Following reports in the Washington Post today of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposal to cut Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding in support of the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued the following statement.
The OMB proposal reduces funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program from about $73 million annually to $5 million in the next fiscal year. EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates science, research, and modeling to implement the Blueprint, as well as grants to state and local governments and others to help reduce pollution.
“Reducing funding for the successful Chesapeake Bay clean-up, begun by Ronald Reagan, seems inconsistent with the President’s remarks about clean water.
“The proposed reduction in federal investment in Chesapeake Bay would reverse restoration successes. The EPA role in the cleanup of the Chesapeake is nothing less than fundamental. It’s not just important, it’s critical.
“Restoration efforts are working. There is measurable progress in restoring local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. Crabs and oysters are rebounding, the dead zone is getting smaller, and Bay grasses are at their highest levels in decades. The progress is the result of the federal and state partnership implementing the Clean Water Blueprint, as well as the work of citizens, business, farmers, and local governments all doing their share to reduce pollution.
“The Blueprint has bipartisan support, as was recently demonstrated in a letter led by Chesapeake Bay Task Force co-chairs Congressmen Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, Andy Harris, and John Sarbanes from seventeen members of Congress to President Trump, calling on his administration to continue full funding of Bay restoration efforts.
“We urge all local partners—residents, businesses, watershed groups, universities, and state and local governments—to let their voices be heard.
“The OMB proposal is only the first step in developing EPA’s budget, and we hope that Administrator Pruitt will want to take advantage of a program that’s successful, bi-partisan, and non-controversial. It works.”