Thursday, President Trump has released his budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which recommends that the $73 million budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program be eliminated and shutdown.
This would stop the cleanup of Chesapeake Bay in its tracks and undo the tremendous progress we have made to date, according to the Choose Clean Water Coalition.
The budget also includes massive spending cuts for programs related to clean air and water, environmental justice, climate change, and other vital programs that protect our environment.
“President Trump’s proposed budget slashes the ability of Pennsylvania to meet its obligations in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and restoring local streams in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River watershed. It will be impossible for the state of Pennsylvania to meet its obligations to improve water quality here without this essential help from the federal government through an EPA grant to Pennsylvania,” said Jacqui Bonomo, executive vice president of PennFuture. “The Trump budget leaves states and local communities stranded and without the necessary resources to provide clean water to local communities and businesses. The citizens are the ones who will suffer.”
“The President’s proposed budget would effectively mean an end to a coordinated Chesapeake Bay restoration effort,” said Hilary Harp Falk, Mid-Atlantic regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation and cochair of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “With no federal funding for the Chesapeake, projects that are reducing flooding, improving communities, bringing back fish and wildlife, and cleaning drinking water will come to a halt.”
The Chesapeake Bay Program funding supports on-the-ground restoration efforts that are improving communities and protecting local waterways around the watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is made up of a network of hundreds of thousands of rivers and streams, and are important sources of recreation, food, and drinking water for millions of people.
Tens of thousands of members of the tourism and fishing industry depend on the Chesapeake Bay to provide for their families, with the Bay’s economic worth estimated at over $1 trillion. In addition, over 13 million people from six different states and the District of Columbia rely on the Bay’s rivers and streams to provide the water that they drink.
The Chesapeake Bay restoration effort is not only about saving an iconic estuary; it is about protecting the water that residents depend on for life.
The 226 organizations that make up the Choose Clean Water Coalition are just some of the organizations responsible for implementing these restoration projects, and with no funding, grant programs that help sustain and support critical work would disappear, leaving many organizations with little to no support to implement projects.
“Support from the Bay Program is essential to continuing to reduce pollution in our local rivers and streams,” said Chante Coleman, director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “With such a drastic cut in funding, some of the most basic needs that people and wildlife depend on, like clean drinking water, will be threatened.”
The Bay Program is a classic example of “cooperative federalism,” where federal agencies and states work collaboratively, with EPA providing critical resources and expertise to the states, which are ultimately responsible for cleaning their own waters.
Just a few weeks ago, 17 members of the House, both Democrat and Republican, sent a letter to the President Trump requesting full funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
The Coalition will work with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to continue to push back on this proposed budget, and secure the essential funding that is necessary to return clean water to the Chesapeake Bay.For more information, visit the Choose Clean Water Coalition website.