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TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to stand up for the Chesapeake Bay

Mar 07, 2017 03:15PM ● By Cate Reynolds

Photo by Bill Portlock/CBF Staff.

The federal Office of Management and Budget wants to cut funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program by more than 93 percent. The Chesapeake Bay Program is vital to protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Its work has helped crab and oyster populations rebound and Bay grasses thrive. Cuts to its programs could reverse years of hard-won progress and threaten clean water for the nearly 19 million people who call the Chesapeake Bay watershed home.

Sign the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's petition right now to ask Congress to preserve funding for the Chesapeake Bay—the nation’s largest estuary and a treasured resource to all those in the watershed. 

Alix Murdoch
Federal Policy Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation


According to an article on the front page of last week's Washington Post, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is proposing to cut funding in support of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

The OMB proposal reduces funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program from about $73 million annually to $5 million (a little more than 93 percent) in the next fiscal year. EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates science, research, and modeling as well as grants to state and local governments to help reduce pollution.

The Washington Post report is very concerning. Drastically reducing funding for the successful Bay cleanup begun in 1983 by then-President Ronald Reagan does not square with President Trump's remarks to Congress and the country about clean water.

Bay restoration efforts are working. There is measurable progress in restoring local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. Our State of the Bay score was the highest it has ever been. Crabs and oysters are rebounding, the dead zone is getting smaller, and Bay grasses are at their highest level in decades.

The progress is the result of the federal and state partnership implementing the Clean Water Blueprint, as well as the work of citizens, businesses, and local governments all doing their share to reduce pollution.

The proposed reduction in federal investment in EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program would reverse restoration efforts. The EPA role in the state-federal cleanup is nothing less than fundamental. It's not just important; it's critical.

The Blueprint has bipartisan support. Chesapeake Bay Task Force co-chairs Congressmen Bobby Scott (VA), Rob Wittman (VA), Andy Harris (MD), and John Sarbanes (MD) from 17 members of Congress recently sent a letter to President Trump, calling on his administration to continue full funding of Bay restoration efforts.

Click here to read the Congressional letter, CBF's analyses on how what's happening in Washington, D.C. right now could affect Chesapeake Bay restoration, and information about what you can do to help. 

The OMB proposal is only the first step in developing EPA's budget, and we hope that the Trump Administration and Administrator Pruitt's EPA will want to take advantage of a program that's successful, bipartisan, and non-controversial. It works.

We urge all local partners—residents, businesses, watershed groups, universities, and state and local governments—to let their voices be heard now. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, call your representatives, share your thoughts on social media. Exercise your participation in the democratic process!

Thanks for your continued support and stay tuned.

William C. Baker
Chesapeake Bay Foundation