(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) expressed its strong support for the Moving Forward Act, which passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 233-188. The $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment package includes several provisions critical to restoring the Chesapeake Bay and the local creeks, streams, and rivers across six states and the District of Columbia in its watershed.
CBF is particularly pleased the Moving Forward Act contains language to reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. The legislation calls for the Program to receive a total of $455 million for fiscal years 2021 through 2025. The Program coordinates the activities of the federal, state, and local partners in the watershed-wide Bay cleanup effort.
Among other important provisions, Moving Forward would also provide funding for two programs crucial to financing projects at the heart of the cleanup. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) provides states with low-cost loans to upgrade local wastewater treatment and stormwater systems. The bill authorizes a total of $40 billion, or $8 billion annually, for the CWSRF from 2021 through 2025. It provides for another $1 billion for states to tackle nonpoint, or diffuse, sources of pollution, such as agricultural and stormwater runoff.
During floor debate, the House added several amendments CBF supports, including language to:
- Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network through 2025, by Chesapeake Bay Task Force leaders Representatives John Sarbanes, Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, and Andy Harris.
- Create a program to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed by investing in green infrastructure, habitat preservation, and ecosystem restoration, by Representatives Scott, Sarbanes, and Wittman.
- Create a grant program to encourage utilities to partner with nonprofit organizations to provide free or discounted trees to neighborhoods to reduce energy costs and temperatures while providing jobs and engaging local communities, by Representatives Sarbanes and Doris Matsui.
CBF Federal Executive Director Jason Rano issued the following statement:
“The Moving Forward Act would make significant and necessary investments to help watershed states and communities meet the fast-approaching 2025 deadline to implement pollution controls under the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint.
“CBF is proud to endorse this important legislation. We thank members of the House Bay delegation for their hard work ensuring the bill includes provisions vital to restoring and preserving the Chesapeake Bay and its waterways.”