(WASHINGTON, DC)—The U.S. Senate today passed a package of fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills that includes a more than $5 million increase for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program. Through the hard work of Sen. Van Hollen, the Senate Appropriations Interior-Environment Subcommittee last month raised the program’s budget from the fiscal 2019 level of $73 million to $76 million.
Sen. Van Hollen and Sen. Ben Cardin helped secure another $2.28 million for the program today through an amendment offered by Sens. Gary Peters and Rob Portman to increase funds for conserving specific waterbodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. The amendment brought total Senate funding for the program, which coordinates the multi-state effort to restore the Bay watershed, to more than $78 million for fiscal 2020.
In June, the House increased fiscal 2020 Bay Program funding to $85 million. The House and Senate must next reconcile their differing spending levels.
Following final passage, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Federal Executive Director Jason Rano issued this statement:
“Increasing investment in the Bay Program is essential as we move toward the 2025 deadline to have programs and practices in place that will restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.
"We thank the Senate for increasing funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program, particularly Senators Van Hollen and Cardin, as well as Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski and ranking Democrat Tom Udall. We’re also grateful to Senators Gary Peters and Rob Portman for their leadership.
“As the House and Senate work to reconcile spending differences, CBF will work with the region’s Congressional delegation to enact the $85 million investment passed by the House.”