A Chesapeake Bay Foundation assessment of how President Obama’s proposed budget will affect the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint has found both good news and bad news.
The Administration’s proposed budget provides strong support for the Chesapeake Bay farmers at a critical time, as states are struggling to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution coming from family farms.
With full funding for USDA programs that are crucial to the states’ agricultural efforts, the Administration will have the tools and resources to help farmers keep nitrogen and phosphorus on the land and out of the water.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and the Conservation Stewardship Program are all fully funded at levels authorized by Congress.
Concerning the agricultural funding, CBF President William C. Baker said: “The President’s budget is just the first step in a long journey. It is now up to Congress to ensure that the agricultural funding is delivered, and up to the Administration to spend it in the most effective ways to reduce pollution from agriculture.”
Unfortunately, proposed cuts to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund will shortchange cities and municipalities that rely on the fund for low-cost loans to upgrade sewage treatment plants and reduce polluted runoff.
The President’s budget proposes to cut the fund in FY17 by $414.4 million. The proposed budget also cuts $3 million in funding to the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program.
Concerning the proposed cuts, Mr. Baker said:“At a time when the Blueprint is showing such promise, we call on Congress to continue its bipartisan support for Bay cleanup and to provide the same level of funding as last year’s budget.
An economic analysis, commissioned by CBF, found that once the Blueprint is implemented, the region will see benefits of nearly $130 billion annually, $22 billion more than baseline.”For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the CBF-PA webpage. Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column). Click Here for a copy of CBF-PA’s most recent newsletter.
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