While we all tuned in this morning to see whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, we at CBF are also wondering how federal programs critical to the Bay clean-up effort will fare in 2022. As the 2021 State of the Blueprint report revealed, the Clean Water Blueprint is working but time is running out to save the Bay. We are in the second year of the Biden administration and the second session of the 117th Congress, and there is a lot at stake!
As we continue to advocate for the Bay in Congress, we wanted to share with you a few of the most important federal issues we’re tracking:
- Fiscal year 2022 funding. The federal government has been operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) since October! That means that federal funding levels are still at what was planned for Fiscal Year 2021, and for the Bay that means that there is still no funding for Chesapeake WILD. The latest CR will expire on February 18, and we hope Congress will pass an FY 22 appropriations package and fund Chesapeake WILD—a critical program to restoring habitat in the Bay watershed.
- Fiscal year 2023 funding. President Biden will be releasing his budget in the coming weeks and that will start the process for securing funding for FY 23. We will be working hard to ensure robust funding for programs that are critical to Bay restoration, like the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, NOAA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, and Chesapeake WILD.
- Funding for agricultural conservation programs. Farmers in the Chesapeake region must come up with 80 percent of the remaining pollution cuts necessary to restore the Bay and its waterways. Congress is considering legislation that would boost funding for federal agricultural conservation programs and we hope that USDA will direct more funds to the watershed. We must help farmers in the watershed by securing this funding—and you can help. Sign our pledge today to tell Congress to support the watershed's farmers!
- Regulatory re-dos. Remember all the regulatory programs that were weakened by the last administration? The Biden administration has already begun the process of undoing those rollbacks, but a lot of work remains to strengthen them so they adequately protect the Bay. Stay tuned for more information on expected regulatory proposals regarding the National Environmental Policy Act, Waters of the United States, and automobile efficiency and emissions standards to name a few!
This Groundhog Day, whether we feel a bit like Bill Murray or not, one thing is certain: With you by our side, we will never stop fighting for our Bay. We will continue to keep you posted on critical clean water issues at the federal level. We will be needing your voice to strengthen ours every step of the way.