(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker made this statement in response to the release of a letter to House Agriculture Committee leaders calling for protection of conservation funding in the upcoming debate over the federal Farm Bill. The letter, circulated by Congressman Chris Van Hollen, was signed by a bipartisan group of Representatives from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
"Reducing pollution from agriculture is a critical component of the ambitious Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, designed to put practices on the ground by 2025 that will restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. As the House turns to consideration of the Farm Bill, we appreciate the bipartisan support of the region's delegation.
"In these days of partisan gridlock, we commend Congressman Chris Van Hollen and his Democratic and Republican colleagues for working together to help save this national treasure. Clean water and a healthy farming economy are things that all can agree on. Implementing conservation practices on farms reduces pollution and improves the farmer's bottom line.
"The progress we have made shows what can be done when government, businesses, and individuals work together to improve the health of local waterways. Agricultural conservation practices are the least expensive way to reduce pollution, and any loss of funding will increase the costs for local citizens and governments."
The letter was signed by Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), James Moran (D-VA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), John Delaney (D-MD), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), John Carney (D-DE), Robert Wittman (R-VA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Matt Cartwright (D-PA).
A similar letter has also been submitted by Representatives of the Great Lakes region, who also recognize that agricultural conservation practices are essential for clean drinking water, recreation and tourism, and the jobs that depend on them.