In December 2019, Congressional leaders finalized a budget deal for fiscal year 2020 reversing the Trump administration's proposed cuts and boosting funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program from $73 million in 2019 to $85 million this year.
Only weeks later, on February 10, 2020, the administration once again ignored the broad, bipartisan support the program enjoys on Capitol Hill and proposed slashing its funding down to $7.3 million next year. Once again, Congress stood up for the Bay Program in July 2020 with a fiscal year 2021 House appropriations bill increasing its budget to $90.5 million. But we continue to wait, as the appropriations process is on hold in the Senate. The House also defeated an amendment that would have prohibited the EPA from holding the six watershed states and the District of Columbia accountable for not meeting their pollution-reduction targets under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
Cuts to this vital work could undermine the trust, collaboration, and partnership between the states and the federal government established in the historic Chesapeake Bay Agreement, and threaten clean water for the more than 18 million people who call the Chesapeake Bay watershed home. That's why it's so important that we tell Congress we must accelerate our efforts—not slow them.
About the Chesapeake Bay Program
Since 1983, the federal government has been an important partner, with the watershed states and the District of Columbia, of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement and has supported the Agreement through the Chesapeake Bay Program.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is the heart of this federal-state partnership. Originally created under President Ronald Reagan, this program coordinates scientific research on the health of the Bay and provides matching grants that drive local investment in reducing pollution and improving the water quality of local waterways. In fact, more than 60 percent of Bay Program funds go to state and local restoration efforts.
The Bay Program has proven to be successful, bipartisan, and non-controversial. It's a critical part of the Bay restoration efforts that help crabs and oysters, shrink the Bay's dead zone, and allow Bay grasses to thrive. And its research and funding are critical to the success of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
With that in mind, here are a few resources to help you understand the issues at hand and to help you speak out on behalf of clean water everywhere.
- Five Reasons Why the Chesapeake Bay Program Is Critical to Saving the Bay
- Economic Analyses
- Actions you can take now
All of us who love the Bay and its rivers and streams, must continue to do our part in restoring it. Our economy, our environment, and our health depend on it.