The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauded the House Natural Resources Committee’s approval today of bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and boost funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Chesapeake Bay Office and expand environmental education about the Bay.
Introduced by Reps. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), and Jen Kiggans (R-Va.), the Chesapeake Bay Science, Education and Ecosystem Enhancement (SEEE) Act would ensure that NOAA continues as an essential member of the federal-state partnership to restore habitat, enhance ecosystem functions, and reduce water pollution in the Bay watershed. The bill number is H.R. 4770.
The NOAA Bay Office is one of the key agencies implementing large-scale oyster restoration projects at the heart of the Bay restoration effort. Its hands-on Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program teaches the next generation of Bay stewards about the scientific value and wonders of the Bay ecosystem.
CBF Maryland Executive Director Allison Colden testified in support of the SEEE Act and its importance in restoring the fisheries and ecosystems of the Bay watershed at an October 18 hearing of the House Natural Resource Subcommittee on Waters, Oceans, and Wildlife.
A companion bill was introduced in the Senate in July by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), and Joe Manchin (D-WV.). The bill number is S. 2534.
CBF Federal Director Keisha Sedlacek issued the following statement after the markup:
“NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office is an integral partner in efforts to restore the Bay and its waterways, fisheries, and wildlife habitats. Its oyster restoration expertise, climate change research, and education programs are essential to ensuring the economic and ecological future of this priceless resource.
“The SEEE Act will ensure the Office can continue its vital role in the restoration effort. This is critical as we approach deadlines and define what the next chapter in Bay restoration looks like.
“CBF congratulates Reps. Sarbanes, Scott, Wittman, and Kiggans for their bipartisan work advancing this important bill through the House Natural Resources Committee. We urge the House of Representatives to make passing it a priority.”