Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Chesapeake Bay Expecting a Raise

Chesapeake Bay Program funding boost closer after Senate subcommittee push
The federal government is poised to provide $76 million in funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program next year, more than 10 times the amount originally allotted for the program by the Trump Administration in March.

A 2020 funding bill that passed a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday included a $3 million increase over last year's budget for the Environmental Protection Agency program. The allocation amounts to the first annual increase in funding for the program since fiscal year 2015.

When the Trump Administration proposed cutting the program by 90% in March, the move was met by bipartisan criticism. The cuts were part of a move to reduce the overall Environmental Protection Agency budget by about 30%, down to $6.1 billion.

In a statement, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called Tuesday's news a victory over the Trump Administration's "continued efforts to rob the program of its funding." The funding is expected to pass out of the full Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

“The Chesapeake Bay Program is our first line of defense in protecting and preserving the bay," Van Hollen said. "This program is central to our efforts to maintain a healthy bay and ultimately a healthy Maryland economy.”

For the last three years, proposed budgets have repeatedly threatened to slash the program's funding, but lawmakers have rebuffed each attempt.

With the renewed funding, the program will continue with its clean-water projects and watershed modeling efforts. Since its formation in the 1980s, the Chesapeake Bay Program has advanced scientific research about the bay environment and develop goals and deadlines for achieving ecosystem restoration.
They'll find a way to spend $3 million more, and no change will be detectable.

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