(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauded the $5.5 million funding increase for the Chesapeake Bay Program included in the fiscal year 2021 spending bill reported out of the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday and made public today. The bill calls for the EPA-administered Program to be funded at $90.5 million in the coming fiscal year, once again refusing the Trump administration’s attempt to impose a draconian cut on the Program.
The administration’s 2021 budget proposed slashing Program funding by more than 91 percent, from its current level of $85 million to $7.3 million. The massive proposed cut came only weeks after bipartisan members of Congress had rejected the administration’s attempt to gut the Program and overwhelmingly approved a 2020 budget deal that boosted its budget from $73 million in 2019 to $85 million this year, further demonstrating the bipartisan commitment to a restored Bay.
The Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates the federal-state-local government effort to restore and preserve the Bay and its waterways across six states and the District of Columbia. The seven jurisdictions have less than five years remaining to fulfill their commitments for reducing water pollution by the 2025 deadline set in the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The additional Program funds are vital to their ability to meet this deadline.
CBF Federal Executive Director Jason Rano issued the following statement about the bill:
“Investing in the Chesapeake Bay Program and the cleanup effort it guides is a smart economic investment. The Bay and the local creeks, streams, and rivers that feed into it are a vital economic engine that supports key industries such as seafood, tourism, and outdoor recreation.
“This $90.5 million comes at a pivotal time. The watershed’s seven jurisdictions, particularly Pennsylvania and to a lesser extent New York, still have important work to do to meet the science-based water pollution limits set in the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. All jurisdictions must push forward aggressively to meet the 2025 deadline.
“CBF thanks the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee and the bipartisan House Chesapeake Bay delegation for their leadership. We urge the House Appropriations Committee to approve this funding so the jurisdictions can continue to make the necessary progress in the time we have left.”