This week, more than 100 clean-water advocates traveled to Washington DC, urging lawmakers to increase funding for clean water in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.230 groups? That's just insane. No wonder nothing gets done. I wouldn't mind quite so much if I thought most of the money was being put to good use.
For the past two years, the Trump administration has either proposed cuts or zeroed-out funding the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program. This year, the Choose Clean Water Coalition, which has fought against those cutbacks, is aiming higher by asking Congress to fund the program at $90 million, instead of its usual request for $73 million.
Coalition Director Chanté Coleman says this is the first increase request since 2015.
"It's really, really critical this year that we get additional funding, because there are certain triggers happening with the Chesapeake Bay right now that are threatening to stall all the progress that we've been making,” says Coleman. “These are issues like climate change, which is causing flooding and more severe storms."
The coalition – made up of more than 230 nonprofit organizations – managed to convince a bipartisan group of lawmakers to maintain funding in last year's omnibus spending bill.
It's a two-step process for increasing what's considered the core part of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort. The funds would first have to be approved by a policy committee, and then the Appropriations Committee would take up the $90 million request.
Maryland Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen sits on both committees, but says the increase will still be a challenge because of a tight federal budget.
Friday, March 8, 2019
NPR: Chesapeake Bay Advocates Seek More Federal Funding