All of us who love the Chesapeake Bay breathed a sigh of relief when Rep. Scott Taylor recently went to bat for the bay in Congress.
The president's budget has proposed eliminating funding for the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program, threatening to reverse all the progress made in restoring our waters. Fortunately, the House Appropriations Committee recently supported restoring $60 million to the Bay Program, still shy of the current level of $73 million ("House committee votes to slash Chesapeake Bay cleanup by $13 million," July 19).
However, this is a promising first sign from Congress. Rep. Taylor championed the Bay Program to the committee, rightly calling the Chesapeake a "national treasure," and vowed to continue to push for full funding as Congress finalizes the budget. The result? Committee leadership committed to work with him as the process goes forward.
It is heartening to see this region's strong bipartisan push for the bay. Recently, Congressman Bobby Scott planted oysters on the Lafayette River, while Congressman Rob Wittman joined constituents on Clean the Bay Day. Rep. Don McEachin has urged support for bay restoration. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are defending the bay Program on the other side of Capitol Hill.
The future of the Bay Program is critical to our future here in Hampton Roads. All of us who enjoy local seafood, fishing, boating and swimming should applaud members of Congress fighting to keep bay restoration alive. They are making a strong showing, and the bases are loaded.
Let's cheer them on so they can bring it home.