 million over five years as an incentive to establish beach monitoring and public notification programs. Currently, only 11 states have drawn praise from environmentalists for such programs, and enviros hope that number will now grow significantly. The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), is in a tight race for reelection and is pointing to the bill to burnish his green credentials.

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