Saturday, July 25, 2020

U.S. House Votes To Add $5.5 Million To Chesapeake Bay Program; All 9 PA Republicans Vote Against It

On July 24, the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation praised the U.S. House of Representatives for adding $5.5 million to EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program in the fiscal year 2021 Interior- Environment appropriations bill by a vote of 224-189.
EPA’s budget moved as part of a four-bill package that also included fiscal 2021 spending bills for the State Department and Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs. 

[Editor's Note: All nine Republican members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation voted against the appropriations, including: Brian Fitzpatrick, Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, John Joyce, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Lloyd Smucker and Glenn Thompson.

[In fact, Cong. Scott Perry and John Joyce sponsored a stand alone amendment to the appropriations bill to prohibit EPA from using fiscal 2021 funds to hold states accountable for meeting their Chesapeake Bay Blueprint milestones.  It was defeated on the U.S. House floor in a package of other amendments.

[Earlier last week, Republican Congressmen Scott Perry, Fred Keller, John Joyce and Guy Reschenthaler voted against the bipartisan bill to fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Read more here.]

In terms of next steps, the appropriations process is on hold in the U.S. Senate, where the Appropriations Committee has yet to consider spending legislation for next year.

This amendment was defeated as part of a larger package of individual amendments. It would have undermined the restoration efforts Bay advocates have been working on for years.

The Chesapeake Bay Program coordinates the federal-state-local partnership for restoring the Bay watershed. 

By its action, the House soundly rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to gut the Program’s budget by more than 91 percent. Instead, the House endorsed increasing it to $90.5 million.

The Program helps fund local restoration projects across the 64,000-square mile watershed, coordinates the water quality monitoring and other science, monitors and reports on the states’ progress towards hitting their pollution-reductions targets by 2025, and is responsible for holding them accountable if they fall behind.

CBF Federal Executive Director Jason Rano issued this statement on the vote:

“EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program is critical to saving the Bay and its waterways. The six watershed states and the District of Columbia cannot meet the 2025 deadline for adopting the policies and practices to restore the watershed without its funding and expertise.

“CBF deeply appreciates the efforts of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Bay Delegation’s three Appropriations Committee members, Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger, Matt Cartwright (PA), and Andy Harris, for moving this additional $5.5 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program through the House. 

“We urge the Senate to follow suit to ensure the Program receives a needed increase at this pivotal time for the Bay and the local creeks, streams, and rivers that feed into it.”

For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.

Also visit the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership to learn how you can help clean water grow on trees.

CBF has over 275,000 members in Bay Watershed.

Related Articles:

-- Bay Journal: Fix For PA's Sewage Overflow Pollution - Worst In U.S. - Neither Quick Nor Easy 

-- PennVEST Announces Awards For Drinking Water Lead Testing And Center for Water Quality Excellence For Nutrient, Sediment Pollution Reduction

-- Lancaster County Clean Water Partners Provide Update On Implementing Clean Water Action Plan

-- Sign Up For New PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Newsletter 

-- EPA Developing New Tool To Help Local Officials To Site Projects In Chesapeake Bay Watershed Areas

[Posted: July 25, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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