The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) praised Congress for including a $2.5 million increase for the Chesapeake Bay Program in the $1.4 trillion fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending package it passed last night. President Trump is expected to sign the measure into law in the coming days.
Since fiscal 2021 began on October 1, the government has operated on a series of continuing resolutions extending fiscal 2020 spending levels because Congress failed to pass fiscal 2021 funding legislation on time. The fiscal 2021 omnibus included a provision to continue funding the government at 2020 levels through December 28 to allow Congress time to print the nearly 5,600-page measure and send it to the White House for the president’s signature.
The Chesapeake Bay Program saw its fiscal 2021 budget increase by $2.5 million to $87.5 million from $85 million in fiscal 2020 as Congress rejected the Trump administration’s bid to slash its funding by more than 91 percent, down to $7.3 million.
EPA administers the Program, which coordinates cleanup initiatives among the federal, state, and local government partners, conducts monitoring and research, and helps fund local restoration projects in communities across the watershed.
The omnibus also served as the legislative vehicle to move the final version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020. That legislation more than doubles funding authorized for fish and wildlife habitat restoration in the Bay watershed from $40 million to $90 million.
CBF Federal Executive Director Jason Rano issued this statement on the fiscal 2021 omnibus:
“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation appreciates that a broad, bipartisan majority of Congress again endorsed additional funds for the Chesapeake Bay Program, refusing the Trump administration’s dangerous attempt to dismantle this essential program for the fourth year in a row.
“As we approach the 2025 deadline to put the Chesapeake Bay and its waterways on the path to recovery, it is more important than ever for the federal government to lead the way with generous investments in restoring this precious environmental and economic resource.
“We look forward to working with the Bay delegation in the new Congress to secure the full $90.5 million authorized for fiscal year 2022 in the recently passed legislation to reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program through 2025.
“CBF is particularly grateful for the hard work and commitment to Bay restoration of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Bay delegation’s Appropriations Committee members in both chambers, Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger, Andy Harris, and Matt Cartwright, and Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Shelley Moore Capito, Chris Coons, and Joe Manchin.”