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Trump budget cuts funding for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program

President Donald Trump's budget proposal would eliminate federal funding for the program that coordinates Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, and environmental groups warned the cut would threaten decades of progress.

Trump's spending plan for the 2018 budget year, released Thursday, significantly reduces funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. As part of those cuts, it eliminates money that currently goes to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

The program, formed in 1983, received $73 million in federal funds last year, most of which was doled out in grants to states, local governments and community groups for cleanup efforts in the nation's largest estuary. It also coordinates and monitors the efforts of the six Bay watershed states and the District of Columbia in meeting pollution reduction goals.

"If this program is eliminated, there's a very real chance that the bay will revert to a national disgrace" with poor water quality, unhealthy fish and shellfish and waterborne diseases that threaten to human health, Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Will Baker said in a conference call with reporters.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed -- an economic driver that supports fishing, farming, shipping and tourism -- spans 64,000 square miles (165,760 square kilometers) in parts of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. After the EPA set bay pollution limits in 2010, the states and D.C. agreed to a "clean water blueprint," a set of plans for how to meet those limits by 2025.

"Since water does not respect state boundaries, restoring the Bay depends on each jurisdiction's funding levels and ability to implement the Blueprint," Kristen Davis, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in an email. "If all federal support disappears, we should expect drastic changes in nearly all aspects of Bay restoration work."

In the past, Chesapeake Bay Program grants have funded projects to restore oyster reefs, protect oyster beds, help reduce polluted runoff, support water quality monitoring and create habitat for animals.

Trump's plan says the cuts will return the responsibility for funding "local environmental efforts" to state and local entities, allowing EPA "to focus on its highest national priorities."

Congress will have the final say on the budget, and the Chesapeake Bay Program has support from lawmakers in both parties. A bipartisan group of 17 members of bay states' congressional delegations sent a letter to Trump last month asking him to keep program funding at the same $73 million level.

Environmental groups including the Choose Clean Water Coalition, which has more than 200 members across the bay states, vowed to lobby lawmakers to restore funding for the program.

"At the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we will fight with every fiber in our bodies to see that Congress rejects this Bay budget and maintains a program that has achieved so much and is poised to save one of the world's greatest natural resources," Baker said.

Comments


The Sterling EPA Superfund site is at the Hidden Lane Landfill, north of Route 7 between the Broad Run Farms and Countryside communities and adjacent to the Potomac River. Who currently pays for monitoring and clean up of this site? If the EPA is pulled back, then who in State or Local Government will take over? How does this affect local budgets? If EPA grants are being cut and Rep. Comstock is voting for these cuts, then she should explain her position.


Well, today’s paper tells me that it costs us taxpayers $36 million to let Melania live in NYC while we also pay for a house for her here in DC.  And we’re paying $30 million to fly Trump back and forth from his golf games in Florida each week…and who knows what to protect his grown children as they hop around the globe…

Sorry, but keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean up going (which costs less than schlepping the Trumps around) has to go.

Is this a great country or what?


I recommend purchasing a Brita.


Excellent idea!  The Bay isn’t really that useful anyways, we all head to the Outer Banks if we want a beach and I know people with shellfish allergies who will rejoice that Maryland crab will hopefully no longer be a thing.  This money can be reallocated for important and pressing things - security for trips to Florida, golden golf balls, Supersized McD’s meals..the whole idea that ‘protecting the watershed’ does anything to keep the bay healthy and clean is erroneous and is based in fiction.  The bays and ocean, just like the atmosphere and ozone layer, are self healing and can take far more damage than mankind will ever be capable of doing.  Loudoun for Trump has taken the time to educate himself, the rest of you will figure it out someday I hope.


Sure NOAA was just busted for using fake data (from the weels of ships) that are known to be warmer than actual tempatures—a whistleblower tipped off the scam….http://yournewswire.com/noaa-global-warming-scam/  Then lets take a look at the hockey stick data - all fake…this is why there is no credibility with these groups…they lie to get funding for their studies…


if you are tired of funding ‘parasites’, please explain your position on the extra taxpayer drain because of the Fla trips,the FirstLady’s protection in NYC;congressional health care benefits that the public doesn’t have….etc.


Loudoun4Trump needs to go drink the water near a polluting plant. Thank goodness some farmers have willingly seen the point of preserving the watershed.


So, if the Feds do not fund it, the border States will not care??  I’m all for a clean bay, but let’s start by addressing the far reaching Purdue Chicken operations lining the shoreline.


It is a shame that we have people who reject clean water because to do so might suggest they don’t agree 100% with a particular politician.  Think I will start calling them Cult45


Loudoun4Trump, either show us sources for your claim that the EPA pushes “phony science” or stop talking nonsense. The thing about science is that it works even if you don’t believe in it.


Yea right Glen, people are tired of funding the phony science that is put out by so called academics…more like loud mouthed leftists who cant find a job in the sector that funds the government and their nonsense…


The willful ignorance of science by republicans is astonishing. Can’t wait for polluted drinking water, no fish, oysters, crabs, etc. Oh wait, Dasani will do well


This is what happens when you run out of cash.  Cuts have to start somewhere and why one says “not my program”.


Great news! Tired of funding these government dependent parasites…

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