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Trump's Plan to Cut Chesapeake Bay Funding Likely Dead in the Water

Clean drinking water in several states is reliant on government funding for  Chesapeake Bay. (Fish and Wildlife Service)
Clean drinking water in several states is reliant on government funding for Chesapeake Bay. (Fish and Wildlife Service)
July 17, 2017

BALTIMORE – Those who love Chesapeake Bay are hopeful this week that despite President Donald Trump's promise to cut funding this year to help protect the bay, lawmakers will refuse to do that.

A subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee is expected to include $60 million for the Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program with $10 million of that allocated to grant programs to operate on-the-ground restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Last year the Bay received $73 million, and Peter Marx, federal affairs director for the Choose Clean Water Coalition, says since the president proposed slashing the budget, there's been a bipartisan effort to keep that from happening.

"President Trump's budget proposed zero for Chesapeake Bay restoration,” Marx points out. “From $73 (million) to zero, basically stopping the entire restoration and protection of Chesapeake Bay, which was horrifying to many of us. "

Marx says although nothing is set in stone, funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program is expected to be made public Monday or Tuesday.

Marx says without full funding, the progress that's been made to improve waterways will be jeopardized and possibly reversed. He cites the return of bay grasses as an example of a success story.

"It's a clear sign of increased water quality when these grasses increase,” he explains. “And last year we had almost 100,000 acres of the bay bottom covered in these bay grasses, which is the most since we started counting. "

Marx calls Trump's budget unrealistic and detrimental to the progress that has been made for rivers, streams and clean drinking water for many states including Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD