Report: Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Funds Could be Slashed - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Report: Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Funds Could be Slashed

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WASHINGTON- Environmental groups are expressing concern over a White House proposal to reduce funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.

While the Trump Administration has yet to formally submit a budget, the Washington Post reported last week it has obtained a draft proposal that slashes federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake cleanup efforts.

The newspaper said the bay cleanup project would receive only $5 million in the next fiscal year, down from its present $73 million.  

According to William Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, such a dramatic decrease in funding would hurt the bay. Baker issued the following statement in response to the proposal:

"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, bipartisan, and non-controversial. It works." 

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